Making government work for you.
- Budget cuts in FY 95 and FY 96; balanced budgets in FY 97 and FY 98
- Reducing the accumulated deficit cutting half half FY 99 and cut to zero in FY 2000
- Agency performance reviews made part of Council budget oversight in 1998
- Procurement reform legislation in 1996
- Government Operations Committee oversight of procurement reform implementation in 1997
- Member of control board management reform teams on procurement, personnel,
and Employment Services.
- Comprehensive personnel reform in 1998
- Oversight of job training ended local funding for ineffective programs, led to
Department of Labor investigation and corrective action plan. Committee investigation
followed by department heads resignation
- Advocacy for academically successful schools in 1997 kept open four well-run elementary
schools in Wards 3, 6, 7 and 8.
- Co-chair of Council Special Committee investigating management and personnel policies in
the Metropolitan Police Department.
- Reforms at D.C. Public Schools: resources in classrooms, accountability from
administrators, support for principals and teachers, academic success for children.
- Community policing: more officers present and accounted for in neighborhoods and an end
to mismanagement at headquarters.
- Job training that works for residents who need skills training and employers who need
- Effective implementation of personnel reform
- Continuing balanced budgets and an annual fund balance
- Comprehensive tax reform to broaden and stabilize the tax base and secure selected tax
- A government that works: an effective executive branch, a legislature committed to
oversight, partnership with the control board and Congress.
One question Kathy often hears in her first term rtn as the Ward 3 Councilmember is,
did you really know what you were getting into? The answer is yes. And no. It
was the citys financial collapse that prompted her to run in the first place, so the
depth of the fiscal mess was no surprise. It took wrestling with the Districts
bureaucracy, and the utter lack of accountability that permitted the fiscal crisis to
develop to fully understand the depth and reach of the management challenges facing the
Kathy has taken seriously the need to reform the government. With strong staff support,
she hasn't shied away from looking under the institutional rocks and into the bureaucratic
crevices. Shes found waste, mismanagement, and gross inefficiency, and has worked
hard to root them out. She has also met a lot of dedicated, committed District workers not
equipped with the tools they need to do their jobs, including adequate training and
In her leadership role since January 1997 as chair of the Government Operations
Committee she has focused on key areas to make government work more efficiently and more
effectively for you. Shes taken on how government does business, how it is
organized, and how it spends your money.
Putting the fiscal house in order. During her first campaign, Kathy
was a vocal critic of how elected officials were handling the citys long-term
financial problems. While never pretending that Washingtons fiscal rehabilitation
could happen overnight, Kathy kept her promise and spent her first term pressing for
and finally getting greater discipline in the budget process. After spending
reductions in FY 95 and FY 96 and significant government downsizing, the District saw its
first balanced budget in FY 97. The budget proposed for FY 99 includes a surplus to he
applied to the- accumulated deficit and that deficit will be eliminated entirely in
The tip of the tax iceberg. In 1996 the Ward 3 Council office was
deluged with calls from homeowners about what appeared to be serious errors in residential
property assessments. Pursuing those complaints gave Kathy the data necessary to challenge
the Department of Finance and Revenues faulty assessments and alert the citys
chief financial officer (CFO) to the need for a review of the District's assessment
process. Property tax assessments were just one symptom that prompted the CFO to begin a
wholesale review of department operations, appoint new leadership in the Division of Real
Property, and restructure the Department of Finance and Revenue from top to bottom.
Wasteful job training contracts. Government Operations Committee
oversight pressured the Department of Employment Services (DOES) to renegotiate job
training contracts to require performance before public dollars are spent. DOES had been
paying $11,000 per job placement for unemployed residents far too much while
reallocating funds for local job training to other purposes without reducing staff
assigned to that function. With Kathys leadership, the Council cut local job
training until the Department improves performance, and reallocated funds to meet critical
needs including school nurses and additional child care slots.
How and what we buy and for how much. Today city-wide
procurement reform is centralizing and professionalizing procurement based on the Council-
enacted 1996 procurement reform law. Government Operations Committee oversight is assuring
that the law is implemented and that goods and services are purchased in a sensible,
Workers working better. In the face of complaints about job
performance by front-line workers and District managers, Kathy introduced comprehensive
personnel reform legislation. After hearings and a collaborative drafting process with all
the stakeholders - including management and labor Kathy moved the landmark legislation
through the committee and the Council. Taking effect this year is a new personnel system
designed to hold managers accountable, streamline discipline procedures, and link pay
increases to performance.
Labor-management partnership. Another direct result of hearings on
personnel reform is the D.C. Labor Management Partnershp Council, bringing together
government managers and labor unions with technical assistance from the U.S. Department of
Labor and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. A pilot labor-management partnership
council at Fleet Management Services in Public Works has already made major strides in
improving productivity and staff morale and reducing costs.
Rx for school nurse dilemma. One of Kathy's contributions in the FY 98 budget
debate was a Government Operations Committee package that included $9.6 million in
carefully targeted cuts. Some of those funds were reallocated to high-pric>rity
services, including the school nurse program. Under threat of severe cuts, this critical
preventive health program for District school children was protected and maintained.
Visible, reliable police protection. After a Government Operations hearing with
police department whistleblowers in September 1997, the Council created a Special
Committee on Police Misconduct and Personnel Management, co-chaired by Kathy and
Councilmember Evans. Through the spring and into the summer the investigative committee,
assisted by a special counsel and team of lawyers, has used Council subpoena power and the
public hearing process to take a hard look at retaliation, recruiting and training,
mismanagement in Internal Affairs, and long-simmering problems with off-duty employment
and department procurement. Recapturing the respect and confidence of District residents
is the ultimate goal of the Councils tough oversight. Look for the panels
hard-hitting final report in the fall.
The Council Itself. An effective District government requires a strong and
professional legislature. Kathy is working to make the Council a strong partner to the
executive branch a partner as often as possible and a critic as often as necessary.
Council oversight as she defines it, means questioning the government processes that have
always been done that way' and finding creative solutions to new and ongoing
problems. Holding Council office means using that office to uncover problems and get them
corrected. Kathys leadership on the Government Operations Committee and the Special
Committee on Police Misconduct and Personnel Management sets a new standard for Council
In the budget debate this year the Council adopted Kathy's proposal to require
performance reviews when agencies defend their annual budget requests before the Council.
The Council asked directors to justify their requests for new money but also required them
to defend their expenditures in FY 97 and FY 98. And at her recommendation, the Council
brought in the National Conference of State Legislatures to review Council operations,
with recommendations expected before the end of the year.
School reform: For and about children. Improving D.C. Public Schools was the
goal that led Kathy into the political arena, and that commitment continues. Using the
Councils role in approving the school systems budget, Kathy has protected
funding for high-priority expenditures including pre-kindergarten, kindergarten aides, and
smaller class sizes, and has advocated directing more resources to the classroom. When the
school system recommended closing 18 schools in 1997, Kathy issued a briefing paper that
urged officials to make academic success a criterion in school closing decisions. Her
widely circulated analysis and advocacy resulted in four academically successful schools
including Hearst in Ward 3 remaining open.
After schools opened late in 1997, Kathy worked quietly behind the scenes with
Corporation Counsel John Ferren to negotiate a settlement of the Parents United lawsuit, a
bittersweet outcome that left many school construction safety issues unresolved. She
continues to press the school system to improve facilities in a comprehensive,
In testimony this year before two Congressional committees, Kathy outlined the issues
and the goals of education reform. In my view, she told the House Committee on
Government Operations, we will be successful if, by the year 2000, we have a strong
academic plan with high standards, a curriculum aligned to those standards, textbooks and
materials that support the curriculum and most importantly we have all of
our teachers trained and teaching, effectively, to those high standards.
Ms. Patterson is doing exactly what she said she would do during the campaign. .
. . Besides working on policy and legislation, she recognizes she must serve as an
ombudsman. Unlike all to many politicians, she is sticking by her work. Northwest
Current Editorial, May 31, 1998
Without the fanfare that accompanies most major developments in the District,
local leaders have quietly put together legislation that dramatically overhauls the
citys inefficient personnel system. . . . Residents can credit Ward 3 council member
Kathy Patterson for producing such a far-reaching measure. This bill, if implemented as
planned, will supply an ingredient long missing from the District government: employee
accountability. Washington Post Editorial, Feb. 3, 1998
In these times of appointed leadership, we are thrilled to be represented by
someone so knowledgeable, talented and hard working. Cathy Reilly, former PTA
By aggressively and publicly calling on (DOES acting director) Mrs. Roberson to
account for contracts that could be regarded as questionable, if not wasteful, Mrs.
Patterson is looking out for the citys best interests, and those of the voters who
sent her to the council. Would that more council emmbers showed such regard for their role
as legislators. Washington Post editorial, Nov. 11, 1998
You have emerged as a Socratic voice of reason on the Council. Just goes to show
what happens when a journalist becomes a politician. John Finney, Palisades
I am aware of the cooperation and interest shown by you and your staff to our
development team during the development process. Your generous support was important to
our decision to acquire and develop the site. John Hechinger, Sr.
Whenever I call Kathys office to get help on neighborhood issues, her staff
is always courteous and helpful. Jeffrey Norman, Advisory Neighborhood
In 1994, Kathy Patterson won the Democratic nomination for the Ward 3 Council seat over
a two-term incumbent. On the Council, she quickly established a reputation as a
tough-minded, independent voice advocating fiscal responsibility, stronger public schools,
and accountability from District officials. In January 1997 she became chair of the
Government Operations Committee with jurisdiction over procurement, personnel, c election
ctic>n law, Employment Services and other critical government functions. A 22-year
resident of the District, she was communications director of the American Public Weltare
Association prior to joining the Council and previously worked as a national correspondent
for The Kansas City Star. She and her husband, Dale Leibach, and their children, Patrick,
14, and Gillian, 11, live in Chevy Chase, D.C.
Questions or Comments?
Contact the campaign by phone (202/537-5037)
or E-Mail (Internet: kpattDC3@AOL.com)
Paid for by the Kathy Patterson for Council Committee, David G