Norton Introduces Bill to Give D.C. Authority to Set CFO Pay

Mar 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that she introduced today a bill to give the District of Columbia the authority to raise the pay of the Chief Financial Officer.  In 2013, Norton got a bill enacted into law (P.L. 113-71) that gave the District more authority to set the CFO’s pay, but a Republican-led House rejected giving D.C. full and complete authority over this matter.

“There is no reason D.C. should not have the authority to set the pay of a local official who is paid with local funds,” Norton said.  “We remain grateful to then-House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican, for supporting my bill on the CFO’s pay that we got enacted into law, but we were disappointed that we could not get support from a Republican-led House to give D.C. complete autonomy over this local matter.”

Norton’s bill would give D.C. the authority to raise the CFO’s pay as it sees fit.  Norton’s 2013 law amended the Home Rule Act to change the CFO’s pay from a fixed rate of pay that was tied to a federal pay schedule to a maximum allowable pay, or ceiling, tied to a federal pay schedule.  House Republicans refused to allow D.C. complete authority to set the CFO’s pay, primarily because they were cutting federal spending and did not want to bring a bill to the floor that authorized a pay increase for a government employee.  Republicans were concerned that the public would not understand the difference between a federal official and a local official and federal and local funds, although the CFO is a local official, paid from local funds.

Norton introduced the 2013 bill after a D.C. CFO search committee indicated that the fixed rate of pay was not high enough to attract the best talent for this complex and demanding job.  The responsibilities of the CFO, a position created by Congress, are unique in the United States.  The CFO is extraordinarily powerful and independent.  The District cannot obligate or expend funds without the CFO’s approval, and the CFO can be terminated only for cause.  The District needs the authority to pay the rate demanded by the market, necessary to retain and attract the best CFOs, especially since the District needs to compete with the private sector for highly qualified CFOs.

Norton has introduced the following bills to expand D.C. home rule and equality so far this Congress.

  • The District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act (H.R. 735) would eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. bills.
  • The District of Columbia Local Prosecutor Home Rule Act (H.R. 917) would allow the District to prosecute all crimes committed under its local laws.  Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District prosecutes almost all crimes committed by adults under local D.C. law.
  • The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 1090) would give the D.C. Mayor the authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard for local matters.  Unlike governors of the states, and even territories, the District’s chief executive officer has no authority over its local Guard.
  • A bill to require the Library of Congress to install the D.C. seal in the Main Reading Room of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (H.R. 1318).  Currently, the stained-glass windows contain the seals of all states and territories that existed when the building was constructed, except for the D.C. seal, which was readily available at the time and should have been depicted.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Clemency Act (H.R. 1378) would give the District exclusive authority, like the states and territories, to grant clemency to offenders convicted under its local laws.  Currently, this authority is exercised in D.C. by the President.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1408) would eliminate the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District.
  • The District of Columbia Zoning Commission Home Rule Act (H.R. 1538) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the Commission.
  • The National Capital Planning Commission District of Columbia Home Rule Act (H.R. 1797) would remove the authority of the NCPC to review the development of D.C.-owned land.
  • The District of Columbia Courts Home Rule Act (H.R. 2769) would give D.C. authority over the jurisdiction and organization of the local D.C. courts.
  • The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 3092) would eliminate the president’s authority to federalize the local D.C. police department.
  • A bill to permit the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of the Mayor of the District (H.R. 3283).
  • The Commission of Fine Arts District of Columbia Home Rule Act (H.R. 3365) would remove the authority of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to review development of District-owned parks and buildings, as well as development of certain private property in D.C.
  • The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment Home Rule Act (H.R. 3581) would give the District the authority to appoint all members of the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment (Board), except when the Board is performing functions regarding an application by a foreign mission with respect to a chancery.
  • The District of Columbia Federal Officials Residency Equality Act (H.R. 3785) would require certain federal officials who serve the District of Columbia to live in the District.

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