Norton to Introduce Bill to Give D.C. Complete Authority to Set CFO Pay

Aug 8, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that she will introduce a bill to give the District of Columbia complete authority to set 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, who was an expert in D.C. affairs, 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 of a Republican-led House to give D.C. complete autonomy over this matter.”

Norton’s bill would give D.C. the authority to set 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.  The ceiling was and is substantially higher than the fixed rate, but the CFO’s pay is now $1,000 below the maximum.  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 an unlimited 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 and 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, which was 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 be able 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 home rule so far this Congress.

The District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act (H.R. 1479) would eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. bills.

The District of Columbia Local Prosecutor Establishment Act of 2017 (H.R. 1523) 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. laws.

The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 1658) 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.

The District of Columbia Home Rule Clemency Act (H.R. 1765) 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 Civil Enforcement Equality Act (H.R. 4678) would allow the District to enter into contracts with private attorneys to sue on the District's behalf for violations of D.C. law that may otherwise go unpunished due to a lack of resources.  States, cities and most federal agencies have the authority to enter into such contracts to sue for violations of their laws.

The District of Columbia Home Rule Non-Discrimination Act of 2018 (H.R. 5265) would eliminate the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District.

The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 6129) would repeal the President’s authority to assume emergency control of the local D.C. police department.

The District of Columbia Home Rule Bridges Act (H.R. 6153) would repeal a law that makes it a crime for a person in D.C. to obstruct any bridge connecting D.C. and Virginia.

The District of Columbia Courts Home Rule Act (H.R. 6187) would give D.C. authority over the jurisdiction and organization of the local D.C. courts.

The District of Columbia Zoning Commission Home Rule Act (H.R. 6215) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the D.C. Zoning Commission.

The District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment Home Rule Act (H.R. 6289) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the Board, except when the Board is performing functions regarding an application by a foreign mission with respect to a chancery.