DC Mayor Rams More Last-Minute Spending Through City Council

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At the behest of Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. City Council members passed a $23 million spending bill Tuesday that will pay for police body cameras and and yet another jobs program for twentysomethings.

Bowser launched the last-minute money grab Sept. 15, giving the council just one week to pass the legislation, without much deliberation and no public hearings. The supplemental budget uses funds from the current fiscal year, which have to be spent before Oct. 1 when FY 2016 begins.

The council returned from a month-long summer recess just days before it was forced to take up Bowser’s extra spending plan that included $2.3 million to place 50 20-to-24-year olds in jobs as garbagemen in the city. That is roughly $46,000 per job created.

Bowser announced the passage of the legislation in an email blast to supporters Tuesday afternoon, pledging to “bring prosperity to all eight wards” of the city.

“We are making progress, but we can do even more. That is why I introduced a supplemental budget to help create a safer, stronger DC for everyone,” she wrote.

According to Bowser, the extra spending will connect at-risk youth youths with jobs and training services and offer “mini grants” to community organizations that support high-crime neighborhoods.

Those jobs programs include a plan to provide 20 to 24 year olds in the city job training and a public works academy that helps residents get jobs with the city government.

$1.25 million will be given out to community groups around the city in neighborhoods hardest hit by crimes. One council member, Elissa Silverman wanted to institute an oversight mechanism to make sure the money wasn’t misspent, but other council members shot it down, The Washington Post reports.

Silverman introduced an amendment to enforce oversight of the money, but it failed to pass a vote in the council.

Some of the money will also go towards the mayor’s promise to outfit 2,800 of the city’s police officers with body cameras. Earlier this year the city council told Bowser it wouldn’t approve a proposal to put body cameras on police until she included funds to make the video footage available through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Originally, Bowser wanted to ban the public from accessing the body camera footage, but after push back from city council and activist groups, she agreed to concessions that would allow some video to become public.

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