WASHINGTON - A top aide to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser allegedly used city employees to provide care for her child during the work day, according to a new report by the Inspector General for the District of Columbia, Daniel W. Lucas.
According to the report, first revealed by the Washington Post, Bowser's deputy mayor, Courtney Snowden, asked an intern to take her young child to a relative's home and had staff pick up the child from school in August of 2015. She also allegedly left her child with employees at the office unsupervised while she attended a meeting outside her office.
FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick obtained the report on Tuesday and said in it, there were five allegations in all of unethical conduct on the part of Deputy Mayor Snowden. Alnwick reported that Snowden was cleared of all expect the three instances of child care complaints.
"There are basic rules that say you can't use the public dollar to your own personal benefit and that's what happened here," said D.C. Councilmember At Large, David Grosso. He added that in an emergency, it may be acceptable to have a colleague watch your child, but in the situation described involving Snowden, he said the behavior appeared to cross the line.
"We have to be very careful when we hold public office on how we take advantage of what we're not supposed to take advantage of government resources. These are taxpayer dollars. So we know we can't use government employees to take care of our kids," said D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson.
Alnwick obtained an exclusive copy of Mayor Bowser's written response to the Inspector General from an administration official. Bowser's response reads: "I hold all members of my cabinet to a high degree and standard of ethical conduct. They must carry out their responsibilities and duties in an honest, fair, diligent and exemplary manner, lead with integrity and within the scope of the authority conferred upon them and in accordance with the laws, rules, regulations, agreements, guidelines, standards and internal policies and procedures of the District of Columbia. Deputy Mayor Snowden made mistakes, accepted responsibility, and offered an apology for exercising poor judgment in the exercise of her duties, in accordance with the high standards of a cabinet member in my Administration. We have taken appropriate management action and, for two years, have focused on advancing the mission of the Deputy Mayor of Greater Economic Opportunity."
"The actions noted were against the rule of the government and we caution and we council all of our employees to follow the rules to the letter of the law," Mayor Bowser told Alnwick when they spoke on Tuesday. Alnwick was told Snowden was given ethics training, was assigned an executive coach, and was counseled on public council executive decorum. Bowser remains in support of Snowden saying she does a good job promoting business partnerships in the city.
On Monday, Mayor Bowser's office released the following statement to FOX 5: "Deputy Mayor Snowden is working on behalf of District residents to address inequities holding back our most vulnerable citizens from achieving their full potential. Any issues raised have been addressed, and the Mayor has full confidence in Deputy Mayor Snowden's ability to continue to deliver for District residents."
Earlier this year, a D.C. Inspector General investigation found Snowden, an elected official and a mayoral appointee were allegedly among the city officials who were given preferential treatment by former schools chancellor Kaya Henderson.