In a recent closed executive session with D.C. Council members, the son of Mayor Vincent Gray’s former chief of staff admitted that he handed his resume to his mother for a job and, approximately one month later and without an interview, was offered a city position.

The admission added more validity to hiring missteps which the administration said they made during transition as well as allegations of nepotism which have beset the Gray administration.

Nicholas Hall, the son of former Chief of Staff Gerri Mason Hall, told council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and David Catania (I-At-Large) that he was given an offer letter with a listed salary of $55,000 to work for the Department of Parks and Recreation. But he said he was never interviewed for the position.

Gerri Hall was fired by Gray on May 17, the first major removal of an administration official amid the growing controversy over the hiring of political appointees.

Hall’s son, one of five children of prominent city figures who have been hired by the administration, said he initially did not seek employment with the city. But his assistance with the Gray campaign during the primaries and a desire for steady employment prompted him to hand his resume to his mother.

“Being that I had, you know, gained a vested interest in Vincent Gray and his campaign and his platform that maybe it would serve me well to do some work within the government—and so I decided to,” he said, according a transcribed report of the recorded executive session which was provided to the AFRO by Cheh’s office.

Hall said he handed his mother a resume so that it could be processed for any job opening available.

“My mother let me know that I could give her a copy, a hard copy of my resume and she would get it to the people that it needed to be given to,” he said.

But Catania said his testimony conflicted with Gerri Hall’s statement on the issue. “Your mother testified that you applied through the Web site,” the council member said.

“No, I gave her a hard copy of my resume, in which she—but it was through the same channels, I believe that, as submitting through the website,” Nicholas Hall responded.

A month after Hall handed his resume to his mother, he said he received an offer letter from the Department of Parks and Recreation for the position of “writer/editor,” earning a $55,000 salary.

When Cheh asked if Hall was interviewed by anyone in the city government for a position, he said no. He said he never filed any official paperwork until he went to the Parks and Recreation human resources department, which was the same day he was supposed to begin work.

“And so that means—you were never interviewed so that certainly means you never met the head of Parks and or any supervisors over there before turning up,” Cheh said.

“Correct, not until I reported on the day,” Hall responded.

Hall said when he reported to the human resources office at Parks and Recreation, they were unprepared for and unaware of his hire.

“It seemed like they didn’t know what was going on actually,” he said. “The head of HR at Parks and actually told me that she was going to have to, you know, figure out where the communication went wrong and that I should leave for the day, because they wouldn’t be able to do anything with me that day.”

Hall said he did not find it unusual that he was given a position and salary without an interview because he “wasn’t necessarily aware of how things worked.”

Hall said he resigned from his post for the sake of his mother, who admitted to setting her own salary of $200,000 as well as other missteps in the hiring process for the new Gray administration.

“It had a lot to do with everything that was going on with my mother, seeing her name in the paper, you know, her name smeared, what I felt like was unfairly, things of that nature,” Nicholas Hall told the council members.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for Washington, D.C. and the FBI are also continuing their investigation into the claims of Sulaimon Brown, a mayoral contender who claims he was paid by the campaign to bash then-Mayor Adrian Fenty, and later received a city job for his help.

 

Erica Butler

AFRO Staff Writer