Tommy Wells: New Police Contract “the highest priority for me”
by Larry Janezich
Friday afternoon, Councilmember, DC Council Public Safety Chair, and prospective mayoral candidate TommyWells told listeners of NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi program that “every day there’s not a new contract with police officers, I think it’s a day we’re less safe.”
When asked if he is pushing for a new contract to be signed, Wells replied, “Absolutely, that’s the highest priority for me.” Wells took over as chair of the City Council’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee with oversight of the MPD in January.
Wells’ comments came amid a spike in crime on Capitol Hill and a deep morale problem on a police force which has not had a raise in 7 years. Wells did not address the question put to him by NBC Tom Sherwood as to whether the failure to sign a contract was the result of a personal dispute between Chief Lanier and Kris Baumann, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Fraternal Order of Police. The Executive Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the police union’s Labor Committee. Council Chair Mendelson stated on January 10 that a contract had not yet been agreed upon because “management and the FOP don’t get along.”
Wells also announced on the program that he will launch an exploratory committee and listening tour to determine whether he should run for mayor, saying that he will make a decision in mid-spring. Tom Sherwood observed on the program that it has been obvious that Wells has been looking to run for mayor for some time. The official kick-off of Wells’ forthcoming listening tour is Monday (tomorrow) night in Ward 8, at the Big Chair Coffee and Grill in Anacostia. The primary purpose of the exploratory committee is to hire people to organize a campaign.
Wells has told several sources that it is “likely” he’ll run.