I love Tom Clancey novels. You can always count on a conspiracy, backstabbing, dramatic climax, and a twist at the end. Sometimes when I hear about things going on in DC government, I feel like I'm hearing about a trailer for a new movie based on Clancey novel. One story that has intrigued me is this firing, demoting, and now campaigning of Council-at-large Candidate Clark Ray. This lingering uncertainty was something I couldn't get past, so I called Mr. Ray. Before I go into what he said, let me set the scene....
Slick Willy Fenty - the Notorious "Boss" of DC known for his "I don't have to answer that" attitude.
Clark Ray - "The Fall Guy"
Dan Tangherlini - City Administrator aka "The Muscle"
Michael Williams - "The Whistleblower"
It was a dark and stormy night... okay let me stay focused. The story starts with Clark Ray as the Director of Parks and Recreation (DPR). A position that was his reward for door-to-door campaigning which helped usher Fenty into the fancy office at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. Fenty enrolls his twin sons into a youth baseball league which is operated by DPR now headed by his friend, Clark. Along comes "The Whistleblower", who raises concerns that the Fenty boys aren't playing in an age appropriate league. No good deed goes unrewarded, so Mr. Williams is fired.
Just when all was quiet on the home front. Fenty announces the desire to privatize child care services currently staff by DC employees at DPR recreation facilities. Parents are outraged calling for the Boss' head on a platter. Then, on a Sunday night "The Fall Guy" is called to 1350 Pennsylvania Ave to meet with "The Muscle". In a manner that would make Donald Trump gasp, "The Muscle" on behalf of the Boss tells Ray... "You're Fired". Oh how does this sorted tale end?
The Conspiracy Theory
One theory floating around town is that Clark did Fenty's bidding by firing Mr. Williams and Fenty fired Clark, so he can be the "martyr". A few eyebrows were raised when Fenty gave him a position at Greater Washington Sport Alliance after he was fired. Then less than a month after the whole debacle, Clark throws his name in the hat as a candidate for the Council. Some say it was all a ploy so Fenty could get his boy on the Council.
I talked with Clark this afternoon. He explain that he and the Mayor bumped heads over childcare under DPR. Clark felt that child care did not aligned with the mission of DPR and recommended it be under the purview of an agency that has education as its mission. The Mayor wanted to privatize. Clark stuck to his guns against Slick Willy Fenty and was fired in a Queen of Hearts "off with his head"-esque style.
Clark said that since his firing he had no contact with the Mayor and has no allegiance to the Mayor.