D.C. ethics oath: 85 city employees refuse to sign mayor's new ethics pledge

Nearly a hundred District government employees have refused to take an ethics oath mandated by Mayor Vincent Gray. Those employees now face being disciplined for insubordination.

In the wake of multiple federal investigations into corruption in the District government, including a recent flurry of subpoenas issued to several councilmembers, Mayor Vincent Gray is requiring District employees to sign an oath, pledging to adhere to a new ethics manual.

ABC 7 has learned 85 employees have so far refused to agree to the pledge which includes a ban on birthday gifts and the sale of girl scout cookies in the workplace.

Last month the District's Department of Human Resources distributed an order, Electronic-District Personnel Manual (E-DPM) instruction Number 19-2, instructing employees to read and agree to a new 150 page ethics manual.

According to Alex McCray, a spokesperson for DHR, almost 10,000 employees have read and agreed to the new pledge, which the Attorney general calls an oath.

In a letter provided by the DCOAG, Attorney General Irvin Nathan wrote that the requirement for all employees to read and agree to the pledge is within the Mayor's authority.

"The pledge itself is a form of oath that the Mayor is explicitly authorized to require of, and administer to, District Government employees." Nathan wrote.

Nathan says employees who do not read and agree to the oath can be disciplined.

"If, then, an employee disagrees with and refuses to sign the pledge, that refusal may be considered insubordination and subject the employee to disciplinary action." Nathan wrote.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General declined to say whether an employee can be fired for not signing the pledge, but sources in the executive branch say it is very unlikely anyone would be terminated for that alone.

One group of employees will not have to worry about the pledge. According to the OAG, Councilmembers and their staff are not required to take the pledge

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