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Breaking News: Dupont Circle ANC’s Chairman Forced by Community Outcry to Cancel Illegal, Closed to the Public Meeting

The following was received early on January 5th by The InTowner from former ANC 2B Commissioner Nick DelleDonne:

ANC 2B Chair Daniel Warwick at about 8:30 last night peremptorily cancelled a meeting he called of the full Commission for Saturday morning, Jan. 5 that he planned to be closed to the public. The subject of the meeting was to be a discussion of ANC goals. Bowing to mounting community pressure, Warwick said in a statement last night “out of an abundance of caution, it seems prudent . . .  that we should not meet tomorrow.”

Newly elected Commissioner Ed Hanlon (2B09) initially raised objection to the meeting on Wednesday when he told Warwick he did not think a closed meeting was legal. “It fundamentally violates DC’s Open Meetings Law and the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions Act,” Hanlon said. “The public and civic organizations have a right to fair notice and a right to participate in the discussion of ANC goals.”

At the time, Warwick said he would hold the meeting anyway, that Hanlon did not have to attend, that no notice was required and none would be given.

Hanlon followed up with a statement in the popular neighborhood listservs, Dupont Forum and HearUsNow! where community opposition began to mount as residents made themselves heard and laid plans to attend the closed meeting on this morning.

In an advisory letter of 2010, the DC Attorney General writes, the ANC Act admonishes that “no [Commission} meeting may be closed to the public unless personnel or legal matters are discussed. . . . The legislative history indicates that the Council was concerned that residents were too frequently prevented from participating in Commission meetings. . . .” Further, “We believe, at a minimum, that when a quorum of commissioners exists during a discussion concerning ANC matters, it becomes a ‘meeting’ of the Commission that needs to be open to the public.”

ANC2B will hold its first regular public meeting of 2019 on Wednesday Jan. 9, when the first business of the new year will be the election of officers. Chair Warwick’s insistence on holding this closed meeting on Saturday morning and deliberately giving no notice to the public clearly calls into question his fitness to be re-elected Chair of ANC.2B