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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

District agency buys massages for 40 employees


The District's Office of Unified Communications used its government-issued charge card to buy $900 worth of massages for its staff, an expense even Mayor Adrian Fenty deemed inappropriate.......The massages were charged to an OUC purchase card on Oct. 25 and listed under "Spas - Health & Beauty," according to monthly data provided by the Office of Contracting and Procurement. Sources say about 40 of the OUC's staff, including 911 call takers, were chosen to receive a massage based on the quality of their work. Nichole Jefferson, a D.C.-based massage therapist, was hired for the job...."The purchases were part of OUC's Employee Appreciation and Wellness Program activities that also included heath screenings, aerobics, and blood pressure and glucose checks," Mafara Hobson, Fenty's spokeswoman, said in a statement. "While the intent of the wellness activities was well-intended, some were not an appropriate use of funds and will not ever be included in future activities." ...The massage charge pales in comparison with the $111,036 paid to the Capitol Skyline Hotel over the course of October by the Office of the Tenant Advocate. Twenty-one families, displaced after the District ordered their two slum apartment buildings closed, were housed there starting in late September. Two remained last week but should be out soon, said Johanna Shreve, D.C. chief tenant advocate.
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