Submitted October 24, 2018
Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia
Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (1426-001)
J. Williams was on the brief for petitioner.
A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia,
Loren L. AliKhan, Solicitor General, Stacy L. Anderson,
Acting Deputy Solicitor General, and Jason Lederstein,
Assistant Attorney General, were on the brief, for
Fisher and Easterly, Associate Judges, and Washington, Senior
us is a petition for review of a final decision by the
District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government
Accountability ("Ethics Board"), filed by Gerren
Price. Price was found to have violated two sections of the
District of Columbia Code of Conduct, 6-B DCMR §§
1806.3 and 1806.6 (2014). Having concluded that the
referenced petition was improperly filed in this court, we
dismiss this petition for lack of jurisdiction. However,
because the proper forum for review of his petition was
unclear at the time of the filing, Price will have twenty
days from the issuance date of this opinion to file a
petition for review in the Superior Court.
Facts and Procedural History
case stems from Price's role in the hiring of his
sister-in-law as a Case Management Specialist for the
District of Columbia's Summer Youth Employment Program in
June 2015, while Price was Deputy Director of the Youth
Workforce Development Department of the Office of Youth
Programs for the Department of Employment Services. On
November 29, 2016, following an evidentiary hearing, the
Ethics Board found that Price violated the District's
Code of Conduct §§ 1806.3 and 1806.6 by advancing
his sister-in-law's resume and by failing to file a
written recusal after becoming aware that she applied for the
position. Because we do not reach the merits of this case, we
dispense with a detailed examination of the facts. The Ethics
Board ordered Price to pay a civil penalty of $1, 500 for
each violation, totaling $3, 000, and to pay $26, 182.10 in
restitution to the District for violating § 1806.3.
Price appealed the Ethics Board decision to this court,
although D.C. Code § 1-1162.17 (2012 Repl.) provides
that Ethics Board decisions shall be appealed to the Superior
Court. Citing to past Superior Court decisions, Price
contends that § 1-1162.17 is invalid because it violates
the Home Rule Act, D.C. Code § 1-206.02(a)(4) (2012
Repl.), and this court has direct review jurisdiction under
the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, D.C.
Code § 2-510(a) (2012 Repl.).
primary question before us is whether we have direct review
jurisdiction over an Ethics Board contested case. This is an
issue of first impression for this court, and the answer to
this question turns largely on the interplay among provisions
of three statutes: (1) the District of Columbia
Administrative Procedure Act of 1968 ("DCAPA"),
which vests this court with exclusive jurisdiction to review
an agency's decision in a contested case, D.C. Code
§ 2-510(a) (2012 Repl.); (2) the Home Rule Act of 1973,
which provides that the D.C. Council "shall have no
authority" to enact laws "with respect to any
provision of Title 11 (relating to organization and
jurisdiction of the District of Columbia courts)," D.C.
Code § 1-206.02(a)(4) (2012 Repl.); and (3) the Board of
Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and
Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011
("Ethics Act"), which provides that Ethics Board
decisions shall be appealed to the Superior Court, D.C. Code
§ 1-1162.17 (2012 Repl.). As a question of law involving
statutory construction, our review is de novo. District
of Columbia Pub. Schs. v. District of Columbia Dep't of
Emp't Servs., 123 A.3d 947, 949 (D.C. 2015).
1968, Congress enacted the DCAPA, Pub. L. No. 90-614, 82
Stat. 1203 (1968) (codified as amended at D.C. Code §
2-501.01 et seq. (2012 Repl.)), to prescribe
administrative procedures for the District of Columbia
government. The DCAPA provides that generally "[a]ny
person suffering a legal wrong, or adversely affected or
aggrieved, by an order or decision of . . . an agency in a
contested case, is entitled to a judicial review . . . upon
filing in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals a written
petition for review." D.C. Code § 2-510(a). It is
well established that this provision vests the Court of
Appeals with exclusive jurisdiction to hear an agency
"contested case," and the Superior Court may not
maintain concurrent jurisdiction. Euclid St., LLC v.
District of Columbia Water & Sewer Auth.,
41 A.3d 453, 457 (D.C. 2012). The DCAPA defines
"contested case" as "a proceeding before the
Mayor or any agency in which the legal rights, duties, or
privileges of specific parties are required by any law . . .
or by constitutional right, to be determined after a hearing
before the Mayor or before an agency." D.C. Code §
2-502(8) (2012 Repl.). We have held that a "contested
case" refers to a "trial-type hearing" that is
"adjudicatory" and "is concerned basically
with weighing particular information and arriving at a
decision directed at the rights of specific parties."
Euclid St., 41 A.3d at 458 (citation omitted).
1973, Congress enacted the Home Rule Act, Pub. L. No. 93-198,
87 Stat. 774 (1973) (codified as amended at D.C. Code §
1-201.01 et seq. (2012 Repl.)), to give the D.C.
Council "broad authority to legislate upon all rightful
subjects of legislation within the District."
Woodroof v. Cunningham, 147 A.3d 777, 782 (D.C.
2016) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
However, Congress also limited the Council's ability to
legislate on certain subjects, including the jurisdiction of
the D.C. courts. Id. at 782-83. The Home Rule Act,
as amended, provides: "The Council shall have no
authority to . . . [e]nact any act, resolution, or rule ...