Metro Board calls closed meeting apparently on Jack Evans ethics probe

Metro Board is set to meet in a closed session Tuesday, where members could take steps to finalize the outcome of an ethics investigation involving Chairman Jack Evans.

In a public signal that the meeting of the board is likely connected to Evans, the request for the closed session was initiated by First Vice Chair Clarence Crawford of Maryland. Usually, calling a closed session is the responsibility of the board’s chairman.

Evans has already been reprimanded by his colleagues on the D.C. Council over allegations that he used his positions for personal gain, and there is also a federal investigation into the Ward 2 council member.

Metro Board’s code of ethics requires members to not use or give the appearance that they are using their official position with WMATA in a manner inconsistent with their responsibilities to Metro or their jurisdiction, which includes an explicit ban on using their positions with Metro for personal financial gain. 

After an initial investigation, the ethics committee is permitted to refer findings to the full board of directors “for further action as the committee seems appropriate.”

The ethics committee met last week in a previously unscheduled session with the same description explaining why the session could be closed to the public as was listed on Tuesday’s agenda: litigation, investigations and other legal matters.

A source familiar with last week’s committee meeting said it lasted much of the day.

The board has the power to censure members, change leadership positions, or take other actions. Metro Board bylaws specifically prevent the board, though, from removing a member, since the agency’s founding compact leaves the authority for appointments exclusively to the governments that appoint each of the eight members and eight alternates.

Evans said he was not told of the nature of Tuesday’s executive session of the Metro Board, and would have to see what happens afterward.

Other board members declined to comment, did not respond to messages, or said that they did not know for certain Monday afternoon what was on Tuesday’s agenda.

A source familiar with the situation said the District was expected to send an alternate Tuesday in Evans’ place.

Evans still chairs the D.C. Council Finance Committee.

WTOP’s Max Smith reported from D.C.

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