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The DC mayor is on ‘personal travel’ and her office won’t say to where

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is traveling for six days and her office will only say that she is on personal travel. It is at least the third time since taking office in 2015 that Bowser (D) has left the District for several days and her public schedule has not reflected her absence. Balancing personal privacy and public responsibility is a fraught topic for elected leaders. But the travel of D.C. leaders has been an especially sensitive topic since former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) traveled to China and the United Arab Emirates on trips announced as personal travel that city officials later disclosed were paid for by foreign governments[1].

In a statement Monday, Bowser spokesman Kevin Harris said that the mayor was paying her own way, but not where she was. Asked whether a security detail or any other city employee was accompanying Bowser at taxpayer expense, Harris said no. The mayor s taxpayer funded salary is $200,000.

The Mayor is on personal travel and will resume a public schedule on Thursday, Harris wrote in an email. She remains in regular contact and communications with city leadership.

The council chairman said he appreciated that the mayor wants privacy on her trip. At the same time, there shouldn t be total secrecy about her travel. And there should be no secrecy with regard to government expense. Harris would not say whether Bowser s security detail accompanied her to an airport or train station or on any portion of her travel. He also would not say whether she was in the United States or traveling abroad.

In March 2016, Bowser s office declined for three days to identify the mayor s location. When told that information would be printed in a news article, Bowser then responded to a text message from a reporter:

I m in Jamaica. Personal travel, she wrote.


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