Councilwoman: I got ok to drive daughter to school in city car

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown went before a board of city officials this morning to explain why she sometimes uses her city vehicle to transport family members – after questions were raised about her car usage by a local television reporter.

Fox 29 reporter Jeff Cole, who made headlines recently with his investigation into Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr.’s chief of staff, has been looking into Brown’s use of her city car to drive her daughter to school. Cole’s report has not yet aired.

City elected officials and employees are prohibited from using city owned cars to transport family members and non-city workers. But Brown appeared before the city Administrative Board today to say that she was given a formal exemption to the rule in 2004 by the Managing Director, due to her family circumstances.

The Administrative Board – which includes the mayor, the managing director and the finance director -- today voted to grant Brown a waiver to continue to use her car for some personal transportation. Brown told the board that she uses her city car to drive her daughter to and from school and sometimes to transport her ailing mother to the hospital.

“I’m a working mother, I do that five days a week,” Brown said after the meeting. “I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing.”

Mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver also requested a similar waiver today, so that he can drive his young son to school several days a week in his city vehicle. The request was granted. Oliver said that he realized he might not be in compliance with city rules only after questions were raised about Brown’s car use.

Mayor Nutter’s chief of staff Clay Armbrister was asked after the hearing if the administration had researched the legality of Nutter driving daughter Olivia to school in the SUV which Nutter purchased with campaign dollars, but then donated to the city.

“It’s truly a question we’re going to take a look at,” Armbrister said. “We’ll have the city solicitor take a look at it.”

Nutter famously drove his daughter to school every day as a city councilman. But he did not use a city car while on Council.

UPDATE: Just got a press release from Fox 29 that says their report will air Sunday night at 10 p.m.