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Posted at 02:44 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Kwame Brown’s chief of staff resigns

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s chief of staff, Nichole Streeter, has resigned and Brown is searching for a replacement.

Streeter, whose departure has been rumored for weeks, was a former attorney for D.C. Public Schools before she joined Brown’s council office in January.

Brown confirmed Streeter’s resignation Friday.

“It’s nothing bad. It was mutual,” Brown said. “She decided to move on to other things and I understand and respect that decision. I think she is a wonderful individual and wish her the best wherever she lands.”

Brown named Megan Vahey, the current clerk for the council’s Committee of the Whole, as his acting chief of staff. Streeter declined to comment.

In his previous position as at-large council member, Brown was well-known for having high staff turnover, including four chiefs of staffs in six years.

Some former staffers describe him as difficult to work for, but Brown said most of the top-ranking staff departures stemmed from routine personnel matters, including family obligations.

“Sometimes, you don’t want to put people’s business out there,” Brown said.

Brown said he’s confident he will be able to quickly find a replacement for Streeter to keep the council running efficiently.

“We are going to look for a qualified person who can step up to the table and manage operations organizationally and politically,” Brown said.

But Streeter’s departure comes at a delicate time for Brown and the council.

During his first eight months in office, Brown has struggled to move beyond the controversy surrounding his taxpayer-funded SUV and an Office of Campaign Finance Investigation into his 2008 reelection campaign.

When the council returns from summer recess next month, Brown hopes to quickly pivot the discussion back onto his agenda, including enacting a comprehensive ethics reform bill and continuing to look for efficiencies in District government.

But Brown and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), whose also faced a rocky start to his administration, are now both operating without permanent chiefs of staff.

Gray’s first chief of staff, Gerri Mason Hall, stepped in March following controversy about the mayor’s hiring practices. Paul Quander has been serving as Gray’s interim chief.

As Brown seeks to rebound amid his slumping poll numbers, some of his closet advisors are hoping he selects a permanent staff who has strong political acumen.

“He needs to really hire someone who knows about politics and has good judgement to be an effective chief of staff,” said Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), the council’s president pro-tempore. “You really have to have both dimensions so someone can say, ‘gee, this is going on here’ and maybe offer him a bit of advice and run interference for him. You have to be sophisticated to have good judgement to run interference.”

This story has been updated since it was first posted.

By  |  02:44 PM ET, 08/19/2011

 
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