Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced his nominations for three new agency directors today, following his pattern of appointing friends, fellow athletes and people in his age range.
Gennet Purcell, 35, who is a friend of first lady Michelle Fenty, will be commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. Purcell, who was serving as deputy commissioner, is replacing Thomas E. Hampton. Fenty would not disclose whether Hampton resigned or was fired, citing personnel issues. Purcell's husband Will was appointed by Fenty to the Contract Appeals Board, but he was recently stripped of his position after being disbarred in Maryland.
Jamison Weinbaum, 33, a runner like the mayor, was named director of the Office of Zoning, replacing Jerrily R. Kress who retired in January. Weinbaum had worked as a project manager in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
Finally, 44-year-old Derek Orr, acting director of the Office of Disability Rights, will take over the office permanently. He was previously deputy director and served as executive director of Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care Inc.
Fenty, 38, who has been testy with the media this week on the issue of his 9-year-old sons attending public school, was again combative Friday at a news conference at Judiciary Square to name his appointments. He said he would not answer questions about policy and would not put the new directors in the position to do so, because the purpose of the news conference was to announce his appointments.
After the news conference, Fenty once again refused to answer any questions about his twin sons attending Lafayette Elementary School, even though the Fenty family's Crestwood home is not within the school's district boundaries. School sources say the Fenty twins bypassed the lottery to attend the high-performing school.