Fenty Fills Another Key Cabinet Position

Dan Tangherlini, center, said that Adrian M. Fenty, right, gave him a chance
Dan Tangherlini, center, said that Adrian M. Fenty, right, gave him a chance "to make more of a difference in more people's lives." (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)
By David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Mayoral nominee Adrian Fenty has decided on two major Cabinet choices since he won the Democratic primary three weeks ago, moving as briskly to prepare to govern as he moved around town knocking on doors during the campaign.

Fenty's announcement yesterday that he would pick Metro's interim general manager, Dan Tangherlini, to be city administrator came two weeks after he said he would nominate Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi to another five-year term. Fenty has also said he is strongly considering launching a takeover bid of the city's failing public schools, and he has met with Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, of whom Fenty has been critical.

Although Fenty is virtually assured of victory in the largely Democratic city, he still must win the November general election and be sworn in before he can officially hire a Cabinet.

Nevertheless, Fenty emerged from the John A. Wilson Building yesterday morning and introduced Tangherlini as the man who would help him run the District government. After talking about their common visions, enthusiasm and energy, the two disappeared into city hall to discuss transition plans. By last evening, Fenty and Tangherlini were reviewing a list of D.C. agency directors together.

Some District stakeholders, including the Greater Washington Board of Trade, praised Fenty's action yesterday, but others, including some community activists, expressed caution.

Iris Toyer, head of Parents United for D.C. Public Schools, said she wonders if Fenty is thoroughly considering all possible candidates.

"He's going at lightning speed," Toyer said. "I'm not necessarily concerned it's too fast, but whoever is advising him, I want to make sure they are really talking to a wide range of candidates."

Fenty, 35, said he won't name his entire Cabinet before the Nov. 7 general election, but he noted that he will consider hiring people for open jobs -- such as the city's attorney general position, which is being vacated by Robert J. Spagnoletti. Naming Tangherlini and Gandhi early, Fenty said, was intended to shore up key positions that would help him get off to a fast start.

"If you have top-shelf talent and you do not go after them, I would be derelict in my promise to voters," Fenty said.

Tangherlini, 39, who oversaw the District's transportation department for six years before joining Metro this year, said it was a difficult decision to pull out of the running for a permanent Metro general manager. He was scheduled to interview with Metro's board this week. He would earn $195,000 as city administrator; he is making $235,000 as Metro's interim head.

"More work, more responsibility, less money," said Tangherlini, who is married with two children. "But I really believed this is an opportunity to make more of a difference in more people's lives."

Fenty's pace has not been lost on Tangherlini. In an unusual move, Fenty and Tangherlini exchanged letters in which both commit to join forces.

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