Fenty, Gray Move Quickly to Make an Impact

By David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 9, 2006

D.C. Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty said yesterday that he will use his seven-week transition to host town hall meetings in every ward, conduct a sweeping performance review of city government agencies and put his imprint on the city's fiscal 2008 budget.

A day after he easily won election, Fenty (D) announced at a news conference that the transition will be led by his designated city administrator, Dan Tangherlini, and his designated chief of staff, Tene Dolphin, who also held that job in the campaign. Fenty said the goal is to convert ideas collected since he won the September primary into plans that he can implement after he is sworn in Jan. 2.

Fenty said he chose to forgo naming an honorary chairman to oversee the transition -- unlike Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), who tapped former senator Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) in 1998.

"We've got to get started right now, and I didn't feel there was any room to put anyone in charge of the transition who would not be in charge in January," Fenty said, explaining why he chose Tangherlini and Dolphin.

Also yesterday, D.C. Council Chairman-elect Vincent C. Gray (D) outlined his plans, which include a reorganization of oversight committees, and named Lorraine Green, vice president for human resources at Amtrak, to head his transition.

"Part of my job in the transition is to make sure that Vince's vision for the city and Adrian's vision for the city [are] in sync," said Green, who was deputy director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under President Bill Clinton.

Green, a native Washingtonian who lives in Woodridge, has worked in D.C. government as director of personnel and executive director of the D.C. lottery board.

Other members of Gray's transition team include Vernon E. Hawkins, a longtime friend and a strategist in the campaign, and Ernie Jarvis, a commercial real estate executive and son of former council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D). Another member is Thomas M. Downs, who was a city administrator when Marion Barry was mayor.

Gray's campaign theme was "One City," emphasizing a desire to improve relations among ethnic communities and other interest groups throughout the District.

"If I say something, I really intend to do it," Gray said. "It isn't a statement of the moment, sloganeering or playing to the crowd."

Under a plan Gray was to release today, the transition team would develop "concrete initiatives" to create partnerships between civic associations and to encourage meetings to discuss development projects and other matters of community concern.

Fenty spoke at the atrium of the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, at 14th and U Streets NW, where he will have his transition office. After the news conference, Fenty and his aides gave reporters a tour of the eighth-floor office, a large, open room that once was home to the District's Emergency Management Agency.

The room is now sparsely furnished with desks and computers, suggestive of the "bullpen" Fenty hopes to create at the John A. Wilson Building when he takes office. Instead of using the sixth-floor mayor's suite, as Williams does, Fenty said, he intends to knock down interior walls to create a large room where he will work alongside his deputies. It is an idea he got from New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R).

"The previous mentality was that the mayor had the biggest office as far away as possible," Fenty said. "So the goal for everybody else was to get as big an office possible as far away as possible. This reverses that. The mayor is here in the middle so the power is centered, and everyone else wants to get close to that."

Tangherlini, whose desk faces Fenty's, described a thorough review of the performance, budgetary needs and leadership quality of each department.

Meanwhile, another Fenty team, headed by Bill Lightfoot and Jim Hudson, both Wasington lawyers, will develop legislative proposals, taking comment from the community. Residents can find more information about how to participate at http://www.fentytransition.org/ .

By the end of the transition, Tangherlini said, the Fenty administration hopes to look comprehensively at agency performance data and the legislative proposals "so we can develop the best budget and a clear action plan."

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