By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 16, 2009
President Obama has nominated D.C. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini to be assistant U.S. treasury secretary, robbing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty of his top aide, who would be the second city Cabinet member to jump to the White House.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tangherlini, 41, will be assistant secretary for management and chief financial officer. He also will serve as chief performance officer.
"It's an awesome responsibility," said Tangherlini, who added that he would assemble the nation's budget and perform other duties directly under U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.
He would be replaced as city administrator by Neil O. Albert, deputy mayor for economic development.
Tangherlini, who has worked for the federal and local governments for more than a decade, has always been considered a star on the Democratic mayor's staff. The Obama administration approached him, according to city government sources.
In March, the city's chief technology officer, Vivek Kundra, joined the Obama administration as federal chief information officer.
Earlier in his career, Tangherlini worked in the policy office of the U.S. transportation secretary and in the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton.
In city government, Tangherlini was the chief financial officer for the police department and director of the D.C. Department of Transportation. He holds a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
When Fenty was elected in 2006, he had to lure Tangherlini back to city government from Metro, where he was serving as interim general manager and was in line to become the permanent head of the transit authority.
At a news conference yesterday, Fenty said people kept telling him, "I'm really surprised that Obama hasn't stolen Dan away from you yet."
The mayor later said in an interview that he was flattered the Obama administration is once again taking a member of his staff. "Professionally, there's no greater compliment . . . than for people to go to the Obama administration."
Fenty gathered his entire Cabinet on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building to make the announcement, first revealing that Albert will be the new city administrator.
Albert, 48, said filling Tangherlini's shoes will be a challenge because "the impact of his feet is massive."
The mayor said an announcement about Albert's replacement will be made in the next few weeks.
In an interview, Albert said he has worked closely with the mayor and Tangherlini on several issues, including personnel, so he had a hand in hiring the current Cabinet. "Two and a half years into it, I think we have a great team. I don't predict many changes," he said.
Albert worked in the administration of Mayor Anthony A. Williams as a deputy mayor and as director of parks and recreation.
Before he joined the Fenty administration in 2007, he was co-founder and chief executive of EdBuild, an educational services firm that ran into some controversy when the D.C. Board of Education awarded it a no-bid $57.6 million construction contract. The company has been dissolved.
Albert had little background in development when Fenty hired him to head up the economic development shop.
But he and Tangherlini share similar traits in that they always succeeded in their previous posts, Fenty said.
For months, D.C. Council members and others have privately quipped that Tangherlini was so good at his job that he was the one running the city, not Fenty.
"What time will prove is that statement's false," Tangherlini said in an interview. "The mayor certainly runs the government."