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D.C. Mayor-elect Gray names Lew city administrator; ex-Pratt deputy will be chief of staff
There are already rumblings about whether Lew's hard-charging management of construction projects can carry over into the daily, broader grind of managing city agencies.
"I like lean operations. I like efficient operations. I like thin bureaucracies," Lew, 60, said at the news conference. "We're gonna work to parlay some of my style into the way we administer services for the city."
Lew's approach isn't universally appreciated, said Paul J. Cohn, a prominent restaurateur who served on the convention center's board during the building's construction and who says he's a "huge fan" of Lew's.
Shortly after he recommended Lew to D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) to lead the city's sports authority, he recalled, "Jack calls and asks, 'Who is this Allen Lew guy? He's stepping on all these toes.' I told Jack, 'You didn't tell me you wanted a politician - you told me you wanted someone to build a stadium.' "
Now, Cohn said, "He's going to have to be a little more of a politician."
Although a high-ranking director under Fenty, Lew maintained a good relationship with Gray. He appeared to be a leading candidate for the post shortly after Gray defeated Fenty in the Democratic primary Sept. 14. Lew, who currently is paid $275,000 annually, has contributed $8,550 to local campaigns, including Gray's, since 2000, according to campaign finance records.
Evans said Lew will complement Gray, known for his deliberative decision-making. "Allen is of that ilk of 'Let's get things done and worry later about the collateral damage.' Paired with Vince, I think it's a great team," he said.
Hall's relationship with Gray is more personal.
A friend to Gray confidante Lorraine Green, Hall has a background in human resources and diversity. Gray has known her for at least 25 years, dating back to when she worked as deputy director in the District's personnel office under former mayor Sharon Pratt. Pratt described Hall Wednesday as a "first-rate professional."
Green, who has worked with Hall in the public and private sectors, said her friend is well-prepared for the chief-of-staff role: "She juggles a lot of balls at one time, and she doesn't drop any. And that's what it's gonna take."
Reginald Gilliam, who has worked closely with Hall, 51, in his role as chief lobbyist at Sodexo, called her a "natural diplomat" who has skillfully navigated diverse constituencies at the company. "She's not one of these people that's pushing and shouting. She's very calm, very objective, and when she speaks, it's substantive and deliberative," said Gilliam, a former University of the District of Columbia board member.
A native of the District, Hall holds a law degree from George Washington University. She was active in Gray's campaigns for council chairman and mayor and is expected to play an "integral part" in advancing his commitment to unify the city.