The District's government, stung by a decision of congressional conferes to eliminate funding for its economic development activities in the current fiscal year, has hired a former governor of the Federal Reserve Board to help find ways of keeping business in the city.

Armed with a $100,000 grant from the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration, the D.C.Office of Business and Economic Development has hired Brimmer and Co.Inc., of Washington to complete a study by next June on business retention.

Andrew Brimmer, head of the consulting firm and the former Federal Reserve Board member, will have overall responsibility for the research.

Brimmer has been asked to study:

Factors that promote or inhibit business relocation, expansion and modernication of facilities in the city.

The number of D.C. firms likely to move out of the city under current circumstances and the impact of these projected losses on jobs and tax revenues.

Actions the city can take to retain business and encourage expansion within the D.C. borders.

"In this decade, the District has lost payroll (because of business flight) totalling over $180 million, "said Mayor Marion Barry, Jr. "We are determined to identify the causes for this loss and seek remedial measures. This kind of Study is overdue."

Brimmer's firm will develop a base of information to be used by the city government in keeping abreast of potential business losses or expansions, so that the District Building can do something the government never has done before -- talk with businesses involved before decisions are final.

Mayor Barry said the study will focus on medium-sized and large-sized employers, which are not tied by the nature of their business to a D.C. location. Attention also will be focused on food and related industries as well as printing and publishing.

In recent years, a number of printers as well as such leading retail firms as M. S. Ginn, Hechinger's and Peoples Drug Stores have moved their headquarters operations and other facilities outside the city to larger suburban sites.