Mayor Marion Barry has defended his administration's management of D.C. finances and told area savings and loan officials that many city fiscal problems are the legacy of control by a negligent Congress.

Reading from a letter from Lazard Freres, the New York investment firm that is advising the city on issuing municipal bonds, Barry told the annual meeting of the Metropolitan Washington S&L League here Saturday that "of a $284 million operating deficit, more than 60 percent appears to have been incurred prior to Home Rule."

"We're working very hard to at least tell you the truth about what we know," Barry said. "When we took over under Home Rule the city had an unfunded pension liability of $2.3 billion," he said, cataloging that and other problems.

"We brought these things out early enought to solve them" Barry said. "We're not on the verge of collapse."

Barry called on managers of S&Ls to come to the city's aid by lobbying for changes he said would alleviate some of the city's financial and social problems, including a nonresident income tax.

The league elected James L. Harris, president and cheif executive officer of Washington Federal Savings & Loan Association, to a one-year term as president of the league. He succeeds Martin Wiegnad, chairman and chief executive officer of Metropolis Federal Savings & Loan.

William F. Sinclair, the president of American Federal Savings & Loan Associations, was elected vice president; John W. Stadtler Sr., chairman and chief executive officer of National Permanent Federal Savings & Loan, was reelected treasurer, and Bruce Bryan was reelected secretary.