Karen Anderson's face wore a broad yesterday as she sat at the key-board of her typewriter in the District Building."I love it," she told one of the first visitors to her new office, "At last, I have a desk."
Anderson, a secretary to City Council member Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3), was among the first contingent of council staff members who moved from cramped and cluttered cubicles on the building's fifth floor to renovated, spacious suites on the first floor.
On the fifth floor, Anderson often perched on a chair at the end of a desk occupied by Shackleton'sadministrative assistant, Sarah Lenzi. When Anderson needed to type, Lenzi would move.
Staff aides to four other council members occupied similar desks lined up in what once had been a narrow corridor. The office doors of two rival candidates for council chairman, Arrington Dixon (D-Ward 4) and Douglas E. Moore (D-At Large) were only inches apart, making it impossible to keep many campaign secrets.
Shackleton, Moore and Dixon were among six council members who made the shift yesterday. By next week, all 13 members and the staffs of all council committees are expected to be fully moved. The committee had been on the second floor.
The renovation, creating suites with wall-to-wall carpeting and walls painted shades of salmon and eggshell, is costing about $900,000, most of it provided under a federal jobs program.
In the opinion of Paul (Sandy) Brown, who works for Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large), the project is worth every penny.
In his old office shared with staff members of David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), Brown sat at a location that made him an informal receptionist for other offices down the hall.
It got so frustrating trying to concentrate on a bill or a report," he said, "and somebody would come along & ask the way to Willie Hardy's office, or to (William) Spaulding's . . . I'd pick up my stuff and go down to one of the vacant committee rooms."
Actual council meetings will continue to be held in the large council chamber, Room 500, on the fifth floor.
Because the 70-year-old District Building at 14th and E Streets, NW, had its floors numbered in a common European fashion the first floor actually is one level above the ground floor.
Space vacated by the council be renovated and assigned to executive agencies.