Lillian Adkins Sedgwick began her duties last week as a general special assistant to Mayor Marion Barry -- despite a recent accident in which her car was demolished and she suffered severe bruises.

Sedgwick said it was important that she come to work and complete her full calendar because it was important to the mayor. "The mayor must know as soon as possible what is happening with the transition task forces," she said.

Sedgwick, who is also the vice chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and former co-campaign chairman of the Marion Barry for Mayor Committee, has been meeting with members of task force committees during the transition.

"The task force reports are reflecting benign neglect of city problems. I'm not blaming the former mayor, Walter Washington, but there are many problems that have not been taken care of for a long, long time."

Sedwick, who lives on Primrose Road in Northwest Washington, said she expects to make a significant contribution to the mayor's office. "The mayor said he wants compassionate people in his administration. I am both compassionate and competent -- I will make a contribution."

She said her primary job will be that of a trouble-shooter, handling problems Barry assigns her. She said she is happy working for Barry because her philosophy is similar to his and he is responsive to her ideas.

"He does not always agree (with you), but Mayor Barry will listen," she said.

Sedgwick has been vice chairman of the rules and by-laws committee for the Democratic National Committee and a delegate to the Democratic Mid-Term Conference, both in Kansas City and in Memphis.

A native of Richmond, Va., she also was an executive member of the Washington Teacher's Union and, most recently, has been acting director of the Speech and hearing Department for D.C. public schools. Sedgwick is divorced and has a daughter.