One of Marion Barry's most persistent pledges since being elected mayor has been to create a "partnership" with the people of Washington.
To carry out that pledge, Barry has appointed nine special assistants who will advise the mayor on a wide range of issues, from constituent services to housing. The goal, according to the mayor's office, is to identify problems and find solutions.
"The mayor has assigned the special assistants to areas that were of special concern during the campaign," said Florence Tate, Barry's press secretary. "These people will gather information and bring it back to the mayor."
Tate said the special assistants were chosen not only because of their ability to do the work, but because "they were the best people for the jobs."
According to Tate, "They all share the same concern for disadvantaged peopel."
In recent interviews with each of the nine appointees, which are included in this issue, the assistants expressed a large measure of optimism and energy for the tasks they have been assigned. They each carry some expertise to their new duties and many are veterans of the polictical system.
Tate noted that the special assistants are expected to make their own decisions and not to depend upon constant supervision by the mayor.
Ivanhoe Donaldson, general assistant to Barry, said all nine special assistants will have a simple distinction from persons holding similar positions in the previous administration: "They will get the job done."
Donaldson said there may be some overlap in areas the assistants cover, but any problems will be worked out in staff meetings.
According to a spokesman for the mayor, salaries for the new appointees begin at the GS-12 level, with annual pay ranging from $23,000 to $25,000. The highest pay level of the assistants is GS-14, with annual salaries ranging from $32,000 to $35,000.
Donaldson said the special assistants will report to him and to the mayor. Their prime responsiblity is to gather information by meeting with boards, commissions, government agencies and the public.
"We are going to take a look at the boards and commissions. There are all sorts of vacancies on important commissions -- commissions that affect government."
According to Donaldson, the special assistants assigned to boards and commissions will help determine which commissions and boards should be added to the government structure and which should be eliminated.
Each assistant, he said, will have a specific area of responsibility.
Those areas include education, youth, boards and commissions, labor and religion, as well as general trouble-shooting.
The nine appointees are Betty King, Audrey Rowe, Anita Bonds and Lillian Adkins Sedgwick, four persons active in his campaign; Edward Meyers, a holdover from Barry's council staff; and Matthew Shannon, Valerie Barry, Diane Lewis and Warren Graves, four newcomers to the Barry staff.