The first major appointment of a Latino to the administration of Mayor Marion Barry was made yesterday when Jose Gutierrez, formerly a deputy assistant on the city administrator's staff was named acting director of the D. C. Office of Personnel.
The interim appointment was regarded by many Latino political leaders in Washington as Barry's first substantive concession to their demands for more high-level representation in his administration.
The announcement came shortly after D. C. personnel director George R. Harrod was granted administrative leave yesterday following his indictment on an assault charge.
"This (appointment) means the mayor means business," said Eva Guevara Erb, executive director of the Council of Hispanic Agencies. "This is a big response. This is putting his commitment on the line, and it's a message to the rest of his administration which may not yet be as responsive to our needs as he has said he wants to be."
Gutherrez, a 33-year-old graduate of Antioch College, has worked in several government-related jobs. Before joining the Barry administration, he was chief of planning for community services at the U. S. Census Bureau.
A GS 15, born in New York of Puerto Rican descent, Gutierrez said one of his principal concerns in his new post would be "affirmative action for Latinos, blacks, and woman."
City administrator Elijah B. Rogers said that Gutierrez's appointment was interim because "there's no vacancy. We haven't made any vacancy as far as George's status is concerned."
"it doesn't rule Jose out (as permanent director). It doesn't rule him in," Rogers said. "It'll give us a chance to look at Jose."