Mayor Marion Barry announced yesterday that the city has received a $300,000 federal bonus for efficient management of its summer jobs program for youth, and lashed out at rival mayoral candidate Patricia Roberts Harris, who earlier this week criticized Barry's jobs and economic development programs.
The extra funds, coming from the U.S. Department of Labor, will be used this fall to supplement a program that provides part-time employment to high school students, Barry said at his regularly scheduled monthly news conference.
Democrat Harris, in her campaign's major statement on economic development, contended that Barry had placed too much emphasis on the eight-week summer jobs program -- which this year employed about 20,000 teen-agers -- at the expense of unemployed adults who were looking for work. The city's unemployment rate rose to 11.3 percent in June.
Barry said yesterday that Harris either was ill informed or was ignoring his record of having placed 51,227 people in year-round jobs since taking office in 1979, according to city government figures. About 7,500 of those jobs were created with local funds; the rest were financed through federal employment programs, the city figures indicate.
"Anyone who says 50,000 jobs is not a figure to be saluted and congratulated doesn't know what he's talking about," Barry said.
Mayoral candidate and City Council member John Ray also criticized Harris' proposal to create a semiprivate economic development corporation , saying yesterday, "Mrs. Harris is a bureaucrat and she gives us a typical bureaucrat's response: Whatever the problem is, it will be solved if we only create another new agency."
On a separate matter, Barry denied that D.C. government employes have worked on his reelection campaign in violation of the U.S. Hatch Act prohibiting partisan political activity by federal or city employes. The federal Merit Systems Protection Board is investigating allegations that city workers who are members of the American Federation of Govenment Employees (AFGE) violated the law in working for Barry's reelection.
"I don't know of any D.C. government worker who has engaged in activities that would violate the Hatch Act," Barry said. "I'm not encouraging it. We have enough workers working full time in the campaign office to take care of our own business."
Barry said he suspected one of his opponents in the Sept. 14 Democratic mayoral contest of having instigated the probe as part of a "desperate tactic" to sidetrack his campaign. However, a merit board official said he did not believe the allegations originated with one of Barry's opponents.
Meanwhile, all three other Democratic mayoral candidates picked up the theme of alleged Hatch Act violations in the Barry campaign.
"I think he has more than liberally used government employes," said City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), adding that Barry "clearly is not respecting the Hatch Act.
Ray said, "I have pointed out on several occasions that I am concerned about the level of participation of city employes" in Barry's campaign. "There is a level . . . that says to hell with the Hatch Act," Ray said.
Harris called the reports of possible violations "very disturbing."