Mayor Marion Barry, confidently looking past the Nov. 2 general election and charting his next four years in office, has laid out a set of goals that include reducing crime by more than 25 percent, reorganizing agencies that handle licensing and economic development, and reshuffling his financial management team.
There are also indications that Barry will shake up or realign his cabinet, particularly in light of growing signs that City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers, one of the mayor's most trusted aides, will leave that post next year.
"I'm taking a comprehensive view of program priorities and personnel changes," Barry said in an interview late last week. "I'm going to do it across the board."
Barry scored a decisive victory in the Sept. 14 Democratic mayoral primary and faces Republican nominee E. Brooke Lee Jr. in the general election.
Since returning from a vacation to Jamaica a week ago, the mayor has held a series of meetings with his top aides and has reviewed a lengthy document they drafted that outlines a proposed new agenda for the administration in the coming years.
Although the final plans won't be unveiled until early December, the mayor and some of his aides have begun to drop broad hints of things to come.
For instance, Barry told a group of 140 Washington area businessmen last week that he has instructed Police Chief Maurice Turner to find ways to reduce the current crime rate to 1978 levels.
But to do that, the police department would have to hold down crimes to a total of 50,950, or about one-fourth fewer than the 69,910 homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larcenies and auto thefts committed in 1981.
At another point recently, Rogers outlined plans for several major departmental reorganizations.
The city's far-flung licensing and regulatory activities will be combined into a new department of consumer and environmental protection early next year, according to Rogers. The new agency would provide one-stop shopping for developers applying for permits and licenses, something Barry has been promising for the past four years.
"One of the major concerns is that businesses only have to come to one place to obtain permits ," said Carol Thompson, acting director of the Department of Licenses, Investigations and Inspections and the prime candidate to head the new agency.
The administration also plans to consolidate city activities that stimulate economic development and new jobs, Rogers said, and probably will recruit an outside expert to head up the new operation.
"We're going to get the right kind of people in these jobs," Rogers said.
Rogers, 42, a nationally prominent black city manager, said recently he is inclined to take a less time-consuming and better-paying job elsewhere, but hasn't made a final decision. His salary is $59,000 a year, compared with the $74,000 salaries of city managers in surrounding communities.
"I feel strongly that in these kinds of high-pressure jobs a person can only stay in the job a certain amount of time," said Rogers, a former city manager in Berkeley, Calif., and a former assistant city manager in Richmond, Va., and Bowie, Md.
"There are things I'd like to do personally that I haven't been able to do over the past 13 years," he added. "I've got to do what's right not only for the government but also what's right for me and my family."
A well-placed source said that Robert L. Moore, director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, may be reassigned. During the primary campaign, Moore's department was sharply criticized by Barry's opponents for having done little to improve conditions in the city's dilapidated public housing projects, despite the availability of millions of dollars in federal grants for renovation.
James A. Buford, the $52,000-a-year director of the Department of Human Services, the city's largest agency, has told the Barry administration he plans to leave in December. Buford's replacement probably will be asked by the mayor to find new ways of reducing the city's lengthy welfare rolls and encouraging recipients to become less dependent on the government.
"Government cannot provide all the services and meet all the needs of the residents of the District of Columbia," Rogers said.
Barry is expected to promote City Comptroller Alphonse G. Hill or Department of Finance and Revenue Director Carolyn L. Smith as assistant city administrator for financial management, a post that has remained vacant for two years.
During his first term, Barry struggled with a rash of budget and financial crises that consumed much of his time. Now the mayor feels confident that he has most of those problems under control and can focus more of his energies in other areas.
"Financial management was the big issue in the first four years," said Hill. "The general feeling is we know where our problems are now, although I won't say everything is under control."
Despite repeated setbacks on Capitol Hill, Barry and his aides are confident that Congress eventually will grant authority to enable the city to refinance a large portion of its $309 million accumulated deficit. The city must refinance the debt before it can obtain the necessary credit rating to market bonds and end its reliance on the U.S. Treasury for long-term borrowing.
In looking ahead to the next term, Rogers predicted that Barry would prove to be more of an "activist," taking a direct hand in seeking ways to markedly improve city programs, especially the criminal justice system.
"I think you'll see a more assertive, aggressive effort to combat crime . . . and a more assertive mayor," Rogers said.
Last week, Barry said that he would "focus in a comprehensive manner" on preventing and reducing crime, adding that "I've given the chief some goals to work on."
A group of high-ranking D.C. police officials met Sept. 21-23 in Gettysburg to discuss overall crime-fighting management, according to Assistant Police Chief Marty Tapscott, although Barry's goals for reducing crime were not brought up.
The department's main goal will be to get more of the city's nearly 3,880 police officers on the street and involved in specific communities, Tapscott said, not only to control crime but to make the job more interesting for the officers.
The police department also intends to undertake a politically sensitive review of the boundaries for the seven police districts and individual beat assignments, with an eye to increasing efficiency.
The department is constantly under pressure from community groups to increase police patrols in their areas. Also, City Council member Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6), a strong ally of Barry's, has asked that the police district boundaries be withdrawn so that her ward is covered by only one district, instead of two, as is now the case.
Tapscott said his department also is trying to improve its sometimes strained relations with prosecutors in the offices of the D.C. Corporation Counsel and U.S. Attorney.
"What I would like to see is constant dialogue," he said. "One component part of the criminal justice system cannot work without communications with the others."