Robert L. Moore, who has headed the District's housing department for four years, will leave that post Friday to become a special consultant to the city government in charge of most of the city's most important development projects, it was announced yesterday.
Moore, one of the highly touted administrators brought into the city government by Mayor Marion Barry when he took office, asked to be "relieved of his legal responsibilities as the housing director," according to a statement issued by the mayor's office late yesterday afternoon, "in order to focus his full attention to bringing to closure" a number of key city projects.
Sources close to the city government said the arrangement was a compromise worked out between the mayor's office and Moore. Reports have circulated for several weeks that Barry wanted to replace Moore as director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, but that Moore wanted to stay, despite repeatedly saying earlier in the year that he would not serve in a second Barry term.
Under the unusual arrangement, Moore will continue to receive his current salary of $56,300, although he will no longer be a city employe. Instead, Moore will work under a contract with the city government that allows him to also work for private companies.
Neither Moore nor the mayor could be reached for comment.
Moore will be succeeded on an acting basis by Madeline Petty, now the department's acting deputy director.
Moore, in his new role, will continue to work on several projects that have remained snarled during his tenure as housing director, including Metro Center, Bates Street and the Portal tract.
Moore, 43, came to Washington from Houston, where he had served as director of that city's public housing authority. He came with a reputation of a man who could make major developments happen.
However, the showpiece housing project of the Barry administration, the Bates Street project in Shaw, remains unfinished and was the subject of a critical report by the city auditor detailing poor management by Moore's department and recommending that the project's developers be fired.
The city runs 52 public housing projects, which house about 10 percent of the city's population. Moore said four years ago that at least 10 of the projects, containing about 25 percent of the city's 12,000 units, needed completely renovation. So far, only one project is under way and money for it was received in a former administration.
The city owns three major parcels downtown, and redevelopment of these was to act as a catalyst for the refurbishing of the commercial area east of 15th Street. Two of the parcels, atop the Metro Center subway station, are tied up in court, and a third, at the Gallery Place station, is simply lifeless.
The city had hoped to pay off $23 million it owes the federal government in loans for urban renewal properties by selling the sought-after Portal tract in Southwest. But that sale, which was to have been scheduled in September, has been delayed indefinitely.