D.C. Mayor Marion Barry should treat key members of Congress "as special citizens" to gain the city more favor on Capitol Hill, according to a transition team staff report that is generally critical of the way the mayor has handled his dealings with Congress and the City Council.
The report also says the mayor "to the detriment of his credibility" changes positions on issues without telling Congress or the council, and has limited his contacts with the two bodies to "crisis situations."
The report, made available to The Washington Post, was written by staff members of a group that is examining the mayor's office, one of eight committees preparing for Barry's next term, which begins in January.
"Not enough is being done to 'stroke' key members of Congress," according to the report, which was prepared for Barry campaign manager Ivanhoe Donaldson, head of the transition effort. "There should be a program that treats them as special citizens, offering them immediate information and response in their dealings with the city and special consideration when they have problems."
Last December, Barry received some criticism when he wrote a letter to all members of Congress asking for their addresses in the District and expressing the city's interest in making their stay here "as plesant and comfortable as possible."
Barbara Washington, assistant city administrator for intergovernmental relations, said at the time that the mayor wanted "to do what we can do to make certain that members do not have to go through what is considered the bureaucratic maze" in dealing with municipal problems.
Washington said Wednesday that she had not seen the transition team's report and would not comment.
Ed Meyers, the chief spokesman for the city, declined to discuss the report or identify its authors other than as "transition staff members and volunteers."
"It is our longstanding policy not to discuss the content of working drafts and of materials that are not in final form," Meyers said. "The task force is in the process of putting together the final report to the full steering committee and the mayor."
During his successful reelection campaign, Barry told voters that he had established a good working relationship with Congress. The report, however, is largely critial.
"There has been no systematic contact with influential members of Congress and their staffs, with members of the D.C. City Council and others who can bring influence upon the legislative process," the report states. "Contacts have been limited to crisis situations."
Another section states that the mayor's involvement with legislative issues is not coordinated with the work of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, "thus at times undermining the credibility and effectiveness of the staff."
The report says several D.C. agencies complained that they do not receive "sufficient advance notice of the need for comments and/or testimony on pending legislation, or get requests in bunches with inadequate differentation of priorities."
The report suggests that the mayor install a "hot line" to the council and Congress "to secure quick response to requests for information and special service, the programming of briefings and tours on the workings of the city for influential congresspersons and staff."
The document cites staff shortages, noting that only one staff member is assigned to maintain contact with both the House and Senate, and one is assigned to serve as liaison with other governments and "national interest groups in which the mayor desires to be active."
The report, prepared by a team working on possible reorganization of the mayor's office, suggests that the functions of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations be taken out of the city administrator's office and placed under a special assistant to the mayor.
The document also suggested that the District's "legislative program could be better tailored to meet administration's specific interests (e.g., the Reagan administration's 'new federalism' could be applied to the District as a pilot program effort.)"