Effi Barry, wife of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, has resigned from her job with JAM Corp., a Washington public relations and advertising firm that does business with the District government.

Barry submitted her resignation Aug. 13 after a leave of absence and indicated that she planned to pursue other career opportunities, JAM President Jeanne Clarke Harris said yesterday. Harris said she held a "very personal" and "very emotional" discussion with the mayor's wife about her decision to leave JAM.

Barry took a seven-month leave of absence from June 1986 to January, while her husband made his reelection bid, and another leave from July until she resigned, Harris said.

Neither Effi Barry nor her spokeswoman could be reached for comment yesterday.

According to a source, Barry was paid about $45,000 a year at the time of her resignation. Her job involved managing national and private accounts, including helping to boost the image of Coors beer among minorities.

Controvery over her position developed shortly after Barry became a JAM vice president for corporate affairs in 1984. Questions surfaced over whether her new job created the appearance of a conflict of interest because JAM had received some District government contracts and was a contender for others.

At the time, Mayor Barry said: "Effi would be criticized for anything she does in this town. Most major corporations in this town have some business with the city."

Effi Barry's earlier position as a member of the board of directors of Independence Federal Savings and Loan also stirred criticism.

The controversy arose in 1979 when it was revealed that Independence Federal -- headed by William B. Fitzgerald, one of Mayor Barry's political supporters -- had given the Barrys a discount on their home mortgage. After media coverage, the Barrys relinquished the discount.

According to Mayor Barry, his wife stepped down from the board in 1983 in part because each time Fitzgerald sought a District contract, the media reported that Effi Barry was an Independence Federal director.

Harris, who in 1978 served as then-Mayor Walter E. Washington's campaign press secretary in the mayoral race against Barry and had earlier worked for developer Theodore R. Hagans Jr., said it is unfortunate that some people in Washington will question where a mayor's wife works.

Harris said that as a JAM employe, Barry never worked on any city accounts. Harris blamed the media for creating a false impression that JAM hired Barry to attract more business to the company.

"Effi Barry was hired because she was competent, well educated and a professional woman and JAM had a need," said Harris. "Any jobs we've ever done for the city, we bid on them. No one has ever done anything for us and we never asked anyone to do anything for us."

Harris said questions raised by the media turned into a "bitter experience" for her because she did not "anticipate anyone being that unfair to her {Barry} or to a private corporation."

JAM has received a substantial amount of the District's public relations and advertising business over the years, providing services to at least nine District agencies.

JAM was formed in 1980 and during its first four years of business received about $300,000 in District government business. In 1986, JAM indirectly received more than $800,000 in city business by contracting with a company that handles a D.C. lottery account.

JAM's contracts have attracted close scutiny. In June, the House D.C. Appropriations subcommittee, while reviewing the city's use of sole-source contracts, cited a 1986 contract under which the D.C. Department of Human Services paid JAM $62,999 -- $15.75 per copy -- to print 4,000 copies of the agency's annual report.

Previously, Effi Barry has worked as an environmental health inspector, a travel agency head, schoolteacher, host of a gospel radio talk show and occasional model.

She received an undergraduate degree in home economics from Hampton Institute and a master's degree in health education from the City College of New York.