Keith A. Vance, the controversial District campaign finance director who clashed with the D.C. Council, city auditor and other officials in recent months, asked Mayor Marion Barry yesterday to withdraw his name from consideration for reappointment.
Barry, in an exchange of letters with Vance, immediately agreed and said Vance will be given another job in his administration. Sources said Vance would become executive assistant for personnel in the Department of Human Services.
There was no clear indication who would take over the campaign finance office, which oversees the city's ethics and campaign spending laws, but city sources said the leading candidate among several choices appeared to be Marianne Niles, a lawyer and former policy analyst for the District government who now works for the Consumers United Insurance Co.
Vance, who had lobbied since spring to remain in his post, said in a telephone interview yesterday that he now felt he had "burned out" in the job that he has held for nearly five years and that he had "accomplished everything I wanted to do."
Although Vance said he felt he had enough support in the full 13-member council, which must act on the nomination, others said he faced a difficult confirmation hearing from the Committee on Government Operations, where two of the five members were almost certain to oppose him.
Vance, a former federal elections official, was involved in a bitter public dispute with one committee member, council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) over Jarvis' campaign spending. Jarvis said yesterday that Vance "made a wise decision."
Other members of the council, including Government Operations Committee Chairman Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), have privately expressed concern over Vance's handling of his job, including his often strained relationship with the Board of Elections and Ethics and Vance's public attack on the renomination of D.C. Auditor Otis H. Troupe.
While Jarvis has said she was mistreated by Vance, other city officials have contended that Vance's handling of the case prevented more serious action against Jarvis. Officials have said that the elections board, which hears complaints brought by Vance's office, was dissatisfied with how the case was presented by Vance.
Jarvis paid a $10,000 fine to settle complaints about reporting violations.
Kane is considering possible legislation to clarify the duties of the campaign finance office in relation to the elections board, but officials said no specific changes have been suggested.
Troupe in two audits had criticized Vance's administration and personnel policies for the campaign finance office, which has a budget of nearly $500,000 and about 32 employes. In September, Vance wrote a stinging letter of criticism to the council, accusing Troupe of unprofessional conduct and "maliciousness," and said Troupe was acting in collusion with Jarvis, who had requested the audits.
Despite the criticisms, Vance is credited with making significant improvements in the administration of his office, including introducing computerized files and what officials said was more efficient handling of thousands of financial disclosure reports filed by campaign committees, elected officials and high ranking employes of the District government.
However, one Barry administration official said this year that the office "needs to be moved to a higher level." Barry's aides said several months ago that the mayor wanted to appoint a lawyer to the post, someone who could handle the often politically sensitive details of campaign reporting. Vance is not a lawyer.
The Barry administration has interviewed a number of candidates for Vance's job, including Billy W. King, now counsel to Vance; Julia T. Brown, a lawyer who works for Deputy Mayor Carol B. Thompson; Charles Allen, a securities investigator for the D.C. Public Service Commission, and two other lawyers.