D.C. Mayor Marion Barry said yesterday that he is unperturbed by harsh public criticism from his senior financial adviser about Barry's decision to rescind scheduled furloughs for 21,000 District government employees.
"He can speak out on it, it doesn't bother me," Barry said, referring to the statements made Friday by Robert Pohlman, the city's deputy mayor for finance. Pohlman spoke shortly after Barry signed legislation that would require 90 days' notice before a furlough could go into effect. The move effectively canceled Barry's furlough plan, which would have required employees to take four days of unpaid leave in August or September.
Pohlman, who with other Cabinet members had advocated the furloughs as a cost-cutting measure, said the city "will die" if District officials and the federal government do not act to solve the city's financial crisis. Financial advisers had calculated that the furloughs would have saved $4 million.
Barry, appearing at a picnic yesterday hosted by D.C. Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7), said Pohlman had told him ahead of time that he would speak out against the mayor's decision.
"It would be different if he had not told me privately what he had to say publicly," Barry said. "Bob was exactly right -- we do have a serious financial problem."
At the picnic, Crawford announced his endorsements in this year's political races. He backed John Ray for mayor, and Linda Cropp and Jim Harvey for at-large seats on the council. He also urged his supporters to back Betty Ann Kane or Eleanor Holmes Norton for D.C. delegate to Congress.
Barry said he believes that Ray is the front-runner in the mayor's race, but he urged Ray to repudiate an endorsement scheduled from Regardie's magazine, which has frequently criticized Barry.
"Regardie's stands for everything we don't stand for," Barry said. "He should repudiate it. Take that endorsement and shove it."