D.C. Mayor-Elect Sharon Pratt Dixon has asked outgoing Mayor Marion Barry's deputy mayor for finance, Robert Pohlman -- a key Barry aide struggling with the city's budget crisis -- to remain at his post for an indefinite period, she said yesterday.
Franklin D. Raines, a partner at the investment banking firm Lazard Freres Co. who heads her transition committee for financial management, also has agreed to advise her administration.
"I just think you can't beat that combination, given the seriousness of the situation and given the immediacy of the situation," Dixon said of the District's deficit, estimated by Raines to be as high as $300 million.
The mayor-elect said she will unveil a budget strategy next week that aims to avoid new taxes and cutbacks in critical services. She has said she hopes she can persuade Congress to increase its annual payment to the District, but added yesterday, "at present there is no suggestion that they are prepared to come forward."
Dixon said that Pohlman also will serve as acting deputy mayor for administration until John P. Bond, who last week was named city administrator, moves from North Carolina, where he is manager of Durham County.
Asking Pohlman to stay on is an abrupt change of course for Dixon, sources close to her said. Shortly after the election, one said, he was "definitely out" in her eyes. Supporters say he is being kept on board to provide useful "institutional memory." Skeptics also said that retaining Pohlman may be another sign of the difficulty Dixon has had recruiting staff to work for noncompetitive wages.
Raines, who said this week he has tired of his 11-year career advising troubled governments, plans to leave his firm. He said he will advise Dixon on an "informal basis," stressing he is not interested in working for the city.
At a news conference, the mayor-elect also announced nine new appointments.
John Payton, 44, will be corporation counsel, the chief legal officer for the city. He is a partner in the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering.
Lorraine A. Greene, 45, who is executive director of the D.C. lottery board, will be director of the Office of Personnel. Dixon called Greene, who rose from a DS 4 to a DS 18 during 20 years of work in the D.C. government, "a home girl" who through example "will do much to let our work force know that we're going to be there for them, and that the opportunities are boundless."
Cynthia Ann Brock-Smith, 41, an aide to Rep. Julian C. Dixon (D-Calif.), will run the office of intergovernmental relations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland.
Mimi Mager, 36, a national grass-roots coordinator for the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, will be deputy director for federal and congressional affairs. She graduated from American University's School of Government and Public Administration.
H. Sandra Fiske, 39, who heads the Federal Government Service Task Force, will be deputy director for regional affairs. In keeping with Dixon's directive that top aides live in the city, Fiske plans to move from McLean, Dixon aides said. She has degrees from American University and Antioch Law School.
Karen A. Tramontano, 33, a partner with a labor and immigration law firm, will direct the Office of Labor Relations.
Vada O'Hara Manager, 29, press secretary to Arizona Gov. Rose Mofford, will be Dixon's chief spokesman. He is a graduate of Arizona State University who studied at the London School of Economics.
Ernest P. Evans, 46, a specialist in government relations and public policy, will be a special assistant to the mayor for policy implementation. He graduated from the University of Maryland and studied small business management at Harvard University.
Virgil Thompson, 44, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 5, will direct constituent services for the mayor.