Council member Kevin P. Chavous (D-Ward 7) has a new gig.

Chavous has been named vice president of legislative affairs for Covad Communications, a California company that is aggressively trying to expand its share of the market for high-speed Internet service.

The three-year-old company is headed by Robert E. Knowling, who played basketball with Chavous at Wabash College in Indiana.

Chavous will work in Covad's Washington office and will be a lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Knowling said in a statement that Chavous's "legal and legislative expertise and knowledge of the Washington, D.C., landscape makes him a strong part of our team."

Covad, based in Santa Clara, Calif., provides broad-band access using digital subscriber lines to households and small- and medium-sized companies throughout the country. The company's services are available in the nation's top 56 metropolitan areas; Covad plans to expand to the top 100 by the end of 2000.

It was just about a year ago that Chavous, 43, joined the prestigious law firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn. Chavous said he brought Covad to the firm as a client.

Chavous called the move an exciting opportunity to "help me bring together a lot of my public-private educational initiatives, particularly in inner cities around the country. Covad is committed to making sure that children throughout the country have access to technology. That's one of the main reasons I joined them."

Covad wired the Children's Hospital annex on Good Hope Road SE and, Chavous said, he plans to get the firm more involved in helping D.C. schools get wired for the Internet.

He also sees perhaps fewer conflicts of interest with this job than with his former law firm. Because Arent, Fox has done bond work in the District and has represented developers in matters before the D.C. Council, Chavous has had to recuse himself from several votes.

Asked whether Covad is one of the communications companies responsible for having dug up city streets over the last several months, Chavous quickly went into lobbyist mode. "No, they're not the ones," he said. "They're using existing lines, so they're not involved in tearing up the streets."

Williams Creates Harmony in NW The D.C. Council may have been beating up on the mayor last week over how to pay for bonuses for unionized city workers, but they were loving Anthony A. Williams (D) in Northwest's Palisades and Foxhall neighborhoods.

The mayor is being praised by many residents there for hiring a mediator to referee a dispute between George Washington University and residents who live near the school's Mount Vernon women's campus. The mediator helped the residents win important protections on noise, traffic, tree loss and student enrollment as the Mount Vernon campus undergoes a 10-year renovation.

At a ceremony at which the mayor announced the agreement between the school and neighbors, GWU President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg was sporting a bow tie, which he said he was wearing in the mayor's honor.

Bob Elliott, the residents' attorney--who helped stop the Walt Disney Co. from building a theme park in Prince William County in 1994--had nothing but praise for the mayor at a ceremony on campus. "It's a feather in his cap," Elliott said, because it stopped a probable lawsuit against the city.

Resident Steve McClain, who a few months ago expressed a lack of faith in D.C. government, said he was "glad to live in Washington, D.C., these days. It's a different city with the new mayor."