THOUGH IT DOESN'T erase the need for the investigations now under way, D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis finally has done something about the questionable roles that her longtime political adviser and companion Woodrow Boggs Jr. has been playing in some of her political dealings. She now says Mr. Boggs's activities on her behalf -- activities which never had any official government status anyway -- will be greatly diminished. "I think he should spend much more time developing his business so he can survive financially," she says; he should "develop political relationships with many elected officials." Given what has become known of Mr. Boggs's dealings with groups lobbying or doing business with the city, and of how Mrs. Jarvis directed some of them to meet with him on legislation that would be handled by her council committee, the relationship certainly should be changed. Mrs. Jarvis' observation that "perception is everything" suggests she may be on the way to a fuller understanding of the need.

Council Chairman David A. Clarke tried to make this very point on Wednesday, when he urged Mrs. Jarvis not to allow anyone who has a financial relationship with individuals or groups doing business with the council to represent her on issues involving them. Mr. Clarke's advice followed revelations that Citicorp had paid Mr. Boggs $28,200 in consulting fees after Mrs. Jarvis had directed various bank companies to meet with Mr. Boggs. That was not a good arrangement, particularly for those other bank representatives who didn't know they were consulting someone being paid by Citicorp. Mr. Boggs also was hired as a consultant by a real estate lobbying group five days after Mrs. Jarvis took the lead in pushing through legislation supported by the industry to revise the city's rent control law.

Mrs. Jarvis insists that the announced change in Mr. Boggs's activities is not in reaction to Mr. Clarke's advice, which the chairman gave after conferring with several council members. Instead, Mrs. Jarvis said she viewed his advice as a political act designed "to create a press story." She is either missing or ignoring the point: the "story" was there already -- one that should concern every taxpayer and anyone else doing business with the D.C. government. It's a story that continues to warrant better replies than those Mrs. Jarvis has offered so far.