When Mayor Barry announced his selection of Carol B. Thompson as the new city administrator at the Dec. 18 press conference, the mood was decidedly upbeat and positive. The mayor's choice of Miss Thompson, who is widely recognized as a sharp administrator and no-nonsense manager, was taken by those around him as a clear signal of his intention to move through the new year with renewed decisiveness, focus and direction.

To read The Post's account of the press conference and reactions of "some aides" {Metro, Dec. 19}, one would get the impression that the decision as well as the tasks ahead are unwelcome and untoward. The Post's story was a negative, biased report of an encouraging, positive event.

If the story failed to capture the spirit of the moment, the headline predicting "fights" as a result of Miss Thompson's appointment seemed to come out of nowhere. Even with its negative portrayal, the story neither suggested nor warranted such a headline, and nothing the "aides" were quoted as saying could have led the headline writer to the bold conclusion he served up.

Is it asking too much to request fair, accurate coverage of city activities? And while we're asking, how about headlines that tell the story rather than express The Post's vision of the future? JOHN C. WHITE Press Secretary, Office of the Mayor MARY J. LAYTON Director, Office of Communications Washington