Mayor-elect Marion Barry, who has yet to announce formally a single city appointment, said yesterday that he is having a rough time recruiting top aides because the D.C. government has a bad reputation.
"Between now and the first of January, I have to make about a hundred personnel decisions," Barry told Sunday worshippers at the downtown New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. "But the (city) government has been viewed so negatively by people that people say to me when they are interviewed, 'I'm not sure if I want to take on that burden."
Barry has said he intends to fill at least four key posts-housing director, corporation counsel, city administrator and budget director-before he assumes office just over two weeks from now.
Barry's remarks yesterday followed his consistent post-election theme- the size of the challenge awaiting him as the city's next major.
Barry reminded listeners that the city has the highest infant mortality rate and the highest incidence of veneral disease of any major city in the country. And 60 percent of the District's 18-to-25-year-olds are unemployed, he said. "You and i both know that if they don't make it they're going to take it," Barry said.
"Things are not all right in Washington, D.C.," said Barry.
Criticizing the way some city employes deal with the public, particularly over the telephone, Barry vowed that people who call city agencies in the future will get "a courteous voice on the other end of the line."
He even drew a loose analogy between poorly motivated D.C. government employes and prostitutes and drug peddlers - all examples, he said, of people who are "making a living" but "not making a life."
Repeating a number of familiar campaign and post-campaign promises Barry said he wold see to it that vacant, boarded-up houses owned by the city are sold and occupied, that the public schools produce graduates who can do more than "barely spell their names" and that the downtown area east of 15t Street becomes a "living downtown."
Barry said he hopes to see more apartment buildings, shops, restaurants, movie theaters and commercial malls in downtown Washington, "and not a lot of office buildings that at 9 o'clock they open up and at 6:30 they close and everything is shut up and barren.
"If in four years, we still have as many boarded-up houses, I will have failed," Barry concluded.