Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mayor Elect Gray Stuck in the Past

Many DC residents were hoping for new blood, a fresh start as the new Mayor gets ready to take office. However, as feared it looks like Mayor Elect gray is stuck in the past, selecting a couple former Mayor Barry staffers to lead vital city services on his transition team.

As a DC resident, am sad to see Fenty go. For all his faults, he moved the city forward not back.

The transition team that will develop the framework for Vincent Gray's mayorship includes a handful of members with links to the District's troubled 1990s and former Mayor Marion Barry's administrations.

Gray announced his 15-member team Wednesday afternoon, a day after officially winning the uncontested mayor's race. Transition team members, Gray said, will prepare concrete plans for how he'll handle education reform, economic development and government operations.

One of those is Thomas Downs, a former city administrator for Barry. Barry hired Downs -- who will co-chair Gray's infrastructure and transportation committee -- in 1981 to be transportation chief. Downs rose quickly and became Barry's chief lieutenant in 1983 after being credited for making the Transportation Department one of the city's best agencies. While serving as Barry's city administrator, Downs frequently played the role of spokesman for the mayor's troubled administration. In January 1987, it was Downs who defended the city's cleanup of a brutal snowstorm while Barry tried to make his way back from California, where the mayor had been watching the Super Bowl.

Joining Downs in leading the infrastructure committee is Cellerino Bernardino, who resigned as Department of Public Works chief in 1998 under an onslaught of criticism in the waning days of Barry's last administration. When he left, the city's inability to collect trash on time, maintain sidewalks and fix broken traffic lights had become nearly legendary.

Read more at www.washingtonexaminer.com
 

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