- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said residents can expect some changes in his Cabinet and a new focus on improving city services during his next four years.
Fresh from a re-election victory Tuesday, Mr. Williams would not provide details about changes in his administration, but said he plans to have his new Cabinet installed on Inauguration Day.
"You will see some adjustments over the next couple months, and we want to make some transitions in the administration," he said during his weekly news briefing.
Mr. Williams said he has heard enough complaints from residents to know that customer service "at the counter" needs improvement. The primary focus over the next four years, he said, will be to continue providing affordable housing in the city, increasing the Metropolitan Police Department's homicide-closure rate and creating more job opportunities for residents.
The mayor told The Washington Times on Tuesday that he still regrets being unable to transform the city's ailing school system, saying that special education is one problem he wants corrected in a hurry.
"We have to get our arms around the costs for special education first in the next four years," Mr. Williams said. "I also think we need to give as much support as possible to expand Superintendent Paul Vance's transformation initiative and develop better facilities for our charter schools."
The mayor said he will consider local-neighborhood management for schools as a viable solution. Such management would create associations of parents, teachers and civic and business leaders in neighborhoods that would make recommendations for improving their schools.
Some aspects of Mr. Williams' agenda for the District which also includes getting an adequate federal payment and congressional voting rights are beyond the Democratic mayor's control.
Noting that Republicans will now control the House, the Senate and the White House, he said getting voting-rights legislation and a favorable federal payment will be "a lot harder."
"We've spoken with President Bush and House Speaker [J.] Dennis Hastert, and they have already told us that it is not part of their agenda," he said yesterday.
The outcome of the election in Maryland's 8th Congressional District will also affect the city's future.
U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on the District, lost her re-election bid to Democratic challenger Christopher Van Hollen Jr. City and congressional leaders will be seeking a replacement for the eight-term Republican congresswoman on the subcommittee.
"I am happy for Chris Van Hollen, a man I've known for 20 years.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said it is too soon to say for whom she will lobby to replace Mrs. Morella on the subcommittee. She said she will meet and discuss the matter with Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, in the coming weeks.
Mr. Davis, as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is seen as being largely responsible for the Republican Party strenghtening its control of the House. He is also a former D.C. subcommittee chairman and could become chairman of the Government Reform Committee.


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