- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

D.C. mayoral candidates are considering dismantling Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ network of deputy mayors, which has exercised his authority over key city services and facilitated his frequent travels.

“With me, I am going to be more of a hands-on mayor,” said D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat. “If I had a strong city administrator and strong well-qualified agency heads, then the deputy mayors may become obsolete.”

Lobbyist Michael A. Brown said the Williams administration has “maybe a little too many” deputy mayors, adding that he would consider trimming the bureaucracy.

“I want folks to feel that there are not as many layers between me as a chief executive,” Mr. Brown said.

Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, and council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, said the next administration needs to evaluate and review the network of deputy mayors. Mr. Fenty went on to say he “would consider eliminating some, if needed.”

Mr. Williams implemented his deputy mayor system in December 1999, about 11 months after he had taken office. The four deputy mayors — who were to report to Mr. Williams, his chief of staff or the city administrator — were assigned to manage specific city agencies to improve efficiency and accountability.

Previous administrations had designated a deputy mayor for economic development.

According to the mayor’s organizational chart, City Administrator Robert C. Bobb, himself a deputy mayor, oversees:

• Herbert R. Tillery, deputy mayor for operations, who supervises the departments of Transportation, Motor Vehicles and Public Works, and the offices of Contracting and Procurement, Local Business Development, Personnel, Property Management, Human Rights and the Chief Technology Officer.

• Stanley Jackson, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, who oversees the Office of Planning, the Commission on Arts and Humanities, and the departments of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Employment Services, Housing and Community Development, and Insurance, Securities and Banking.

• Neil Albert, deputy mayor for children, youth, families and elders, who supervises the Office on Aging, the Child and Family Services Agency, the D.C. Public Library, and the departments of Health, Parks and Recreation, Mental Health, Human Services, and Youth Rehabilitation Services.

• Edward D. Reiskin, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, who oversees the Emergency Management Agency, the offices of Unified Communications and the Chief Medical Examiner, the fire and police departments, and the Department of Corrections, including the D.C. Jail.

Mr. Williams, who has said he will not seek a third term, relied on his deputies to make decisions during his tenure as president of the National League of Cities and his travels to promote the city. He also has relied on them to address criticisms during press conferences.

When he created the positions, Mr. Williams said he had observed how cities such as Chicago, New York, Phoenix, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta and Boston organized their governments to deliver services.

“The deputy mayor system will enable us to make lasting improvements to service delivery,” Mr. Williams said in 1999.

Boston and Atlanta no longer use deputy mayors.

According to the D.C. Office of Personnel, eliminating the four deputy mayor positions would save the city about a half-million dollars a year.

“All parts of the government could be tightened up, including the deputy mayor,” Mr. Fenty said.

He, Mrs. Cropp, Mr. Brown and Mr. Orange, and former Verizon executive Marie Johns are vying for next year’s Democratic mayoral nomination.

Mr. Orange and Mr. Fenty cited a need for a deputy mayor for planning and economic development, but Mrs. Cropp and Mr. Brown did not indicate whether they favor keeping that position. Mrs. Johns did not return a call seeking comment.

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