- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 3, 2006

Heads are likely to roll once Adrian M. Fenty takes over as mayor of the District on Jan. 2, but his predecessor is hoping he spares at least one.

During Anthony A. Williams’ weekly news briefing Wednesday, the analogy-loving outgoing mayor said Mr. Fenty should hold on to schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey, and he employed a number of morbid metaphors when discussing Mr. Janey’s fate.

“We shouldn’t just pull the plug or drop the guillotine,” Mr. Williams said. “Give the man a chance to build momentum.”

The mayor’s support for Mr. Janey came at a crucial time for the superintendent.

On Monday, Mr. Janey gave his first-ever State of the Schools speech and pointed out progress that has been made in the city’s struggling school system since he took office two years ago.

The speech was seen in some circles as an attempt to save his job, since Mr. Fenty has suggested he will place the school system under his office’s control and has not specifically said if he will retain Mr. Janey.

Mr. Williams said firing Mr. Janey — who was hired in August 2004 after serving as superintendent in Rochester, N.Y. — would only cause a massive delay in the new mayor’s proposed plans for progress in the school system.

“The last thing you want to do is have another year-and-a-half search for a superintendent,” Mr. Williams said.

Speaking of education, Mr. Fenty so far has dipped heavily into the familiar pool of the D.C. Board of Education when making his political appointments.

On Wednesday, the mayor-elect and current Ward 4 representative on the D.C. Council announced that school board member JoAnne Ginsberg will serve as his director of policy and legislative affairs.

Mrs. Ginsberg — who will advise the mayor and his Cabinet and act as a liaison between Mr. Fenty and the council — was appointed to the board by Mr. Williams last year and is the second board member Mr. Fenty has handpicked to join his political team.

Last month, Mr. Fenty named Victor Reinoso, who represents Wards 3 and 4 on the board, as his deputy mayor for education.

But Mr. Fenty’s familiarity with his appointments doesn’t stop there. Also Wednesday, he named Stephanie Scott as secretary of the District of Columbia. Ms. Scott was Mr. Fenty’s Ward 4 chief of staff and campaign chief of staff.

Ms. Scott, who also has served as treasurer of Mr. Fenty’s Ward 4 Constituent Services Fund, will be responsible for authenticating official D.C. documents and managing archival records.

Other appointments with previous ties to Mr. Fenty include police chief nominee Cmdr. Cathy Lanier — former police commander in the 4th District, which includes much of Ward 4 — and general counsel Peter J. Nickles, a corporate lawyer and longtime friend of the Fenty family.

• Who are you?

Even the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) couldn’t get a break from the Department of Motor Vehicles’ rules on issuing new driver’s licenses.

VDOT Commissioner David S. Ekern visited a DMV office last month to get his license, but lacked documents to prove he is a legal resident of Virginia.

Mr. Ekern was Idaho’s transportation director for three years before his Virginia appointment in September.

Mr. Ekern went home, found the proper paperwork and headed back to stand in line again.

His wife, a licensed Virginia driver, managed to get approved on her first try. “My wife is obviously a much better negotiator than I am,” he told legislators at a committee meeting last Monday.

There were no hard feelings because of the snub.

“He was amused about it and proud that DMV workers were doing their jobs,” said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for VDOT.

• The Bickersons

Squabbling among city officials in the Cecil County, Md., town of Chesapeake City could harm the town, a government advisory group says.

The Maryland Municipal League told Town Council members and the mayor during a training course Tuesday that the bickering must stop.

“You don’t have to like each other, but if you leave personalities out of the equation, you can find elements that you all agree upon,” said Linda Burrell, manager of member relations and education for the statewide association of municipalities.

The league routinely trains local officials in conflict resolution, but the Chesapeake City training took on additional importance after reports surfaces about conflicts among council members.

Cecilton Mayor John Bunnell, vice president for the Municipal League district representing Cecil and Harford counties, said the reports of bickering led to the meeting.

“This is something we normally do for training,” Mr. Bunnell told the Cecil Whig newspaper, “but we were spurred by recent events to schedule this as soon as possible.”

With Chesapeake City facing growth, council members need to work toward compromises, Miss Burrell said.

“Differences of opinion are very healthy,” she said. “It’s not the differences, but the way we handle them, that could be very damaging.”

• Hail to new chiefs

U.S. Sen.-elect James H. Webb Jr. last week named an aide to former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner as his chief of staff.

Paul J. Reagan, 46, served as Mr. Warner’s communications director after 19 years in Washington, where he worked under different members of Virginia’s congressional delegation.

“The relationships he has built over his long career will serve me well as we work to expand economic opportunity and make government more responsive to the people,” said Mr. Webb, a Democrat.

Mr. Reagan, a Norfolk native, currently serves as a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, the law firm’s public-affairs arm.

He is a 1982 graduate of the College of William & Mary and a 1991 graduate of the George Mason University School of Law.

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley last week announced the appointments of two deputy chiefs of staff, who will oversee state agencies.

Peggy J. Watson and Matthew D. Gallagher will report to Michael Enright, who was appointed by Mr. O’Malley to be chief of staff.

Under Mr. O’Malley’s administration as Baltimore’s mayor, Miss Watson was the city’s finance director from 2000 through 2005. She served as deputy director of finance under former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

Mr. Gallagher worked as executive director for Baltimore’s CitiStat program, a computerized system created to make city agencies more accountable. Mr. O’Malley has said he plans to bring CitiStat management strategies to state government.

• Gary Emerling contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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