- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Adrian M. Fenty yesterday backed off a campaign promise that he likely would fire Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles H. Ramsey if elected mayor.

A day after winning the Democratic primary, Mr. Fenty said he met with the chief in the morning about working together and that the conversation had opened the way for further discussions.

“My goal is to have the best community police department in the country, and if Ramsey wants to help us get there, he can,” said Mr. Fenty, 35. “Chief Ramsey and I had a great talk. We will be meeting Friday or maybe Monday. Basically it’s sitting down, talking about some issues … whether or not he wants to be the lead in making it happen.”

Mr. Fenty was a critic of Chief Ramsey during the campaign, saying he had not put enough officers on foot patrol to stop the crime wave this past summer and the city’s overall crime problems.

Despite the conversation, Mr. Fenty said Chief Ramsey’s departure is still possible.

“It’s premature to say whether or not he’s the one that can take us to the next level,” Mr. Fenty said. “He’s been here awhile. Sometimes you need a new set of eyes, someone new to look at the problem, to build on the progress that’s been made.”

However, he was steadfast yesterday about dismissing D.C. Fire Department Chief Adrian H. Thompson.

Mr. Fenty called for his resignation early in the summer after newspaper reporter David Rosenbaum was severely beaten near his home in Northwest and died after several mistakes by fire department and emergency medical services responders.

“The fire department needs a new chief; there’s no question about it,” Mr. Fenty said. “The whole system is broken, from fire to EMS. I think it’s time to be changed, and I’ve said that publicly. I think it’s time for a new level of engagement and management in the fire department.”

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday that he was not surprised by Mr. Fenty’s victory and that he will work hard to make a smooth transition for the new administration. Mr. Williams had endorsed council Chairman Linda W. Cropp for mayor.

“Empirically, I’m not really surprised because all the indications were leading to the conclusion we saw,” he said. “But certainly emotionally and subjectively I’m surprised because you work for a candidate, you believe in that candidate, you vote for the candidate, and I believed in Linda Cropp. …But I’m behind Adrian Fenty now, and I will do everything I can to make him a great mayor. I’m at his disposal now.”

Because a high percentage of D.C. voters are registered Democrats, the candidate who wins the primary will most likely win the general election.

Final results show Mr. Fenty with 57 percent and Mrs. Cropp with 31 percent of the votes. Vincent B. Orange Sr. and Marie C. Johns split the remaining votes.

Mr. Fenty said he will wait until after the general election to form an official transition team. Until then, he said, he will develop and operate what he called a “pre-transition team.”

City Administrator Robert C. Bobb, who is running for school board president, said Mr. Fenty should focus his transition on taking a hard, yet cautious look at city personnel.

“There are individuals that are in the current administration who should not continue in the new administration,” he said. “There would be some trouble with the administration going forward because there are some individuals, who by their personality want to be involved but by the basis of their performance should not be involved.”

Mr. Fenty said he will be carefully monitoring D.C. employees.

“People who don’t want to get the job done, they will be held accountable,” he said. “People are on a short leash and being watched closely.”

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