- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Adrian M. Fenty, the Democratic nominee for D.C. mayor, yesterday met with Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey to discuss the future of the police force and later said he would “work very closely and collaboratively” with the chief.

“I think this is the first of many discussions over what I would consider a transition period,” Mr. Fenty, who represents Ward 4 on the D.C. Council, said after his half-hour meeting with Chief Ramsey. “Suffice it to say that Chief Ramsey and I are going to have to work very closely and collaboratively, even in the pre-transition period.”

Neither Mr. Fenty nor Chief Ramsey would divulge what was said during the private one-on-one meeting in the council member’s office.

Mr. Fenty, who has been a frequent critic of the chief, said they did not discuss whether Chief Ramsey would stay in his position if Mr. Fenty wins the November general election.

“I don’t think the chief needs to audition. I think if you served the people of the District of Columbia as long as he has — and I’ve been on the council — this is not an audition,” he said.

“But I’m the Democratic nominee … and Chief Ramsey is the chief of police,” Mr. Fenty said. “I think it would be irresponsible for us not to meet and figure out how we can improve community policing, and I think the mayor has a major role in that.”

Chief Ramsey said that he would like to stay on as head of the police department.

“I could work for anybody,” the chief said. “But that’s a decision that the mayor has got to make.

“I do believe that once everything is finished, that he will start to shape his Cabinet in a manner that is consistent with what he wants to do, and that includes public safety,” he said.

Mr. Fenty has sought to alter the police department’s deployment of officers and has said that he likely would fire the chief if he were elected mayor.

But after last week’s primary election, Mr. Fenty said that he likely would keep Chief Ramsey if the chief agrees to increase community policing and the number of officers on the streets.

Because about 74 percent of D.C. voters are registered Democrats, Mr. Fenty is practically assured of victory in the Nov. 7 general election.

Mr. Fenty yesterday also met with public schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey and the 11-member school board.

The council member has said that as mayor, he would seek to take over the school system and appoint a deputy mayor for education.

Yesterday, Mr. Fenty said his meeting solidified in his mind the need for the mayor to take direct control of the schools.

“You come away from meeting with the board thinking the structure doesn’t promote accountability because you’ve got nine or 10 people in the room and … under the current structure, there’s not the sense of urgency that you get when you talk to parents about it,” Mr. Fenty said. “I think there’s a lot in the structure.”

Mr. Fenty said that having a deputy mayor and the mayor in control of the schools would help cut red tape and implement improvements faster.

“I just get the feeling that if I was talking to one person and said, ‘Look at this school’ … they’d say ‘You’re right, we need to do something about this immediately,’” he said.

Mr. Fenty also met with members of Congress and the Lerner family, owners of the Washington Nationals baseball team.



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