- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In the first major personnel moves since his election, D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray announced on Wednesday two top nominees who he said will “serve as the cornerstone” of his administration.

Both incoming City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, who oversaw the development and construction of two of the city’s largest public-private development projects, and Gerri Mason Hall, a former Clinton administration official who will be Mr. Gray’s chief of staff, have already held posts in the city government.

In another major personnel move, outgoing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s high-profile transportation chief, Gabe Klein, confirmed in a press conference Wednesday that he would be leaving his post.

The names of other nominees could come as soon as tomorrow, said Mr. Gray, who has taken some criticism for the pace of his transition effort. Some city watchers had hoped Mr. Klein and other Fenty Cabinet members might keep their jobs, but Mr. Gray said weeks ago that he expected top Fenty administration officials to follow traditional protocol and step down.

Mr. Lew, who was applauded when his name was announced Wednesday, has a reputation for running a tight ship.

“Get it done or move out the way,” is how a longtime acquaintance characterized Mr. Lew’s management style.

Mr. Lew himself joked, “Charm is my most effective tool.”

Mr. Gray described Mr. Lew as a “visionary and doer.” The new city administrator will oversee the city’s capital-spending program at a time of deep fiscal problems.

Mr. Lew, who oversaw Mr. Fenty’s program to rehabilitate the city’s aging inventory of schools as director of the Office of Public Education Facilities and Maintenance, formerly served as chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, where he oversaw the $611 million construction of the Nationals Park baseball stadium in Southeast. He also ran the Washington Convention Center Authority from 1996 to 2004, overseeing the construction of the $850 million convention center.

Currently making an estimated $275,000 annually, Mr. Lew will be among the city’s highest-paid employees, managing the daily operations of the $5.2 billion, 35,000-employee D.C. government, which Mr. Gray said must be pared down.

“I like lean operations. I like efficient operations. I like thin bureaucracies,” said Mr. Lew.

Said Mr. Gray, “The city administrator must ensure the efficient and effective delivery of city services and oversee the day-to-day operations of executive branch agencies. I see all of these skills and abilities in Mr. Lew.”

Mr. Gray and Ms. Hall, whose background is in personnel management, have known each other for years.

A Vassar alumna and senior vice president for human resources at Sodexo International, Ms. Hall is an expert in diversity strategies who previously worked at Amtrak, served as acting head of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and held top personnel posts with the federal and D.C. governments.

She also is active with the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Links Inc., a professional and cultural organization.

Mr. Klein attracted widespread attention as head of the city’s Department of Transportation with initiatives on biking, streetcars and new bus services. Another high-profile Fenty appointee, D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, resigned last month.



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