- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2010

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has resigned, Attorney General Peter Nickles says he will resign, and Fire and EMS Chief Dennis L. Rubin has reportedly filled his office with packing boxes in case he’s asked to resign.

So what of lame-duck Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s other highest profile appointee: Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier? Business as usual until someone says otherwise.

“I’m still the chief right now and I’ve got to continue what I’ve got to do and not be distracted by that,” Chief Lanier told The Washington Times on Thursday when asked about her status.

The police chief’s ongoing tenure has been in question since Mr. Fenty lost his re-election bid to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray in the District’s Democratic mayoral primary last month.

But unlike the other high-profile appointees closely associated with Mr. Fenty, Chief Lanier isn’t eyeing the exits yet. She said her job brings her into regular contact with Mr. Gray and that the two have spoken since the primary - just not about “that.”

“We have regular conversations,” she said, “but I don’t say, ‘Hey, man. You gonna keep me?’ “

Chief Lanier describes Mr. Gray as “a nice guy,” adding that the two “get along,” and there seems to be little of the public acrimony that marked the chairman’s relationship with some other Fenty appointees.

Mr. Gray, who repeatedly declined to say while campaigning whether he would keep Chief Lanier if elected, may find the chief a tough act to follow.

In a pre-election poll in August by Clarus Research Group, Chief Lanier scored a job approval rating of 80 percent - by far the highest of any city official, leading Clarus’ Ron Faucheux to call her the “undisputed champ of D.C. government.”

And homicides - perhaps the most important measure of crime in a city once dubbed the “murder capital” of the United States - have continued to plummet.

From 181 killings in her first year as chief, homicides dropped to 143 last year - the lowest number in Washington since 1964. The number this year stood at 101 as of Thursday - seven fewer homicides than last year and on a pace for 135.

Mr. Gray, however, may also be feeling pressure from his supporters. The police union, which endorsed him in large part because of its members’ dissatisfaction with Chief Lanier, has been a persistent and vocal critic of the police chief.

It will likely be at least a few more weeks before anyone, including Chief Lanier, knows her future.

“Chairman Gray won’t announce the members of his Cabinet until after the election,” Gray campaign spokeswoman Traci Hughes said.

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