D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday announced the resignation of Chief of Staff Kelvin J. Robinson, who is the target of a federal investigation into whether he violated the Hatch Act by asking city employees to contribute to the mayor’s 2002 re-election campaign.
Mr. Robinson said he was quitting to take a private-sector job as president and chief executive officer of EmergeDC, a business and government relations firm with offices in the District and headquarters in his home state of Florida.
His resignation takes effect Aug. 1.
Mr. Williams yesterday named Alfreda Davis, the deputy chief of staff for community affairs, as his new chief of staff.
Mr. Robinson said the timing of his departure is not linked to the investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and did not express concern about the outcome.
“Quite frankly, that is the least of my concerns. It had no impact on my decision,” he said at the mayor’s weekly press briefing, where the resignation was announced.
“They’re going to do what they’re going to do, when they’re going to do it,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the special counsel said she would not comment on ongoing investigations and would not give a time frame for the completion of the probe.
Most members of the D.C. Council declined to comment about Mr. Robinson’s possible motives for the resignation, but some commended him for a job well done as chief of staff.
“I appreciate Kelvin’s contribution,” said D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat. He said any employment decisions related to administration’s staff were solely the mayor’s domain.
“I have no reason to believe [the resignation] has to do with the Hatch Act, and I have no reason to believe it doesn’t have to do with it,” he said.
Mr. Robinson could have been removed from his post if found guilty of violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits local and state government employees from coercing political contributions from subordinates.
The District still may have to forfeit federal grant dollars equal to two years of Mr. Robinson’s salary. According to the D.C. Office of Personnel, Mr. Robinson earned $132,395 a year.
Before becoming Mr. Williams’ chief of staff, Mr. Robinson quit his job as legislative affairs director for the Florida League of Cities while under investigation for giving an unauthorized gift to an assistant.
At yesterday’s press briefing, the mayor said Mr. Robinson had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in advancing the District’s national, federal and regional agenda, and had helped secure a record level of federal grant funding.
“He is an effective and tenacious leader within the administration in pressing loyally for my priorities,” Mr. Williams said. “I wish him well in his new role in the private sector. We will miss him.”
Mr. Robinson, who had held the post for three years, is the fifth chief of staff to quit during Mr. Williams’ six years in office.
“We’ve done a great deal of work in such a short period of time,” Mr. Robinson said.
He praised Mr. Williams, the D.C. Council, Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi and city staff for making his tenure productive. He said Mr. Williams’ “great leadership had shepherded an outstanding renaissance that has occurred in this city.”
Isaac Wolf and Matthew Cella contributed to this report.