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What's Next for Tene Dolphin?

tene 003.jpg
Dolphin and her boss in August on the day he moved her to the employment agency.

Now that Mayor Fenty has hired Joseph Walsh as his new director of the Department of Employment Services, speculation has begun as to the future of Tene Dolphin. She is mayor's former chief of staff who was dispatched in August to bolster the employment agency after the summer jobs meltdown.

Fenty said he sent Dolphin, 36, to clean up the mess left by Summer Spencer, the former employment agency director who resigned under pressure. Yet on the same day, the mayor elevated former communications director Carrie Brooks to the chief of staff job. Dolphin was soft-spoken and a behind-the-scenes force who rarely dealt with the media or public, while Brooks has been outfront as spokeswoman for 1 1/2 years.

Fenty is said to value Brooks' cheerful-but-firm management style. As one administration official said: "Carrie is good at getting people to do their jobs without being a [expletive] about it." Truth is, though, Brooks can be tough. As communications director, she held a tight grip over the several dozen agency spokespeople and tangled with those who stepped out of line, including the office of former Attorney General Linda Singer, which sent out news releases without the mayor's approval.

Dolphin was said not to be terribly eager about the temporary assignment at the employment agency, and her future is now unclear. She will stay until Walsh gets comfortable, mayoral aides said, but after that no one is saying where she'll end up. One administration official speculated the Dolphin, who has worked with the Democratic National Committee, might be angling for a job in an Obama administration.

Last night, Dolphin released a statement to D.C. Wire saying: "Right now, I'm focused on ensuring that the new director has a smooth transition into the Department. Since I've been Interim Director, we've worked tirelessly with staff so that DOES programs run effectively. I'm excited to work with Joseph and introduce him to all aspects of the District's Department of Employment Services."

Dolphin has been with Fenty since his mayoral campaign, then running the day-to-day campaign activities. According to a biography released by the mayor's office, she had previously worked as director of administration and operations at Westin Rinehart, a strategic communications consulting firm, and as business manager for Washington-based trade association Vinyl Siding Institute.

But Dolphin came to Fenty's attention through her work as director of special projects for the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 presidential campaign. She was responsible for organizing travel for members of the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign and conducting training on campaign procedures.

Life inside the mayor's office hasn't been kind to some of Fenty's top campaign aides. Former spokesman Alec Evans was fired after Fenty won the primary and former aide Neil Richardson lasted only a year as deputy chief of staff before being demoted by Fenty and resigning. Conversely, campaign aide John Falcicchio has thrived, operating as Fenty's senior political consultant and already gearing up fundraising for the mayor's 2010 re-election bid.

By David A Nakamura  |  November 7, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

RE: "Dolphin was said not to be terribly eager about the temporary assignment at the employment agency, and her future is now unclear."

Why doesn't the Post do its homework? Dolphin took the DOES position because Fenty told her to find another job and get out of his office. At the time, she didn't have any other choice if she wanted a job. She sure did something to piss off the Mayor. And as everyone knows, if you piss off the Mayor, there is no going back as he will always consider you his enemy henceforth.

Posted by: heatherhopeindc | November 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Fenty said he sent Dolphin, 36, to clean up the mess left by Summer Spencer, the former employment agency director who resigned under pressure.
_____________________________________________

David "Fenty Hack" Nakamura, you really need to stop saying this about Summer Spencer. I may be giving you more credit than you deserve, but it has been well reported that Summer Spencer was ordered by her boss, Adrian M. Fenty, to hire every child that applied for a summer job, no matter what. HE removed all of the parameters and protective measures put in place to ensure that the program was fully funded.

There was a mess created at DOES, but it was not CREATED by Summers, it was CREATED by Adrian M. Fenty.

You are without question, the poorest reporter that the Post has ever rolled out. I say that with earnest sincerity.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 7, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

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