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District Parks Director Let Go

Update, 2:20 p.m.: Clark Ray says he had "no idea" about his impending dismissal as director of Parks and Recreation. "But that's what I signed up for," he said. "I've been around politics to know what at will means."

Update, 1:07 p.m.: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) announced today that Ximena Hartsock, former principal of Ross Elementary, will replace Clark E. Ray as director of Parks and Recreation.

Original post, 10:43 a.m.: Clark E. Ray, the director of the District Department of Parks and Recreation, was let go by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) last night. Fenty is scheduled to announce a new director in less than hour.

Ray is a visible gay member of the mayor's cabinet, and gay political activist Peter Rosenstein said Ray's departure will be a significant loss for parks and recreation and the gay, lesbian and transgendered community.

"I am greatly disappointed that the mayor would let Clark Ray go," Rosenstein said.

Ray made dog parks a priority of his tenure and also extended hours at recreation centers.

Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), who heads a committee that oversees parks and recreation, said he believed Ray was doing an adequate job. "He was very responsive to the citizens," Thomas said. "I would not have made the recommendation that he be replaced."

Ray was recently involved in controversy at the department.

A former manager in the department recently sued the city for wrongful dismissal, claiming he was fired for questioning whether the mayor's 9-year-old twin sons were playing in a basketball league for 6 to 8-year-olds.

In the lawsuit, Michael Williams said Ray told him he was being fired for "budgetary reasons." Williams said he had already told Ray earlier about concerns of other parents that the Fenty twins were too old for the league.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  April 20, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
 
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Next: Update: Former Principal To Head Parks

Comments

The Fenty Administration will go down in history as the District's greatest Cluster-F.

Clark Ray clearly must have demonstrated to the Mayor that he has his own mind and that he serves at the pleasure of a Mayor and not a monarch.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

There are many good men and women directing our various District agencies. (DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee is not one of them.) I will not call them out here because I would not want them to become the next firings for Mayor Adrian Fenty. It is unfortunate they serve at the pleasure of someone who is clearly out of his element.

Robert Vinson Brannum
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | April 20, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Which one of Fenty's unqualified friends or family members will become the new dept director?

Posted by: logosdesigns | April 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

On the same day (today – 20 April 2009) Mayor Fenty issues a press release for the opening of the Chevy Chase Baseball Diamond with a quote from Mr. Clark E. Ray as Director of DC Department of Parks and Recreation, Mr. Ray is removed. However, Mr. Ray was reportedly removed last night (19 April 2009) by Mayor Fenty. Talk about timing.

Robert Vinson Brannum
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | April 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I am sad to hear of Ray's departure. I found him to be responsive to constituents neends-- he returned all my emails--promptly! with a solution to my concerns.

Posted by: quandermom | April 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Well of course he's going to fire Ray. That'll help to ward off some of the liability in that $5 million dollar lawsuit. Besides, firing people is what gives Fenty his kicks.

Posted by: starclimber9 | April 20, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's sons were accused of playing with kids younger than themselves? Hilarious!

Posted by: forgetthis | April 20, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

another disaster waiting to happen.

Posted by: creamit20 | April 20, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The Fenty Administration will go down in history as the District's greatest Cluster-F.

Clark Ray clearly must have demonstrated to the Mayor that he has his own mind and that he serves at the pleasure of a Mayor and not a monarch.


Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 20, 2009 11:25 AM


___________________________________________

I disagree with you almost entirely. He will go down as the only black mayor in the history of the united states to screw over minority people and the poor whilk handing the city over to the powerful and elite. At least Bloomberg would take you out to dinner first..

Posted by: knjon353 | April 20, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Hartstock is dedicated and capable. She will be an asset to the position and the school system will miss her.

Posted by: Judeheyjude | April 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow!! What next?

Posted by: julien2 | April 20, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Fenty has made it clear that he's running the city and he doesn't need concurrence from the council.

This eve on NBC4, in response to mounting public criticism of his performance he advised the media that he has answered the questions that are asked of him, and they can write what they want. Additionally, the people can decide at the polls if they want him out.

Okay voters, on 3..."H_11 NO! FENTY MUST GO!!

Posted by: logosdesigns | April 20, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

As if I needed it, another reason to vote against Fenty.

Posted by: DCCharles | April 20, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

LMBO!!!! So right after Fenty gets embarressed by one of Rays employees... Ray is ordered to fire said employee and then Ray get's fired. Don't you know that Ray will only help Mike more now that you fired Ray right after you made him fire Mike? Duh?!?!?!

NOWS THE TIME... Ray and Mike, you two need to have a talk. Lol Harry "Tommy" Thomas.... set it up!

Posted by: my2centsis | April 20, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

You will not serve a second term, you have disppointed a lot of people.
Too bad , We the citizen's thought that you would be the best thing next to Marion Barry

Posted by: onesugar1 | April 20, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Fenty head fakes black people on or off the basketball court. How, could you'll been so dumb to elect this beeotch for mayor of DC.
Well, we were dumb too for electing Jack Johnson for County Executive in PEE GEE CEE.
Fenty has to be worse than Sharon Pratt Kelly and Kwame Kilpatrick and Rod Blagovoich combined. Dirt and scum belongs to Fenty all by himself, I am just lost for words on this dooche bag.

Posted by: truthbeebold | April 20, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

She is a total screwball, trust me, I know. This is a sad day, when no amount of experience, intelligence, or even just plain common sense will land your a high position in city government. I charge you, the CITIZENS of DC to make a stand and vote Fenty out next election. But, until you do, I might just apply for a job in DC Goverenment, I may wind up being the next director of another agency whose head dipleases his majesty.

Posted by: rcwynn01 | April 20, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Fenty,I hope you are reading these comments. DC citizens are so over you...we want a leader and someone who we can respect!

Posted by: DCWatcher3 | April 20, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I have the utmost respect for any agency head who would walk away from this domestic sociopath posturing as a Mayor as opposed to bowing down to his inhumane and immature antics.

Walk away and provide the ammunition to impeach this Mayor once and for all.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 21, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I heard one of the reasons Fenty fired Clark was due to his vocal disapproval of the Ax Man's proposal to fire 250 of his employees. I was told Clark wanted a more compassionate and humane solution to the budget crisis and wanted a furlough, not the firing of his employees. Fenty, who seems not to equate DC government workers with prospective voters in 2010, said HELL NO—let my SUBJECTS eat cake!

Posted by: dcnatives | April 21, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I heard one of the reasons Fenty fired Clark was due to his vocal disapproval of the Ax Man's proposal to fire 250 of his employees. I was told Clark wanted a more compassionate and humane solution to the budget crisis and wanted a furlough, not the firing of his employees. Fenty, who seems not to equate DC government workers with prospective voters in 2010, said HELL NO—let my SUBJECTS eat cake!
___________________________________________

You are right on point. That is exactly the case. Fenty explicitly has stated that he wanted a reduction in every agencies budget across the board by 15%. The expressed subscript to that charge is that he wants that to include human bodies. Clark Ray was able to propose a 15% reduction in his budget without the sacrifice of people. He met the Mayor's charge, except for the "bodies".

What very few in the District know is that the Mayor not only wanted bodies, he has even submitted specific NAMES of people in each agency that he wants fired under the guise of Reduction in Force. He has not left the decision up to the agency head (His appointed Cabinet Member) who is responsible for ensuring that the agency is able to carry out their function.

This RIF is very personal, very unprofessional and will not survive a future legal challenge that will see the District reinstating hundreds of employees due to the Mayor's failure to follow explicit code procedures, designed to curtain managerial abuse, for reducing the workforce.

More, the Mayor has indicated that he has reduced his own office's (Executive Office of the Mayor) workforce by this same 15%. Again, what most District residents don't know is that he only moved those people off if HIS payrool and onto the payroll of other District agencies and shields those placements from those agency reductions. In short, they occupy offices in other agencies, take home a paycheck every two weeks, and, effectively serve no functional purpose in those agencies.

If you care to do some research, start with those who carry a title of "special assistant to..." in government agencies. If they have been there less than 6 months, it is more than likely they have been transfered by the EOM.

This government is full of agency heads that fear their own shadows. The fear the same fate of Clark if they shed an ounce of humanity or try and manage their own agency.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 22, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

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