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Posted at 3:39 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Fenty praises Gray for city administrator pick

By Mike DeBonis

How do you know when a new regime is soon to be upon us? Perhaps when a mayoral news conference starts without the mayor.

This morning, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty scheduled a gathering to unveil plans for the rehabilitation of Cardozo High School in Ward 1 -- a grand old architectural masterpiece in dire need of an overhaul. The event was set to begin at 10:45, and by the time this reporter strolled in shortly before 11, the event had just started.

That a mayoral news conference would begin late is not unusual. What was unusual was that Fenty himself had yet to arrive. D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and school-construction chief (and city administrator-designate) Allen Y. Lew stood behind the podium with the school's principal and an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

Any reporter who has had to wait upwards of an hour in various climes awaiting Fenty's arrival will tell you that this is not standard operating procedure.

"Don't read into it," said Tony Robinson, Lew's communications deputy.

OK, then. Fenty seemed not to mind that things had started without him and proceeded one more time through the routine of taking photos, shaking hands and acknowledging visiting dignitaries -- which included Nathan Saunders, the new president of the Washington Teachers' Union.

Graham then stepped back to the podium to acknowledge Fenty. "This man has made this happen," he said, referring to the renovation project. "He set the priorities, he moved this up in the budget cycle."

Afterward, Fenty voiced his approval of Gray's move to promote Lew to city administrator, calling it a "great decision."

"Allen Lew is going to be a great addition to what I think is going to be a great team under Mayor Gray," Fenty said, adding: "What is quite apparent is that Mayor-Elect Gray is doing exactly what he said he was going to do and that is hiring the best people for the job. And I think that is exactly what the citizens expect."

Fenty declined to address Gray's other personnel decisions thus far -- including his cashiering of top agency heads, including transportation director Gabe Klein and regulatory czar Linda Argo.

"Generally, I'm very excited for Gray's tenure and think he will do a fantastic job," Fenty said.

By Mike DeBonis  | December 13, 2010; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty, The District  
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Adrian Fenty said all the right things and that is great. I admire him for doing that.

It will be difficult on January 3rd when the blackberry stops beeping and the invitations stop coming.

It is difficult for any Chief Executive public or private to realize how many people were not really your friend but rather wanted to be friends with the office you held.

Posted by: peterdc | December 14, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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