Gabe Klein to leave D.C. transportation post
D.C. transportation Director Gabe Klein is the first city Cabinet official to publicly acknowledge that he is not being kept in his post by incoming Mayor Vincent Gray.
With his advocacy of bicycle and pedestrian amenities, promotion of public transit and unorthodox approach to traffic and parking, Klein has developed a devoted following among advocates of "smart growth," who have emerged as a potent political force. But he was also at the center of a significant political headache for Gray (D) during his campaign: the city's streetcar program, which was canceled then restored under pressure during council budget negotiations.
Klein, along with several other agency heads, received a termination letter Tuesday.
Klein thanked Fenty and his supporters in a brief written statement, which he read to reporters this morning in his Reeves Center office before taking questions. He said he was "not terribly surprised" by the decision, though he said he had not spoken to Gray directly about his job since the September primary.
He also expressed concern about a little-noticed move in yesterday's budget gap-closing session to eliminate a special fund that allowed the transportation department the ability to easily transfer funds to and from projects. Klein said the move would change DDOT "from an enterprise agency to a more standard type of agency." He called the change "demoralizing."
"It's probably not a good fit for me going forward," he said. "It makes it a more administrative type of job."
Without the fund, he said, popular initiatives such as the 15th Street cycle lanes, Capital Bikeshare and the Circulator bus system "would require a longer conversation" with the council and others.
Retaining Klein, along with planning Director Harriet Tregoning, had been the goal of broad campaigning among some planning and neighborhood advocates. But other groups called for Klein's ouster, criticizing him and his department for inadequate planning and community outreach.
Gray is expected to name his city administrator and chief of staff and discuss other appointments at a Reeves Center news conference later today.
| December 8, 2010; 11:39 AM ET
Categories: Adrian Fenty, The District, Vincent Gray
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