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The Gray Administration Taking Shape

James Wright | 12/16/2010, 2:37 a.m.
D.C. City Administrator-Designate Allen Lew is a favorite of Gray's and believed to be the first Asian American to lead the city on a day-to-day basis.  Courtesy Photo

The Mayor-elect of the District of Columbia recently named the top leaders of his incoming administration, stressing that his appointees are quality individuals who possess the stamina and the competence to lead the city over the next four years.

D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray announced on Wed., Dec. 8 that Allen Y. Lew will serve as the city administrator and Gerri Mason Hall will be his chief of staff. He made the announcement at the Reeves Center in Northwest. Gray, who will be sworn into office on Sun., Jan. 2, 2011, expressed enthusiasm regarding his picks and said that the residents of the city will be well served.

"In Hall and Lew, I have chosen two very talented professionals to serve as the cornerstone of my administration," Gray, 68, said.

"Both have exhibited excellent people skills and high ethical standards throughout their careers. They are team players, value diversity and share my vision of making the District of Columbia the greatest city in the world."

Lew, 61, will replace Neil Albert in the position and said that he will work to run an efficient government on limited resources. As city administrator, Lew will manage the day-to-day operations of the city's departments, agencies and personnel.

"I like lean operations, efficient operations," he said. "I am a visionary, a doer. I have a constructive level of impatience for getting things done."

Lew has served as executive director of the District of Columbia Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization under D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. Working at that position since 2007, he was responsible for more than $1 billion in construction and renovation projects in the D.C. schools and has received praise from civic and neighborhood leaders for dramatically improving the conditions and facade of numerous facilities.

"Not enough credit goes to Mr. Lew and his staff for their crucial role in improving public education since school reform, by creating sparkling new, safe, and healthy learning environments our children have long-needed and deserved," Gray said.

Lew also has served as the executive director of the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission. During his career in the District government, Lew has managed the development and construction of the Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium in Southeast and the Washington Convention Center in Northwest.

Gray has long been an admirer of Lew's and has said publicly many times that "he likes Allen Lew."

In her role as chief of staff, Hall will manage the day-to-day operations of the mayor's office and will supervise all entities and personnel connected to it.

Hall is a native Washingtonian and a resident of Ward 4. She served in the Clinton administration as the counsel to the deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management and as the deputy director of the D.C. Office of Personnel.

She is currently the senior vice president of human resources for the Corporate Services Division of Sodexo USA in Gaithersburg, Md. She has previously worked with Amtrak as an assistant vice president of human resources.

Hall said that she will work on "advancing the vision of One City."
"I know what the mayor's expectations are and in part I will be a gatekeeper," she said.

When asked whether Reuben Charles, who heads Gray's transition, was a candidate to be chief of staff, Gray was clear.

"I have never had any conversation with Reuben Charles about a position in the Gray administration," he said.

Gray announced additional appointments to his administration on Thu., Dec. 9. They included Cynthia Brock-Smith as secretary of the District of Columbia, Brian Flowers as the general counsel, Eric Goulet as the budget director, Stephen Glaude as the director of the Office of Community Affairs, Janene Jackson as mayor's liaison to the D.C. Council, Roxana Olivas as the director of the Office of Latino Affairs and Crystal Palmer as the director of the Office of Motion Picture and Television Department.

"These new appointees are not new to the District government," Gray said.

"Each has contributed immensely in their own way and I am pleased that they are joining me in new roles to use their experience and institutional knowledge to make greater contributions." WI