Housing Complex

Key Agencies Still Headless: Thank Sulaimon?

The Departments of Real Estate Services, Housing and Community Development, and Transportation are all rather important agencies in Housing Complex's world (and yours!). And all of them, four and a half months after Vince Gray won his election, are still without permanent directors. Advocates and staff alike have heard not a peep from the administration about who's in the running, though of course, it could be the interim directors themselves (Brian Hanlon, Robert Trent, and Terry Bellamy respectively). The Mayor's press shop says the appointments are "on the horizon" and all of them are being "fully vetted."

By comparison, Adrian Fenty had his DRES and DDOT directors in place by January, though DHCD took until May.

Of course, Vince Gray isn't Adrian Fenty, and we wouldn't want him to rush into anything. In large part, these agencies can go about running themselves fairly well, and taking a few months to find the best candidate isn't the end of the world. But after a while, everything that falls under their jurisdiction starts to suffer from a lack of empowered leadership, as projects stay in holding patterns waiting for direction from the top.

Why so slow, besides Gray's natural deliberative qualities? Could be lots of reasons–on the DDOT position, for example, Housing Complex heard that some candidates scoffed at the mid-$100K salary. But almost certainly, distraction caused by a certain failed candidate has held things back a bit, on these appointments and other issues requiring mayoral attention. I've had agency staffers say they wish they were moving faster on a given priority, and then throw up their hands: "But, you know, stuff." And we all know what they're talking about.

  • Ward4ever

    Agencies lack key personnel because the Gray Administration has been incompetent. And now Gray and his key people are focusing on paying their criminal defense attorneys.

  • Hillman

    Having departments without direction is a major waste of taxpayer resources.

    We are close to four months since the election.

    Vince Gray has no excuse for not filling these appointments.

    Sure, Fenty was arrogant and aloof.

    But, honestly, isn't he looking better by the day?

  • wil

    Brian Hanlon and Terry Bellamy are excellent, and should both be made permanent. Don't know Robert Trent, so I won't comment. Both gentlemen have both gravitas and decades of experience in their respective fields, and are at the very least comfortable and capable of proceeding along a course compatible with that of their well-regarded predecessors.

  • RT

    I'm calling it now, Fenty will be back as mayor in 2014. I was wrong about Gray- he's mediocre at best. A "caretaker", like our own DC version of John McCain. DC won't get worse under his term, but will it really get better? I haven't seen him deliver on one promise, really. What about this job training initiative? Isn't that priority #1??

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  • DCDem

    A permanent cabinet is key to establishing stability in the city. We desperately need this particularly now. These agencies can run smoothly without a pronounced leader, but such a leader is required to drive the executive agenda.

    Bellamy was the Associate Director of Transportation Operations then Deputy Director under Klein, he has incredible technical expertise and a firm grasp of the agencies agenda. He should be made permanent. His Chief of Staff, Jeff Powell, has an impressive resume' as well.


    Considering Alan Lew appointed the interim director at DRES, I expect him to be made acting as well.

  • Brahmin

    I checked in on the campaign trail yesterday. It was the first time I took an active part in local politics since last August. Those who supported Gray with passion and love in Septement would locate a pitchfork if they saw him on the street.


    Why the change---the Sulimon Brown issue is offense to many on different levels. Sulimon Brown was aquainted with Gray but for a short time, had very few credible contacts and had barely enough credentials to fill the space on a napkin. He had Gray's undivided mental space and secured without much review a job in the administration.

    What an affront.

    There are people who worked on Gray's campaign since the off--that have credentials so Golden they make Greenspan look unqualified but yet they don't have a job. That is a huge affront.

  • Really

    Co-sign on robert trent and whoever gets the position need to clean house starting with an employee with initals CL. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!