Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1/3/08: The Washington Post - Fenty's Deputy Resigns, Citing Disappointment With D.C. Mayor

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 3, 2008; 6:42 PM

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's deputy chief of staff has resigned after a year on the job, citing growing disenchantment with the mayor's governing style.

Neil Richardson worked on Fenty's mayoral campaign for two years, often walking door-to-door with him, and helped him develop "best practices" during trips to several big cities shortly before Fenty (D) took office last January.

He was rewarded with a seat in the mayor's bullpen office. Among his duties was organizing events for initiatives such as D.C.'s effort to win a vote in Congress and community meetings related to Fenty's takeover of the public schools.

But Richardson was reassigned in October to an office called Serve DC and asked to create a volunteer program to help the school system. The demotion came after he disagreed with Fenty on several issues and complained that the mayor was not listening enough to stakeholders, government sources said.

For example, Richardson, a former semi-pro soccer player, pushed for Fenty to support building a soccer stadium for D.C. United along the Anacostia River in Ward 8 and expressed unhappiness when the mayor broke off negotiations with the team last summer.

"I was disappointed that an administration that was built on strong populist tendencies has gotten to a place where the council and the public feel left out of decisions," Richardson said today. "I believe this is the opposite of what people had expected and hoped for when our campaign won every precinct in the city."

Richardson also resigned from the administration of former mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), where he held a community organizing post. In May 2005 opinion piece in The Washington Post, Richardson wrote that he was disappointed with Williams's initiative to engage residents.

Richardson becomes the second official to leave the Fenty administration in the past three weeks, following former Attorney General Linda Singer, who resigned because she believed Fenty was listening more often to then-General Counsel Peter Nickles.

Fenty declined through a spokeswoman to comment on Richardson's departure.

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