Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1/4/08: The Examiner - Fenty Deputy Quits

By Bill Myers, The Examiner
Jan 4, 2008 3:00 AM

Neil Richardson, deputy chief of staff to Mayor Adrian Fenty and one of the mayor’s oldest political allies, left the administration Thursday after several months of growing disenchantment with the mayor’s management style, sources said.

Richardson, who had helped Fenty mount a historic door-to-door campaign that made him the District of Columbia’s youngest mayor, confirmed his resignation to The Examiner. He said it was effective immediately.

“Right now, my relationship with the mayor isn’t particularly strong,” Richardson told The Examiner. “But I want him to be successful. I want the city to thrive.”

Sources close to Richardson told The Examiner that he had grown increasingly disillusioned with Fenty since last year’s election. Fenty has been criticized for his secretive style and for emphasizing good public relations over good public policy.

Sources close to Richardson said that he had openly broken with his longtime friend over the development of the Poplar Point project east of the river.

Richardson thought that Fenty was deliberately stalling on the project in a poor neighborhood so that credit wouldn’t go to political rivals.

Carrie Brooks, spokeswoman for Fenty, sent a statement Thursday saying, “We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

She declined further comment.

In early December, Attorney General Linda Singer left the administration. Richardson, though, was one of Fenty’s earliest and most dogged supporters. He and the then-council member knocked on doors for two years before Fenty swept every ward in the city.

After the breach over Poplar Point, Richardson, who had worked in the mayor’s “bullpen” — the open cubicles on the third floor of the Wilson Building — was banished to One Judiciary Square in November. Fenty had his Chief of Staff Tene Dolphin deliver the news to Richardson, sources said.

Sources said that Richardson asked to meet with Dolphin just before Christmas and said that he was thinking of leaving. During the discussion, Fenty walked in and asked what was up. When Richardson told Fenty he was thinking of leaving, the mayor said, “You’ll have to talk to Tene about that” and walked out of the room, sources said.

Got a tip on the Fenty administration? Call Bill Myers at 202-459-4956 or send him an e-mail,

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