Best Headhunter

Adrian Fenty
Is Adrian M. Fenty a good mayor? He’s certainly less than adept at the protocols and niceties of mayoring—witness his infamous snub of civil rights legends Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou last summer. But poll after poll show residents generally satisfied with the operations of the city, and that testifies to Fenty’s eye for talent. Time and time again, he’s pledged to hire the best people “as humanly possible” and, for the most part, he’s followed through. He kept his predecessor’s best hires (DPW’s Bill Howland and now-departed youth rehabilitation chief Vinny Schiraldi). He’s found remarkably successful leaders from inside city government (Police Chief Cathy Lanier) and outside the bureaucracy (DDOT’s Gabe Klein). He’s tapped true innovators for some roles (planning director Harriet Tregoning) and nuts-and-bolts types for others (DCRA’s Linda Argo). His headhunting has gotten the ultimate endorsement, with three Fenty officials departing for top Obama administrations jobs—including Dan Tangherlini, his first city administrator. And the best of Fenty’s hires have one thing in common: They don’t share Hizzoner’s abrasive personal style. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and ill-fated parks director Ximena Hartsock, while effective, have created nothing but political headaches