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Top D.C. Transportation Officials Resign As New Mayor Struggles to Fill Leadership Vacuum

Friday, May 13, 2011 - 04:01 PM

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) It's five months into his first term, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray still hasn't selected a permanent head to his Department of Transportation. Now, two of the Department's top deputies are resigning and one says this leadership vacuum was a factor in her departure.

Deputy Director for Resource Management Leah Treat and Associate Director for Policy Karina Ricks are leaving DDOT, the organization for which they've worked for a combined 22 years. Ricks says she will be leaving later this summer. According to sources within DDOT, Treat is already gone.

Ricks says she's leaving to spend more time with her family, but she says uncertainty within the Gray administration also played a role in her decision. Gray took office in January and DDOT is one of several of his cabinet departments still under interim leadership. Ricks says career employees there are in a kind of "purgatory" because they don't know what the direction of DDOT will be moving forward. However, she had nothing but praise for the department's current interim leader, Terry Bellamy.

It's unclear whether Bellamy will be retained or replaced. Gray has weathered a series of crippling scandals since taking office, many centering on questionable, nepotistic hiring. As a result, any nominee Gray might put forward would be subject to intense media scrutiny. Gray's office has not yet responded to requests for comment on this story.

Treat could not be reached for this story. According to multiple sources within DDOT, she has accepted a position with Gabe Klein, the incoming Commissioner of Transportation in Chicago. Klein was the director of DDOT under Gray's predecessor, Adrian Fenty. He left the position shortly after Gray took office.

DDOT has issued a statement describing both Ricks and Treat as having "played significant leadership roles at DDOT and helped make it the outstanding agency it is today."

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