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In Wake Of Primary, Bellamy Set To Leave D.C. Department Of Transportation

Terry Bellamy has led the D.C. Department of Transportation since 2011, but announced his departure this week.
Terry Bellamy has led the D.C. Department of Transportation since 2011, but announced his departure this week.

Terry Bellamy, the director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, will be leaving his post by as early as the end of the month, sources confirmed today.

Bellamy is the second agency head to announce his departure since Mayor Vincent Gray lost the April 1 primary to Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4). The Washington City Paper reported yesterday that Nicholas Majett, head of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, is also leaving for a position in Prince George's County.

Bellamy has served in the position since 2011, when he succeeded his former boss Gabe Klein, who left the department after Gray defeated then-mayor Adrian Fenty in the 2010 election.

There was no immediate comment from Bellamy's office on why he was departing the sprawling agency, which handles everything from streets to streetcars, but Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who oversees the department, expressed concern with what Gray's loss could mean for leadership at important agencies.

"What we may start to see, which would be very troubling, is that people are just going to freeze and everything's going to be put on hold and the government is basically going to pause, to stop, as people work on their résumés," she said. "I'm just really worried about headless agencies."

She said that she was especially worried for the Department of Transportation, which she said has suffered from " a lot of drift." She has introduced legislation that would break up the agency into smaller departments.

The department's chief engineer, Nic Nicholson, will also be departing the agency.

Bellamy's sudden departure seemed to add pressure to conversations among D.C. Council members on the need to abandon an April primary, which critics say leads to nine-month-long lame duck period where top talent starts looking elsewhere.

"It's the natural tendency of directors and top people to start looking around, because if they see a new administration coming and they have no security that they'll remain, they're doing what rational people would do: their looking for a job," said Cheh.

Cheh and a number of her colleagues are backing a proposal that would move the primary to June.


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