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D.C. Mayor Hopes To Highlight Positive Message

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray appointed a new communications director Monday, saying he thinks the message about the positive efforts of his administration has been lost at times.
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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray appointed a new communications director Monday, saying he thinks the message about the positive efforts of his administration has been lost at times.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is shaking up his communications staff in an effort to help the administration get its message back on track.

Gray acknowledged today that his administration has at times struggled to communicate its agenda to the public, and says he is replacing his communications director, Dr. Linda Wharton-Boyd, with Pedro Ribeiro, the former communications director for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).

The Gray administration stumbled right out of the gate, with several hiring scandals -- including the case of former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown -- breaking just as the new mayor was sworn in. The controversies led to council hearings, a congressional inquiry and a federal investigation that is ongoing. 

As a result, Gray says some of the administration's success stories, such as its early education effort and the city’s record-low homicide rate, have been overshadowed.

"Yes, there are days when I feel like the message hasn't gotten out there as much as we would like to," Gray said Monday, just after he announced Ribeiro's appointment.

Boyd will be transferred to the D.C. Department of Health, where she will work on the city's effort to combat substance abuse. Gray also hired Sheila Bunn to serve as his deputy chief of staff. Bunn most recently served as chief of staff to D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

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