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Mayor Vince Gray began his nine-month lame-duck period following his primary defeat last week with a cabinet shakeup that will see the departure of head of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the arrival of a new director of the Office of Planning.
Nicholas Majett, who has been with DCRA since 2006 and headed the department since 2011, is leaving his position, although his future plans could not be confirmed. “We can confirm that Director Majett is moving on to pursue another opportunity, but no further details are available about that at this time,” DCRA spokesman Matt Orlins says in an email.
Meanwhile, on Friday evening, the mayor’s office announced that Ellen McCarthy would be taking over the Office of Planning. McCarthy, who held the same position under Mayor Anthony Williams from 2004 to 2007, succeeds her successor, Harriet Tregoning, who left the D.C. government in February to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Most recently, McCarthy served as director of planning and land use at the law firm Arent Fox, as a lecturer at Georgetown’s urban studies graduate program, and as a private development consultant. She’ll start her new job on April 14, and she won’t have much time to settle in: That same day, the Office of Planning will go before the D.C. Council for a budget hearing.
“Ellen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in planning to the Office of Planning at a critical and exciting time in the District of Columbia,” Gray said in a statement. “She is excited about continuing to help the District grow and become even more vibrant while respecting the city’s rich history and unique character.”
It’s unclear if Gray’s likely successor, Muriel Bowser, would keep McCarthy on in the role, meaning she could just be in for a nine-month stint. Still, it wouldn’t be an uneventful one: The Office of Planning is working to shepherd a comprehensive (and controversial) update to the city’s 1958 zoning code through the Zoning Commission, among other projects.
Photo by Lydia DePillis