Mayor Adrian Fenty will soon have a tough choice to make when it comes to selecting a new director of the Office for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. But the discussion about the post will probably be less intense than the battle among D.C. gay activists.
Darlene Nipper, who ran the office under Mayor Anthony A. Williams, left her post last week, according to Fenty administration sources. The jockeying within the gay community for Fenty’s attention—and the gay liaison slot—has begun.
Even before Nipper resigned last week, Fenty’s self-proclaimed link to the gay community, fundraiser and activist Peter Rosenstein, was working on a replacement for her. Few expected Nipper to be rehired by the Fenty team.
Weeks ago, the Fenty brain trust thought they had a consensus choice to lead the office: decorated lesbian activist Sheila Alexander-Reid. (Reid works as Washington City Paper’s business development manager.). But Reid decided against taking the job for personal reasons, Nipper was asked to stay on as interim director, and Fenty was left in the lurch.
Now Rosenstein and rival elements in the gay community are facing off.
Sources say Rosenstein is pushing Jeff Marootian, 27, the director of the Metropolitan Police Department’s community partnerships program. Marootian is a former advisory neighborhood commissioner who has been with the D.C. government since 2003.
In an interview, Rosenstein said during his conversations with top Fenty staff he’s discussed only the attributes of a good director, and he’s not recommending anyone for the job.
Others in the gay community who have met with top Fenty officials are pushing Khadijah Tribble, an activist who serves on the board of Women in the Life Association, a nonprofit group started by Reid. Tribble also works with a variety of other boards in the city and previously worked at Covenant House.
Tribble’s detractors are already hard at work trying to undermine her nascent candidacy, pointing out that her commitment to the District has been fairly recent. On her resume, Tribble lists her address on 24th Street SE. But according to public records searches, she has no residence in the District. Bill O’Field, a spokesperson for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics reports his records search revealed no one named Khadijah Tribble on the D.C. voter rolls.
“I felt very confident that I will meet the requirements of residency,” says Tribble, who claims to have lived in Ward 8 for about a year and a half. “The fact is, I live and work and do my business in the District of Columbia.”
A call placed to the Prince George’s County, Md., number listed for Tribble was answered by a young man, who identified himself as Tribble’s son. “Where I decide to spend my personal time isn’t anyone’s business,” says Tribble.
Funny thing is, the Fenty team is the only one not stressing out about having to decide between Marootian and Tribble. “We haven’t interviewed anyone for the position,” says Carrie S. Brooks, Fenty’s spokesperson.