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For the second time in six months, the top staffer to Ward 8 Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr. has left amid reports that the strain of being the right-hand person to the District’s most famous councilmember is an impossible job.
On Friday, Dr. E. Faye Williams packed up her things and left the Barry team. “I did not have authority commensurate with the responsibility I had,” Williams says.
Council sources say her departure caught Barry and other council staff by surprise. “I did not plan to leave on Friday,” says Williams. “It’s just, I made the decision.”
Only six months ago, Barry’s then–Chief of Staff Linda Greene bailed, citing the stress of walking point for Barry after his failed drug test and his guilty plea on charges he failed to file taxes for six years.
Williams is ready for a job that has a better cost-to-benefit ratio. “I don’t want to put in long hours, stress myself out, and at the end of the day say, ‘What did I accomplish today?’” she says. Williams—who is an ordained minister—says Barry’s past or current personal conduct played no role in her decision to quit.
In an Oct. 30 statement, sent out under Williams’ e-mail address, Barry indicated she left “citing the need to spend more time in her role as President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.” The release characterized her resignation as “mutually agreed upon.”
Barry named Legislative Director Keith Perry his new chief of staff.
Perry might be wise to consider Williams’ final analysis of the job: “There comes a time when you have to choose between [Barry] and having a life of your own.” And she’s not looking back: “As I jokingly say, ‘I never go back to old jobs or old men.’”