Hall Out as Gray's Chief of Staff

Gerri Mason Hall is out as D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's chief of staff, NBC Washington's Tom Sherwood reported.

"I have requested and accepted the resignation of my chief of staff, Gerri Hall," Gray said at a news conference Wednesday. "Gerri Hall and I have discussed this issue extensively over the last several days, and we agree that the distractions associated with these personnel matters are overshadowing the work of the government. We have agreed that this decision is in the best interest of the city. We have a strong team that has been assembled to work on the issues of the city, and we want to move forward."

Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander was named the acting chief of staff.

Earlier, Hall said she would be testifying at a council hearing on staff salaries, representing the mayor's office. Council member Mary Cheh called on Hall and City Administrator Allen Lew to discuss hiring practices by city officials at the meeting.

But Hall did not return to the hearing after a council recess, and Council member Mary Cheh told reporters to expect a big announcement from the Gray administration, Sherwood reported.

"I'm a native Washingtonian," Gray said. "I absolutely love this city. I've lived in this city all my life, and you face difficult challenges in life, and that's a part of leadership."

Gray appointed Hall just more than two months ago, but since then, Gray's new administration has been embroiled in complaints that staffers were being paid illegally high salaries, many apparently approved by Hall.

Even Cheh, a political supporter of Gray's campaign for mayor last year, on Wednesday lashed out at the salaries in the Gray administration, calling them "self-enrichment." She said some city officials were "feeding off of the taxpayers." She said if those employees just want to make money, "we don't need you and we don't want you."

The news of the shakeup came on the same day the mayor's office announced that salaries for some of Gray's top appointees have been reduced. Nine city officials whose salaries were higher than allowed by D.C. law were informed their pay would be cut on Monday.

Dr. Mohammed Akther, Director of the Health Department; Judy Banks, director of the Department of Human Resources; Warren Graves, with the Office of City Administrator; Hosanna Mahaley, with the Superintendent of State Education; Irvin Nathan, the attorney general; Wayne Turnage, head of Health Care Finance; deputy mayor Victor Hoskins; and deputy mayor De'Shawn Wright were all in for reductions, the mayor's office said. Hall also was due for a salary reduction.

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