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FENT

When it comes to managing a tragedy, Rudy Giuliani set the gold standard for American mayors with his masterful handling of the September 11 attacks on New York City.

Flocked by cameras, Rudy rolled up his sleeves and demonstrated poise and strength that the city was able to rally around. The Big Apple recovered beautifully, and Giuliani exploded in popularity, becoming a national personality overnight. No doubt, mayors from major cities across the nation watched enviously as Giuliani vied for the Republican presidential nomination in ’08.

So not surprisingly, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty attempted to handle the METRO disaster Giuliani-style. According to the Washington Post, Fenty decided to crown himself METRO spokesman during the disaster by funneling information about the crash through his office.

METRO officials, and other top city employees were not permitted to speak to the media. The result was a disorganized press conference where Fenty incorrectly informed the press that only 7 people had died in the crash, even though METRO and public safety personnel had confirmed nine deaths.

Candace Smith, a spokeswoman for METRO, alluded to Fenty’s domineering handling of the tragedy when she told the Post, “The spirit of cooperation is not what we would like it to be.”

Adrian Fenty is no Rudolph Giuliani, and the METRO accident was no September 11. There are no heroes here, only victims. So on a purely tactical level, it didn’t make sense for Fenty to try to monopolize information about the accident. Effective leaderership, in this case, would have meant Fenty allowing METRO and other city officials do their jobs.

Oh, and Adrian Fenty, please get this into your head: most of America knows you only as the guy behind Barack Obama in the Ben’s Chili Bowl picture.

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