WASHINGTON – The buttoned-down, bow-tied mayor of the nation's capital has hired a tabloid newspaper reporter to be his chief spokesman.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (search) announced Wednesday that Vincent Morris (search) will become his director of communications. Morris, 37, comes from the Washington bureau of the New York Post, a sassy tabloid legendary for headlines like "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR."
Morris will head up media operations for Williams, who was elected in 1998 after then Mayor Marion Barry declined to seek a fifth term.
Williams, the city's former chief financial officer, has repeatedly declined to say if he will seek reelection, but Morris said it did not matter to him.
"He's very well positioned to run again, if he does. Look around at all the great things that are happening in the city. But he hasn't made up his mind," said Morris. "I would be excited to work for him and for the city regardless of whether he ran or not."
It has not always been smooth sailing for the Williams. His 2002 reelection effort was marred by petition fraud which got him kicked off the Democratic ballot. He won the nomination with a write-in campaign. The city is also beset with other problems, including a troubled public school system known for low test scores, mercury spills and a fatal student shooting inside a high school.
Morris has worked as a reporter for 15 years, including stints with The Washington Times and the suburban Journal Newspapers of northern Virginia. He currently lives in Ward Six with his wife and two daughters. His new job pays $121,000 annually.
"He's got a national perspective, a local perspective, he's worked in the city. He knows many if not all of the players," said Williams.
Morris takes over the position left vacant when Tony Bullock (search) left the administration last year. Sharon Gang has been working as interim communications director since then.