Loose Lips

New DOES Director Had Chauffeured Rides To Work

New D.C. DOES Director Had Chauffeured Rides

The new director of Department of Employment Services, Rochelle Webb, had one of her employees chauffeur her to and from her home for her first two months on the job in an apparent violation of District law, records show.

Shortly after the Gray administration began, DOES reassigned Vernon Lindsay, a "support services specialist," to be Webb's driver, according to documents DOES submitted to Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells' office. (Wells had a hearing last week on the city's on various issues related to the city's fleet).

Webb had Lindsay pick her up and drop her off from home during her first two months at DOES. Or in government-speak, Lindsay "transported the Department Director to and from temporary residence and to attend all meetings using DC 5896, a 2007 Chevy Impala. ... This practice was done from January 2011 to February 2011. The Director is no longer being transported from or to place of residence," DOES wrote in response to Wells' written questions.

City law says that no city employee "shall utilize the services of any District government employee for use as a chauffeur from home to work," except with advanced written authorization from the mayor. Wells' office asked DOES for copy of said written authorization for Webb, but DOES didn't provide any. Instead, DOES provided a Jan. 12 duty reassignment form for Lindsay that sure looks like it made him Webb's personal chauffeur. (You can see for yourself below. It's "Exhibit C.")

Neville Waters
, a spokesman for DOES, says Webb spent her first two months in the District living—at taxpayer expense—at the W Hotel downtown (he says they had the cheapest rate). Waters says Webb's office is located at Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road NE, and she requested a driver because she had just moved to the District and was unfamiliar with the area. Evidently, she was unfamiliar enough with the area that she didn't realize the DOES office is a block from the Minnesota Avenue station on Metro's Orange Line; a trip from Metro Center or McPherson Square, near the W, would have taken about 20 minutes and cost $2.80. (This post originally said Minnesota Avenue was on the Blue Line.)

Shortly after she found a permanent place to live, Webb was informed that city law prohibited her from being chauffeured to and from home, Waters says. Webb stopped the rides between work and home as soon as she found out.

It's worth noting that Webb's son recently resigned after it became public that he'd landed a city job.

DOES has long been under fire from critics for mismanaging the summer youth jobs program and not providing enough job training programs for residents. When Mayor Vince Gray announced Webb's appointment in December, he said he was tasking her with a "dramatic transformation" of the agency.

Former DOES Director Joe Walsh says he either took Metrorail or the bus to work, depending on which DOES office he was going to. When he first arrived at DOES, Walsh says, there was a long-time staffer who considered himself to be the director's driver. Walsh says every couple of days he would need to be driven to meetings, but would make it a point to have a different staffer assigned to drive him so no one considered their primary job to be his driver. (Walsh did cop to having been driven home one day, when he was really sick and his chief of staff wouldn't let him take the Metro.)

[scribd id=51330322 key=key-2d4uxbj1yda79emuwy2d mode=list]

  • noodlez




  • Recall Gray

    Recall Gray.

  • http://kathleenamcg@gmail.com kam

    She doesn't have a PhD. According to her profile on linkedin.com, she has a "D.M." (Doctor of Management), which I've never heard of. Forget the fact that she got it at the Univ. of Phoenix and that supposedly she makes her staff refer to her as "Dr." (tacky if that's true)---a D.M. isn't a PhD. But if you have that degree I guess technically you can still refer to yourself as a "doctor". Lawyers have a doctorate too (JD) but it's very uncommon for a lawyers to use Dr. before their name. Ridiculous.

  • Beyanca

    Umm I have staid at the W on may occasions at a government rate of less than 175 a night...and I have staid as a non government employee for 250 and under, this is DC folks get out from under the rocks you are living in, Hotels here are dam expensive...yall are being idiots on this blog and loses lips once again is blog based on half truths...shame on you...hope you have a clean past Alan and no one gets smart enough to check your stuff out... Lawyers have ESQ.. and a DM is a doctorate, sorry you are so uneducated

  • http://kathleenamcg@gmail.com kam

    I was referring to a "J.D". "Esq" stands for "esquire", not the degree that practicing lawyers must have in the U.S., which is a Juris Doctorate. Also, I wrote that D.M. is indeed a doctorate so I guess you're not really that great at reading comprehension.

  • you are all stupid…

    maybe DC residence should give a crap about themselves and get the education needed to get into those jobs and they wouldn't have to hire people from other states...woman is qualified any way you slice it, I have been doing some digging myself...and by the way, I am a DC resident (ward 6)and I won't ride the metro to Minnesota ave...there is a dang crack house across the street from the DOES building... I have never met ms. webb, but you are dang straight I would make my staff call me "dr." if I spent all that time in school too...I don't care where you get your education from as long as you get it, UOP is an accredited university last time I checked...

  • Beyanca

    This one is for you Kam:

    Doctor of Management (D.M. or D.Mgt.) is an academic degree awarded on the basis of advanced study and research in management.
    It is awarded by some American and international universities, and is similar to a PhD degree in management and business-related sciences. To be admitted as a doctoral student, one typically must hold a Master's Degree and pass a comprehensive entrance exam. The student must complete necessary course work, taught examinable courses, perform independent research under supervision of a qualified Doctoral Advisor, and pass a thesis defense. The D. M. may take four years (full time) to complete and has compulsory taught components and coursework/projects....

  • Get over yourselves and get educated.

    Seems like if half of you on these message boards had the education or the work experience you would know this is nothing new for executives. If you get a doctorate in any field, from any school and are a corporate executive, you deserve to get whatever package you negotiated with your company, in this case DC government. And if you use your $$$ to get a room at the W then guess what, you got a room at the W. Stop being jealous people.

    I'm sure the hotels in DC give the government a special rate.

    Get a grip on reality and realize this paper tries to make you wallow in your own self pity. They focus on the have and have nots but the real issue is getting an education so you can better yourself.

    Instead of asking why ask what did this woman do in her life to get ahead. I wish for more educated proud black people like this woman.

    And on top of that, she didn't pull a Sulaimon and go crazy. She owned up and notified the council when they asked.

  • Truth

    People at the agency informed me her expense is paid using funds that were allocated for programs under DOES. Such as Year-round Youth Employment Program, Transitional Employment Program, Apprenticeship Office.
    In mean time, she is reducing the number of people each program serving claiming budget shortfall.
    Also sources have told me the final bill is over $30,000, they didn't want to tell me the exact figure, since it would be obvious and easy to narrow the source.
    I believe under freedom of information act, it will be easy to get the entire payments made.

  • Salty Former Employee

    I'm a former DOES employee and I'm Salty because I no longer work there. So I am going to spread lies and hurt as many people as I can. The guy I voted for lost so it is my job to attack this administration. The paper has my back too!

  • Tell it like it is.

    Salty Former Employee
    I understand your frustration, but you do not have to spread lies. The damage done in 3 months using tax payer’s money will be exposed soon.

  • Really?

    I really wish I could defend DOES, but I can't. The agency has been in free fall for years, especially in the last administration.

    Overspending SYEP budgets by $30 million in one year. Hiring Hartstock in SYEP, Hiring a whole bunch of incompentent folks and SYEP who had no fucking clue how to run the program except pretend they are important, Recinding youth contracts, stopping the DC Fire Cadet/EMS program on and on and on.

    Would love to share a story about what really happen on one of the summer contracts a few years back that would really blow the tax payers minds but....

    So crying me a fucking river on where the money could have gone. This Agency has been throwing millions of dollars down the drain for years and hasn't taken the time nor cared to take the effort to help those who needed job training, youth year around, in-school, apprenticships, one-stops on and on.

    Nobody called out Joshy poo when he was running the train and now everyone was to cry about.


  • Really?

    Let me also add that Joshy catching "metro" via the NY Ave metro (one of DOES's location) stop isn't the same location as Minn Ave. DOES's other location was 4th and H street N.E. (across the bridge from Union Station).

  • Really?

    Whatever happen in three months can't compare to the shit that happen in four years


    "For the past several years, DC’s summer youth employment program has been funded with unsustainable budgets given its number of participants and length of the program. In 2008, the city spent $55 million to employ about 20,000 youth for nine weeks, overspending the approved budget by a whopping $30 million. Last year, the program cost $41 million. Simple math would show that $22.7 million wasn’t going to be enough to pay for the estimated 20,000 youth enrolled this year, even if the program was shortened from nine to six weeks. I understand that the Chief Financial Officer determined that the money for youth salaries ran out after three and a half weeks of the six-week program.

    The choice by the Fenty administration to continue to have an open-enrollment policy thus set the Summer Youth Employment Program to run over its budget again. That is unfair to the kids, and unfair to all of us. Honest and accurate budgeting is always important, but it is especially crucial in tight budget times like we’re facing now.

    A second concern is that operating such a large Summer Youth Employment Program makes it hard to create a high-quality experience for all participants. As my colleague Martha Ross of Greater Washington Research at Brookings has noted, DC’s large summer jobs program makes it hard to find meaningful placements and creates substantial management and oversight challenges for DOES that end up consuming much of the agency’s energy. The overly large Summer Youth Employment Program consumes a large share of DC’s workforce development resources and makes it hard to fund other services.

    A third concern is that the Fenty administration wants to cover the shortfall by using $8.4 million in federal stimulus dollars under the TANF program, funds that the Department of Human Services had planned to help low-income families weather these difficult economic times by providing money for shelter and basic necessities.

    By taking TANF stimulus funds to use to cover cost overruns in the Summer Youth Employment Program, the Mayor is placing vulnerable families at further risk."

  • Rake

    HA! Ed Lazere. Let me guess, the punchline at the end of your quote from Ed was "and thus we must raise taxes"...

  • Joe

    Michelle Rhee, former DCPS Chancellor, had a driver (a DCPS employee) to transport her from home to work and vice versa using a government vehicle. Her driver also picked up her kids from their school and transported them to the DCPS headquarters building after school let out. Why didn't the City Paper bring up this issue when Ms. Rhee was the chancellor?

  • Rick Mangus

    Can I get my ass driven around town as well, as a TAX PAYER I DEMAND IT!

  • Mike Madden

    @ Joe --

    You'd have to ask the previous editors and LL writers about that. Most of us started here late last summer.

  • SEis4ME

    @Mike, according to Klopott, Webb's stay was $182 for a period lasting four weeks. The WPost links to this article but questions the WCP claim that it was for 2mos.

    Not expecting any sort of clarification or follow-up here. Pretty much like the "exobortitant" salaries we later found were $900 over the cap.

    No follow-up to that either. I understand. It's less sexy.

  • SEis4ME

    Oh and the "we weren't here then" excuse is going to get tired and eventually fall on deaf ears.

    You ARE here now and your ethics are still being questioned..then as now.

  • Marciela

    It isn't too late to ask Rhee and Henderson about the chauffered rides. Henderson's being driven around too. This bullshit needs to stop. Plus it would do her good to walk.

  • Mike Madden

    Well, Klopott reported one thing, the department told Suderman something else. For now, we'll go with what the department told us, not what someone else told someone else. We're not correcting something we got first-hand just on another newspaper's say-so. And besides, we never printed any cost figure at all for the W, and in fact, didn't focus on the hotel in that post. Your fellow commenters were the ones who decided it must have cost whatever they decided it must have cost. Not that I particularly want to be paying $5,000 (if Klopott's story is correct) for anyone in any level of government's housing -- all these people make enough money to pay for their own apartment or hotel.

    I'm happy to answer for what we're doing now; not happy to answer for what people did or didn't do early in a different administration. I don't think Michelle Rhee needed a car or driver, either, but whatever fancy thing she's riding around in now isn't being paid for by our tax dollars. Just because Fenty did it, too, doesn't make it any better.

  • Respected Citizens

    Whether Dr. Webb knew or not about the laws on chaufferuring allowances for DC Directors to and from home, she stopped it immediately.

    But, she must rid the remaining staff of incompetent from Fenty's administration that are still housed at the agency via tax-payers expense.

    When it comes down to KKK DUM-ASS Walsh there's simply no comparison to his "misuse of funds, high salary pays to top level hit dog staffers, some gone as three remains like Mcknight, Debarro and Eshauna Smith. As they have no professional understanding of WIA, procurement regulations, Summerworks nor Wick laws but are receiving top salaries.

    Did we forget what happened to the Press about Walsh fag friend receiving Summer funding into his BB&T North Carolina account that was imformed to him.

    Therefore, do not compare the Corrupted and Disgraceful Walsh to Dr. Rochelle Webb.

    Also, CM Wells must find out who authorize the hotel for Dr. Webb and the chauffeur and have them repay this amount.

    Tell us, what Legislator stood up and held Walsh cited by the Department of Labor for over 20 citations, who received the role as Director at Employment Services by default and ruined Summerworks 2010.

    This fool allowed the Trust to handle the Summerworks proposal that offered $350 dollars per participant modeling itself after New York.

    The Trust Corporation developed by the Control Board operates solely from "DC dollars offers." at least continue to offer $700 to S750 per summer enrollee would today be higher than the Agency that started youth training.

    Summerworks was the first created in DC under Barry's administration that other states have incorportated. So, to downsize the per participant cost according to New York when this is DC is unheard of.

    What's more puzzling is to note when Black professionals perform with errors they're held accountable, but when DUM ASS WHITE/ASIA folk makes countless errors after errors that includes lies they are simply smack on the hand.

    One day, this level of double standards is going to change, and this change will not come from continual requests but forced via a host of demands.

    Stop playing with our intellect. Hopefully, Walsh parents in Detroit can find his dum ass a job, and he needs to keep his mouth closed forever.

  • Steve

    I supported Gray, but I've been lately very dissapointed in his team. This is disgusting and I also heard that she brought her allies from back home. Good job on this report.

  • SEis4ME

    Mike, you're really too emotionally attached to this. It explains why your responses are usually what they are.

    I asked whether WCP would "clarify" or "follow-up." Your response notwithstanding, Alan's recent posting was the sufficient follow-up. So I'm not sure what the heck you're talking about.

    And let's not be disingenuous. You've now been here long enough to know which stories will be eaten alive like a rat in a snakepit.

    You also didn't post the salaries of the Gray officials who were paid these high salaries. You wrote story after story about the story of the story. And no, you didn't provide salaries. But the tidbits you did were enough to create the environment where people believed Gray was paying his people waaaaaaaay above the salary cap. Then we later found out that the waaaaaay above cap was actually $900.

    Again NO, you didn't put forth the idea but as a journalist, your reporting was 100% instrumental in creating the meme.

    Call me pie in the sky, but journalists should take responsibility for the environments they help create. I also don't want to pay relocation expenses for top officials. But, that's why they are top officials and across the board in business, these costs are included in their packages.

  • SEis4ME

    Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck believe they have ZERO responsibility for the corrosive environments they help create too.

    Go figure.

  • SoWhat

    Hey Steve, so what if she brought people from another state. What fairy tale world do you live in where a company has to hire all it's employees from the town it's located in?

    Who is she supposed to bring with her? Enemies???
    Obviously you don't know how a business works. Ideally you would want the best people you could find, whether they be local or from a national search.

    Sometimes I wonder about some of the people that respond to these posts, like because you're not a native Washingtonian you can't perform a job.

    Under your logic the POTUS should be from DC and every other fed job should be held by a DC native.

  • Ahotmess

    Sorry, but shouldn't the head of DOES be familiar with the law as it pertains to inappropriate use of DC employees? I'm sure whatever state/local government she is coming from also prohibits the use of a government employee as a chauffeur. Is she just here to rubber stamp or is she here to drive real change within that agency? I'm just saying...

  • Really

    @Steve...thank you and Gregg Irish did the same thing when he ran DOES. He was recruited from San Diego by Anthony Williams. Whenever a Director has come from out of state and worked in the District they have brought their team of folks...who they know...who they have worked with.

    @hotmess...Few recently hired employees DC employees at any level are familiar with District Laws. Her background is employment and training.

    I’m willing to give her chance and see what changes she does for this agency which is in desperate need of upgrading. The last Director sat on his ass and accomplished nothing.

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  • Rofl

    The stories about requiring staff to call her Dr. Webb are true...I work for DESERT in Arizona where she came from....and she'd get owned if you didn't...in fact it's Dr. Rochelle L. Webb and DO NOT forget the Dr.!! She also used tio have employees drive her to the airport, meetings, conferences (nothing as bad as driving her to/from home...that I knew of) but we have a light rail she could have easily taken to the airport, and my point about being driven to meetings...she always made other people drive her...like she's too good tio do something as menial as drive. Proud black woman my ass! She is an egotistical bitch who thinks shes better than everyone. And the staff she brought with her...Denise Blackman is an idiot! The other two are intelligent women....especially Jessica Gonzales.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2011/03/22/new-does-director-had-chauffeured-rides-to-work/ Lori

    Ms. Webb was no better during her time with AZ. I'm not the least bit surprised. The article failed to mention all her cronies she gave jobs, too. But that's what we do in America, if someone screws up lets promote them out. Next week she'll be Governor. Like Janet Napalotano she couldn't secure AZ border and now she's in charge of homeland security. WTF, people?