Loose Lips

Brandon Webb’s Side of Things

In Brandon Webb’s version of events, he sure got screwed by District politics.

The son of Rochelle Webb, who was recently fired as acting director of the Department of Employment Services, Brandon Webb spent a few short weeks doing community outreach work for new Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe.

Webb says he was working in Arizona earlier this year when he got a call from his mom that she might be able to get him a job and he should send her his résumé. (Rochelle Webb says former interim Department of Human Resources Director Judy Banks facilitated Brandon’s hiring; Banks said under oath last week that she did not help Brandon get a job, and it was Ellerbe who requested Brandon come work for him.)

The day after he sent his résumé to his mom, Brandon Webb says, she called back and said he’d been hired to work at the fire department. The catch: Ellerbe needed him to start pronto.

Webb says he was excited about getting the new gig.

“Two days after I sent my résumé over, I was loading up my mother’s car that was in Phoenix and driving out to D.C.,” Webb says.

Webb’s roadtrip began on Friday. He got to D.C. on Monday and started work on Tuesday.

Webb says he was never interviewed for the job. That doesn’t square with what fire department spokesman Lon Walls says. In an email, Walls says “several candidates were recommended to Chief Ellerbe, among them was Brandon Webb. Chief Ellerbe interviewed the candidates and determined that Brandon was the most qualified.”

Webb says his job included keeping tabs on media reports, coordinating interactions between Ellerbe and councilmembers, and staffing Ellerbe at community meetings. Webb, who has a degree from Southern Methodist University (unnecessary disclosure: LL’s grandfather went there on the GI Bill, and his mother and brother are also graduates of SMU) and an MBA from the University of Phoenix, says he was good at his job and routinely was praised by Ellerbe for his work.

“Upon his arrival at FEMS, [Webb] aggressively coordinated community outreach meetings for Chief Ellerbe and other FEMS officials,” Walls says via email. (Walls has temporarily been detailed to the mayor’s press shop.)

But after the news broke that Mayor Vince Gray's administration had hired a handful of children of top aides, Webb says Walls and Ellerbe approached him and said he needed to resign so the mayor wouldn’t take a political hit.

Webb says he didn’t think he needed to resign, because he wasn’t breaking any nepotism rules. His job at the fire department, Webb says, had nothing to do with his mom’s agency. “I was basically blindsided when they told me I had to resign,” he says.

But Webb says when Walls broke the bad news, he had some good news too. “He was like, 'Don’t worry, we’re going to have a job for you,'” says Webb.

The job was supposed to be at the downtown P.R. firm Weber Shandwick. And Webb agreed to resign with the understanding that he'd have a new gig there. But Webb says he never got the job, and he’s currently out of work. Webb adds that calls from Walls and Ellerbe, which he says were made from their personal phones and not their city-issued phones, were frequent right after he resigned last month, but quickly dropped off.

For his part, Walls says he’s “not at liberty” to talk about Webb’s story, because Rochelle Webb is set to testify at a D.C. Council hearing tomorrow. But Walls did add that Brandon’s tale was “not really accurate.”

  • itsjustamess

    Oh what tangled WEB, we weave! Sorry for the inconvenience but do have a safe drive back to Arizona.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2011/04/06/brandon-webbs-side-of-things/#comments AZGAL57

    Is that you Denise????

  • itsjustamess

    @AZGAL57 - No, I'm not Denise...don't even know her but I am a politically active and socially minded resident of DC who takes issue with the almost daily revelations of scandalous squatters in our fair city and government.

  • ME4DC

    What a crying shame! I believe Mr. Webb story of events! The stories are getting worst by the day! Sorry, Mr. Webb & Ms. Webb (your mother) you both were a big part of the DC govt problem. Hate to say it but make sure you clean your cobwebs up as you high tail it out of our great city!
    Beat it Buster!

  • Rick Mangus

    Like tigers, they eat their young!

  • TXBoy

    B-Webb, keep your head up! I know you have a strong work ethic and are a positive dude. Sorry DC isn't what you thought it was. Who knew the corruption wasn't just for the TV screen. We still love you in Texas, your home. And for the people who really know you, they know you are a good guy. These others on this board don't know you or the strong background you come from with both parents who are doing good things. You handled business in Dallas and did well in AZ. Stay strong out there in DC, we all are pulling for you!

    Dallas all day!

  • John

    Oy. Very simple. Don't go though Mommy and/or Daddy for a job. Then you don't have these problems.

  • itsjustamess

    @TXBoy - You are absolutely right! I don't know Brandon Webb and perhaps, he is a mere casuality in the war on DC's corruption but when you make your bed with a mattress full of bed bugs, you're bound to get bitten. You say Brandon did well in AZ and Dallas. Well now, at least he has two options. I suggest he chooses one of them. So sorry, I didn't make his acquaintance otherwise I would have told him he was sailing the Titanic.

  • TXBoy

    LOL @bed bugs

    is it that bad out there?

    well obviously if articles like this are going on.

  • itsjustamess

    @TXBoy - You're darn skippy it's that bad here...and WORSE!!!

  • Wendy Washington

    If Brandon was working in Arizona, why would he entertain a move across country? Just to be near mommy? What kind of job did he have, where a two-week notice was not required? Forgive me for not being sympathetic, that job should have gone to a legitimate DC resident.

  • NWDC

    Wendy, who wouldn't want the opportunity to work in the capital of the United States. Sometimes I think DC Residents (not saying you in particular) take that for granted. There is a whole country with young bright people who would die to have that kind of opportunity. All it does is create competition.

    I'm a D.C. resident, but I was a transplant some 20 years ago. I never understood why people here are so hostile, even all these years later.

    Good Article LL. Sounds like another scandal created by this administration. Sorry kid, wrong place at the wrong time.

  • AnotherDCResident

    Get rid of all these fucking bums in DC gub'mint.

  • Wendy Washington

    NW-

    You are right, this is a highly desirable area. I was being sarcastic, with respect to this story, because it sounds like Brandon is a grown man who could stand on his own, but chose to follow his mother here.

    In all honesty, as a native Washingtonian, I welcome folks who choose to make their home here. I moved away for a couple of years and lived in my husband's hometown, but I was glad to get back home.

  • Drez

    The Webbs are credible, the administrative CYA machines NOT.
    Crap sure goes downhill fast.

  • Drez

    Good comment, NWDC.

  • H Street Landlord

    The University of Phoenix is strong with this family.

  • Truth_Teller

    I have more faith in Brandon's account of things than the "experienced" folks who've been lingering around the Wilson building for years waiting to get back in power (i.e. The Pratt-Dixon/Kelly Power Puff Girls!) Children follow their parents for political appointments in DC all the time. Always notice the amount of operatives who flock here from the home state of the president and vice president. Now, they don't always stay long as DC is too shark infested for the meek, but the fact remains they do come. I don't blame this guy at all...he's just a casualty of this mess. Trust me, someone in the Wilson building knew long before the story hit the press that his mother was at the W Hotel and being driven back and forth from work. Damage control at its finest!

  • DC

    I have a hard time feeling bad for the guy. You get a job and a 30% salary increase a day after you submitted your resume through your mom, for a job that didn't already exist, and for a job you didn't interview for.

    And you have the brass to not consider that nepotism?

    And just like your moms phd, your degree through phoenix online is worthless.

    I have to vet resumes occasionally for my company after HR goes through them and I completely disregard any resume with an online diploma mill degree on it.

  • Terry Miller

    It is not required that people be interviewed in order to get a job under the D.C. personnel rules.

    In the excepted service, a person can be hired based on their resume and application materials. It is also very easy to get fired as we see here, so that is the trade-off: easy come, easy go.

  • SEis4ME

    @DC, and the fact that you willing disregard resumes of those w/online degrees says much about your integrity in the profession than the merits of an online degree.

    What a shame. You might well have said:

    When I look at resumes and don't see Ivy League, I completely disregard it.

  • DC

    @Terry Miller,

    I know it isn't "legally" required to interview someone, but when has anyone here reading this "not" had to have a face to face with a prospective employer?

    Especially when you have no idea what the job is and you aren't qualified for it?

    It was purely 100% nepotism. I am sorry this kid couldn't figure that out.

    And @SEis4Me,

    Give it a break. I don't hire burger flippers for McD's, I hire engineers and MBA's for my consulting firm, skillsets that you can't learn by watching 30 credit hours of online tutorials and then taking an "at home, books open" test. Online degrees are completely worthless, I am sorry that you are offended that your education isn't worth the paper it was printed on, but the effort required to get a degree where you actually have to go to a brick and mortar pales to the effort required to buy a degree online.

  • SEis4ME

    @DC, sorry but your superficial attacks against me won't work. I don't have an online degree, even though I am not against the idea of having one. So no, I'm not offended.

    Maybe because of the technical nature of your business, YOU wouldn't give someone with an online degree a 2nd look. However, that says nothing about the plethora of other specialty areas where online coursework is more than appropriate.

    Also, as companies cut back on expenditures, phone interviews are becoming more and more common. If it did or didn't happen in this case, face to face meetings aren't required.

    If your uncle was head of DHS and through his contacts, got you a job at DOE, that in itself is nepotism. That does not mean you aren't qualified for the job.

    You don't need an engineering background to know that. It's 1+1=2.

  • HR Specialist

    DC Agencies have direct hiring authority. Also, there's a purview called name request. So, what transpired is all legal and available. The rule is, if you interview one, then you must interview all. But there's no rule on what is considered a meaningful interview.

    Did this also happen under Rhee, didn't her ex-husband get a gig here in DC was it coincidental?

    The no-no move is to follow one's boss if they move on to greener pastures. There's no hands-off to following one's parent to the land of work.

    The jury is still out for me when it comes to feeling sorry for Brandon.

  • HR Specialist

    @DC, you're an EEO complaint waiting to happen. Your admission of dismissing on-line graduates is a prejudice that is clearly wrong. If the on-line organization is not a "diploma mill" or is recognized as legitmate educational source from the Department of Education, then you my "non-professional" are committing a harmful error.

  • Get Real

    All of the DC Government jobs should go to DC Government residents.

    The District will go down in flames if/when that happens.

    The residents can't even vote in politicians who don't steal from them!

  • imnotleavingdc

    @DC - My daughter just spent three years in an online college (part of NY's SUNY system -- and actually completing a degree she started at UMBC, in its prestigious Meyerhoff Scholars program). If you could see the incredible papers she's written -- which several professors are urging be published -- perhaps you wouldn't make such a blanket statement. In fact, blanket statements are rarely -- if ever -- wise to make. Basically, you're stereotyping all people who choose to attend an online program for whatever reasons (and there are many). I'm glad I'm not one of your employees because clearly you value only those who have earned what YOU deem to be a credible degree.

    As for Brandon, it's an unfortunate situation. Personally, I would be more than a bit hesitant to pack up and move across the country without being as close to 100% certain that everything involving my hiring was in place. If nothing else, he's learned a lesson, albeit a hard one.

    By the way, I believe his version of things, too. It's kind of difficult to make mistakes about something you've personally experienced!

  • SEis4ME

    Brandon got his job in the same manner the children/relatives/friends of the "connected" get theirs.

    The distinction is that now, in 2011, it's become a problem.

  • http://windows Arizonian

    The Webb's got exactly what was coming to them! his mother manipulated her way as well as others with unethical acts long before she left Arizona. It was a pleasure to see her relocate to include the others that were led by her coat tail leaving their longtime positions with AZ Dept Economic Security, all done out of greed. I just hope they dont return, their all yours D.C.

  • SMUGrad

    You are all leaving out the fact his undergrad is from Southern Methodist University. A very prestigious school based in Dallas, TX. I am an alumni and I know that a degree from their goes a long way!

    SMU 86'
    Ride Ponies!!!

  • FEMS

    Webb should have checked in to this before he showed up

  • FEMS

    or talked to all the other MS employees at DCFD who got dismissed by Ellerbie because Rubin hired them. Or he might have noticed that DCFD had a public outreach before they hired him !!Have a nice trip back

  • DC Guy

    University of Phoenix. That was in the old SWAC, no?

  • itsjustamess

    Fact is, Brandon Webb's position was nepotism pure and simple. His qualifications or lack thereof had nothing to do with his being hired without a resume, DC2000 application, live or phone interview, or familiarity with Chief Ellerbe who was given the orders to hire him and subsequently, fire him when the grits started ricocheting off the fan. I was at the hearing this morning and heard Brandon Webb and Ellerbe's testimonies and it was clear nepotism got Webb his job and the exposure of blatant and rampant nepotism in the new Gray administration cost him his job. But don't take my word, view the tapes of the hearing yourself and see Ellerbe be reduced to a bumbling, scared, CYA, deer-in-the-headlights, Judy Banks blaming beaurocrat who would quickly turn state's evidence should the FBI or Catania more intensely question his involvement in this scandal. I pray he's more competent at putting out fires than he is getting his tail out of the hotseat.

  • incredulous

    And such a job, community outreach, community relations. Webb could be counted on to treat everyone he spoke with on the phone equally. Newly arrived from Phoenix, he wouldn't have known the difference between Tom Sherwood and Boo Watkins. There may have been positions for which Brandon was most qualified, but community relations? Like what GI's did in Iraq?

  • Terry Miller

    Dear DC: If it is not illegal or unethical, what is your beef? And it is not necessarily a bad idea. I hired somebody without an interview once, because I knew that person and her work, and I liked her resume. She turned out great.

    And believe me, during a prior administration there were many people who were hired that way. I even saw a case where a position description was drafted to conform to a resume. Dkuring the Rubin administration, he brought in his "cronies" and put them in high paying positons making well over six figures, and there prior positions were very low down on the totem pole. Most of them are gone now and that is the good thing about the excepted service.

    The truth is, you can be a little more "lax" if you want to call it that with the excepted service, because these are at will positions, and you can fire people very easily.

    And Adrian Fenty went even further than most, and actually fired mid level managers so that he could put his own people in. I did not hear a hue and cry about that! Fenty fired MSS people, who are at will, but who are NOT political appointees, and it is expected that they will not be fired unless they had conduct or performance problems.

  • Respected Citizens

    If those in protest look at the truth of Brandon and his qualifications, although from Arizona you know he's qualified and his testimony confirms his innocence.

    Dr. Webb finally was able to convey the truth about the real reason for her termination, which was not based on Mallory's payment of her stay at the W hotel nor the personal driver, as oppose to unwillingness to permit untruths to go w/o challenge that were made from DC's Human Resource Director, Judy Banks.

    Enough with the BS, and face the facts. Regretfully, they came w/o a clue about politics and as decent folks were mislead.

    The real corrupt of the hiring practices remains our Mayor of DC, even for those who do not support this insincere book warm old ass fot.

  • http://aol arizonian

    @ Respected Citizen...I stand by what I stated eariler. The Webb's got exactly what was coming to them! his mother manipulated her way as well as others with unethical acts long before she left Arizona. It was a pleasure to see her relocate to include the others that were led by her coat tail leaving their longtime positions with AZ Dept Economic Security, all done out of greed. I just hope they dont return, their all yours D.C.
    Do not be fooled, Webb is not innocent, she played that game of hiring family and friends here in AZ. Decent folks indeed!!!

  • Truly Frightened

    While watching the council hearings I found it offensive when Mr. Catania implied that the parents that encouraged their children to apply for government jobs were wrong to do so. How many people have he or any of you council members given references to that were seeking government jobs? Were you wrong to do so? It seems to me that it only became a problem now that black parents are in a position to help their children. Do you think that anyone cares when the Kennedy children or any other relative of a political family benefits from having relatives in high places? That is what parents and relatives do. By the way, I am not playing the race card; I am simply stating facts as I see them.

    In my view the real tragedy is that Mayor Gray was too weak to speak up and defend these people. Mr. Brown seems to have been the only one hired that was not qualified for his position and he was quickly fired. Although I did not like former Mayor Fenty's arrogance I do believe he would have stood up and defended those hired regardless of of what anyone said about it. Mayor Gray the fact that you chose to stay mute says a lot about you and it's not good.

  • ???

    @Arizoninan Okay since you know so much, who did she hire that was a family member in Arizona. Please tell us, we'd like to know.

  • Mensa1

    DOES is an awful mess, and, unfortunately, it got that way during the reign of Adrian Malik Fenty. Were there things prior to his election needing correction? Certainly! Did some employees need to be replaced? Of course! However, the re-freshening of DOES needed to be done professionally and not with a sledge hammer. Fenty brought in inexperienced and mean-spirited amateurs (of the lowest denominator) with no concept of how to evaluate, develop, structure, and/or manage a government agency with the complexities of this agency.

    Fenty brought in people with no people-management skills; worse, in DOES, he brought in a Director to lead a diverse staff dealing with a diverse city whose behavior has been characterized by most as one or all of the following: suffering from some sort of mental problem, overflowing with prejudices, predisposed to irrationality, exhibiting most signs of a racist outlook, biased, no social skills, and/or worse. Fenty was advised more than once that this Director was a severe problem; he ignored it because he does not really care about people – he cares/cared about power. Those of us who supported Fenty thought he would continue the progress of the Williams Administration. Instead, he went about, with unparalleled hatred, destroying DOES, other agencies, and a number of excellent employees.

    With regard to cronyism, nepotism, and just plain bad personnel decisions, Mayor Gray is a saint compared to what Fenty (and his minions) promoted and sanctioned. Fenty decentralized the Human Resources function; at DOES, HR staff were hired or anointed into HR without any government HR experience of any kind. This is not unique to DOES – it happened all over DC Government under Fenty. Those same people are still in those positions and staff really have no where to go for justice. They were put into their HR positions to basically follow orders and to be directed – not to follow the law.

    DOES has been used, for the most part, as an employment dumping ground. The agency is filled with employees with no professional attachment to the filed of employment services; political affiliations, sorority and fraternity attachments, and who one knows rules the day and seems to be the only way to get employed, promoted, or recognized in DOES. During the Williams administration, this was being corrected. It was thought that Fenty would continue this process in an orderly manner. Instead, Fenty has practically destroyed DOES and left the mess to haunt Mayor Gray. Worse yet, a number of people hired under Fenty are still at the agency doing what they seem to do best – hate and destroy.

    Has Gray made mistakes? Yes, he has. On the whole, however, he is a decent man who actually cares about people. Unfortunately, he is now holding the bag for the mess left by Fenty, with Fenty people still in key positions, and with their hatred and determination to destroy his administration in the front of their minds. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that these people are low on management ability and people skills. Gray will be under attack every day for the next four years. That it just the way it is, and the media are being used to lead the attack.

    From 2007 to 2010 alone, this is a little bit of what happened at DOES under Adrian Malik Fenty: There were five different agency directors from January 2007 to December 2010 (Fenty let Gregory P. Irish go; then came Susan Gilbert, Interim 2007; Summer Spencer 2007-2008; Tene Dolphin 2008; and Joseph P. Walsh, Jr. 11/2008-12/2010). All of these director changes are available with an internet search. In March 2007, Fenty terminated Daryl Hardy (the second most knowledgeable management employee at DOES) and replaced him with Norman Aynbinder who left the summer of 2007 to move to New York City. There were five different Chief of Staffs from 2007 to 2010 (Sylvia Lane 2007-2008, Jerrianne Anthony 10/08 to about early 2009, Eric Scott sometime in 2009 to May 2010, Este Griffith May 2010 to June 2010, Melissa McKnight July 2010 to December 2010). The agency has not had a permanent Deputy Director of Workforce Development, Unemployment Compensation, and many other vita positions for four years. Many positions were left to rot under Fenty. There were staff changes in other areas just as harrowing as the above. Also, from 2008-2010, a small minority of people were given multiple jobs and duties even when these duties conflicted with each other. For example, one woman held four different distinct jobs under Joseph Walsh. Another held two to three each and so on. A lot of stuff was done informally and few people were notified about who was doing what. Even now, duties remain misplaced. These things just increased the inefficiency at DOES and most employees were left out of the loop – not knowing what was going on with necessary agency work or who was doing what. As for communication, there was none unless you were certain people. All this seemed to be by design. The talk was that the real goals were to outsource DOES and to make staff (especially long-term staff) look incompetent and redundant.

    The current administration is still trying to unravel the Fenty mess – still discovering what needs to be corrected. During the period of 2007 to 2010, the administration staff increased significantly. Yet, the City Council said little to nothing about it and did not appear to wonder or analyze why there were so many duplicate staff doing bits and pieces of work. On top of everything else, the morale can’t get any lower.

    As for Dr. Webb, she made several mistakes: she trusted that the Fenty people still at the agency were competent to properly advise her, she did not sufficiently or fully explain to the council why she was making some of the changes she was making at the agency (she did so after April 1, 2011), she brought too many people from Arizona for positions that were not hard-to-fill, she fired some politically connected staff, she fired a number of those hired by the former director and/or Fenty, and she engaged in some fights she did not need to start (especially before getting confirmed). Also, the story run by Loose Lips -about Brandon Webb, the W hotel, and the driver situation- was helped along by information provided by former, and possibly current, employees of DOES who leaned the story toward a negative point of view in order to inflict deadly harm. And it did! Rochelle Webb did not have a chauffeur (she was picked up on several occasions by an agency driver); she was led to believe it was okay, until she got settled, to be picked up. The W hotel rates represented the standard government payment rate regardless of the actual price of the W hotel. It is common knowledge throughout the DC government that employees are used as drivers for any number of managerial level staff. This is still going on. Loose Lips, or other journalists, should have done a better job at evaluating the facts of the story; there are other issues that Loose Lips could have explored, but did not. There are other stories that could be told, but they aren’t being pursued. The media must stop this tabloid-like reporting of agency issues; it doesn’t help anyone. It just inflames people with erroneous information and prevents DOES from moving forward to meet its mission.

    Some employees think Mayor Gray should have stood behind Rochelle Webb and helped her to make the needed corrections that he deemed appropriate, and if need be, scold her for following the advice and lead of Judy Banks, Lorraine Green, Geri Mason Hall, etc. He might have considered calling in pertinent DOES management staff to scold them for not providing Rochelle with needed direction and advice (whether she was receptive to it or not). As for Rochelle’s $165,000 – she got an extra $15,000 because the Chief Operating Officer was getting $150,000. Dr. Webb didn’t know the salaries at the time; so that wasn’t her fault. The Gray players were trying to divvy up the wage spoils as high as possible and Dr. Webb and her son, Brandon, got caught in that web.

    If DOES remains an agency and its programs are not outsourced, it will take eight years of a consistent management style to get the agency back to where it was under the Williams administration. DOES must stop firing everyone, stop playing favorites, stop discriminating, bring back a communication vehicle for DOES employees and then let staff know about it, and include everyone in the mission of DOES and not just a few. To get the agency successful again, Mayor Gray must get a second term and we all must work together. As for Brandon Webb, the young man is now a DC resident and he seems quite competent.

  • Mensa1

    DOES is an awful mess, and, unfortunately, it got that way during the reign of Adrian Malik Fenty. Were there things prior to his election needing correction? Certainly! Did some employees need to be replaced? Of course! However, the re-freshening of DOES needed to be done professionally and not with a sledge hammer. Notwithstanding various university degrees, Fenty brought in inexperienced and mean-spirited amateurs (of the lowest denominator) with no concept of how to evaluate, develop, structure, and/or manage a government agency with the complexities of DOES.

    Fenty brought in people with no people-management skills; worse, in DOES, he brought in a Director to lead a diverse staff dealing with a diverse city whose behavior has been characterized by most as one or all of the following: suffering from some sort of mental problem, overflowing with prejudices, predisposed to irrationality, exhibiting most signs of a racist outlook, biased, no social skills, and/or worse. Fenty was advised more than once that this Director was a severe problem; he ignored it because he did not really care about people – he cared about power. Those of us who supported Fenty thought he would continue the progress of the Williams Administration. Instead, he went about, with unparalleled hatred, destroying DOES, other agencies, and a number of excellent employees.

    With regard to cronyism, nepotism, and just plain bad personnel decisions, Mayor Gray is a saint compared to what Fenty (and his minions) promoted and sanctioned. Fenty decentralized the Human Resources function; at DOES, HR staff were hired or anointed into HR without any government HR experience of any kind. This is not unique to DOES – it happened all over DC Government under Fenty. Those same people are still in those positions and staff really have no where to go for justice. They were put into their HR positions to basically follow orders and to be directed – not to follow the law or oppose management.

    DOES has been used, for the most part, as an employment dumping ground. The agency is filled with employees with no professional attachment to the field of employment services, career counseling, job development, or recruitment, etc; political affiliations, sorority and fraternity attachments, and who one knows rules the day and seems to be the only way to get employed, promoted, or recognized in DOES. During the Williams administration, this was being corrected. It was thought that Fenty would continue this process in an orderly manner. Instead, Fenty has practically destroyed DOES and left the mess to haunt Mayor Gray. Worse yet, a number of people hired under Fenty are still at the agency doing what they seem to do best – hate and destroy.

    Has Gray made mistakes? Yes, he has. On the whole, however, he is a decent man who actually cares about people. Unfortunately, he is now holding the bag for the mess left by Fenty, with Fenty people still in key positions, and with their hatred and determination to destroy his administration in the front of their minds. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that these people are low on management ability and people skills. Gray will be under attack every day for the next four years. That it just the way it is, and the media are being used to lead the attack.

    From 2007 to 2010 alone, this is a little bit of what happened at DOES under Adrian Malik Fenty: There were five different agency directors from January 2007 to December 2010 (Fenty let Gregory P. Irish go; then came Susan Gilbert, Interim 2007; Summer Spencer 2007-2008; Tene Dolphin 2008; and Joseph P. Walsh, Jr. 11/2008-12/2010). All of these director changes are available with an internet search. In March 2007, Fenty terminated Daryl Hardy (the second most knowledgeable management employee at DOES) and replaced him with Norman Aynbinder who left the summer of 2007 to move to New York City. There were five different Chief of Staffs from 2007 to 2010 (Sylvia Lane 2007-2008, Jerrianne Anthony 10/08 to about early 2009, Eric Scott sometime in 2009 to May 2010, Este Griffith May 2010 to June 2010, Melissa McKnight July 2010 to December 2010). The agency has not had a permanent Deputy Director of Workforce Development, Unemployment Compensation, and many other vita positions for years now. One person hired as Deputy Director of Workforce Development, Andrala Walker, in 2010 - left within two months. Many positions were left to rot under Fenty. There were staff changes in other areas just as harrowing as the above. Also, from 2008-2010, a small minority of people were given multiple jobs and duties even when these duties conflicted with each other. For example, one woman held four different and distinct jobs under Joseph Walsh. Another held two to three each and so on. A lot of stuff was done informally and few people in the agency were notified about who was doing what. Even now, duties remain misplaced. These things just increased the inefficiency at DOES and most employees were left out of the loop – not knowing what was going on with necessary agency work or who was doing what. As for communication, there was none unless you were "certain people." All this seemed to be by design. The talk was that the real goals were to outsource DOES and to make staff (especially long-term staff) look incompetent and redundant.

    The current administration is still trying to unravel the Fenty mess – still discovering what needs to be corrected. During the period of 2007 to 2010, the administration staff increased significantly. Yet, the City Council said little to nothing about it and did not appear to wonder or analyze why there were so many duplicate staff doing bits and pieces of the same work. On top of everything else, the morale can’t get any lower.

    As for Dr. Webb, she made several mistakes: she trusted that the Fenty people, still at the agency, were competent enough to properly advise and help her, she did not sufficiently or fully explain to the council why she was making some of the changes she was making at the agency (she did so after April 1, 2011), she brought too many people from Arizona for positions that were not hard-to-fill, she fired some politically connected staff, she fired a number of those hired by the former director and/or Fenty, and she engaged in some fights she did not need to start (especially before getting confirmed). Also, the story run by Loose Lips -about Brandon Webb, the W hotel, and the driver situation- was helped along by information provided by former, and possibly current, employees of DOES who leaned the story toward a negative point of view in order to inflict deadly harm. And it did! Rochelle Webb did not have a chauffeur (she was picked up on several occasions by an agency driver); she was led to believe it was okay, until she got settled, to be picked up. The W hotel rates represented the standard government payment rate regardless of the actual price of the W hotel. It is common knowledge throughout the DC government that employees are used as drivers for any number of managerial level staff. This is still going on. Loose Lips, or other journalists, should have done a better job of evaluating the facts of the story; there are other issues that Loose Lips could have explored, but did not. There are other stories that could be told, but they aren’t being pursued. The media must stop this tabloid-like reporting of agency issues; it doesn’t help anyone. It just inflames and distracts people with erroneous information and prevents DOES from moving forward to meet its mission. It prevents real issues from being properly analyzed and presented.

    Some employees think Mayor Gray should have stood behind Rochelle Webb and helped her to make the needed corrections that he deemed appropriate, and if need be, scold her for following the advice and lead of Judy Banks, Lorraine Green, Geri Mason Hall, etc. He might have considered calling in pertinent DOES management staff to scold them for not providing Rochelle with needed direction and advice (whether she was receptive to it or not). As for Rochelle’s $165,000 – she got an extra $15,000 because the Chief Operating Officer was getting $150,000. Dr. Webb didn’t know the salaries at the time; so that wasn’t her fault. The Gray players were trying to divvy up the wage spoils as high as possible and Dr. Webb and her son, Brandon, got caught in that web.

    If DOES remains an agency and its programs are not outsourced, it will take eight years of a consistent management style to get the agency back to where it was under the Williams administration. DOES must stop firing everyone, stop playing favorites, stop discriminating, bring back a communication vehicle for DOES employees and then let staff know about it, and include everyone in the mission of DOES and not just a few. To get the agency successful again, Mayor Gray must get a second term and we all must work together. As for Brandon Webb, the young man is now a DC resident and he seems quite competent.

  • http://www.googletest.com Trey Vanhamlin

    hi there every person Now i'm quite happy to be right here , i would like make an IT neighborhood else in which , We're really happy if any 1 add me on Skype to make an IT neighborhood around the world starting from this fantastic site ..!

...