That didn’t take long.
Just two days after her general election victory, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced several shake-ups among her administration’s top officials.
These changes in the Bowser administration involve at least 12 people, and span nine agencies. Several of the new appointees will serve in “interim” or “acting” positions, while the Bowser administration vacated other positions with no immediate replacement. It’s uncertain when those temporary statuses could change and when the vacancies could be filled, according to the mayor’s press secretary LaToya Foster.
“They will be filled when we find the appropriate person,” says Foster, who characterized the shake-up as an indication of “growth” at the end of Bowser’s first term. “We’re probably going to see several more changes coming down the pike. This is probably the first round.” Bowser has consistently touted the work completed by many of the officials who were booted on Thursday.
Greer Gillis, the director of the Department of General Services, will become an appointed member of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission, according to the news release.
City Paper reported earlier this year that Gillis’s DGS hired a construction company that did not functionally exist at the time of its hiring to build homeless shelters in Wards 7 and 8, and later considered terminating that contract after a series of delays threatened the timely completion of the projects. The agency itself has also been plagued with low morale and high turnover, as City Paper also reported this summer.
“[The turnover] is problematic because, not just that the top has seen turnover but also through the upper ranks as well. It’s a big agency with a big budget,” Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who chairs the Council committee with oversight over DGS, tells City Paper.
Keith Anderson, the current director ofD.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and former director of the Department of Energy & Environment, will take over for Gillis as an acting director of DGS, the news release says. (Of Anderson’s new post, Cheh says, “I think he’s proved to be a good manager. Actually, it causes me to have a little bit of hope. Maybe he’s somebody who can get his arms around this very big agency.”)
Anderson will vacate his position at DPR, and Delano Hunter will take his place as interim director.
Hunter will leave his seat as director of Serve D.C., also known as the Mayor’s Office of Volunteerism, and Ayris Scales, who is currently the director of the Office of Partnerships and Grants, will take his place as interim director, says Foster. That means Scales will serve in both roles for the foreseeable future.
Willie L. Phillips is appointed as the chairman of the Public Service Commission, the news release says. He’s replacing Betty Ann Kane, who is retiring, Foster says.
Seth Miller Gabriel is leaving his job as the director of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships, and Kathryn Roos, a manager in theDistrict Department of Transportation will take his place as “interim” director, according to the news release.
Foster could not say whether Gabriel was forced out or whether he is leaving on his own accord. And Roos’ position in DOT will remain vacant. There is no definite timeline for replacing her, Foster says.
Finally, Rev. Thomas L. Bowen will take over as interim director of the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs.The former director, Rahman Branch, is leaving government work entirely, though Foster could not say why Branch is being removed.
Bowen is currently the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs,and he will continue serving in both roles, Foster says.
The news release detailing the administration’s shuffling and ousting of these individuals came in after 6:15 p.m. Foster says all 12 people involved were notified before the press release was issued.
Earlier Thursday, news broke that Eric Shaw, chief of the Office of Planning, was getting the axe, and that Andrew Trueblood, currently chief of staff to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, would serve as the interim OP chief.
And already this year, Courtney Snowden, Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, HyeSook Chung, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and Tommie Jones, director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services, all left their posts. (Jones now works in the Department of General Services.) In September, the Bowser administration changed leadership at the Department of Employment Services, too, installing Unique Morris-Hughes as interim chief.
Asked whether any of the individuals leaving government work completely have been the targets of any complaints or been accused of inappropriate behavior, Foster says she is not aware of any issues.
An hour after her communications staff issued a press release detailing these changes, Bowser attended an awards ceremony at the National Council for Adoption, where she was photographed with a glass trophy.
Cuneyt Dil contributed reporting.
This post has been updated after the Bowser administration announced Friday afternoon that Ayris Scales will fill in as interim director for Serve D.C., rather than that position remaining vacant.