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Paulette Francois, the District’s deputy director for workforce development, was fired from her last job for allegedly sending grant funds to a company she used to work for, according to court records.
Francois worked for Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation for five years before July 13, 2012, when department secretary Scott Jensen told her that she was going to be fired for funneling the grant money to her old employer, a company called M3L.
“This issue raised questions as to her judgment, and therefore her performance,” Jensen wrote in a letter to Francois’ attorney.
It’s not clear what the company was receiving federal money to do for Maryland. The DLLR, which declined to comment to LL, might not even know themselves. That’s because the payment documents signed by Francois, according to Jensen, obscure just what Francois’ old company was paid for in the first place.
“I felt that I could no longer feel confident in delegating the responsibility for administering $60 million in federal grants to Ms. Francois,” Jensen wrote.
Francois sued Maryland for wrongful termination (which is how LL knows about this in the first place), but a judge threw the case out. She declined to talk about her firing, except to say that she has another set of documents that prove that she didn’t do anything wrong that she couldn’t give LL.
In fairness to Francois, her last Maryland performance review—-from 2008—-lists her as “outstanding.” And DOES, which hired Francois on Dec. 31 last year, may need more competent administrators: When the department caught LL’s predecessor’s eye, its idea of workforce development was paying people to hand out light bulbs.
DOES director Lisa Mallory didn’t respond to a request for comment. So here’s the question LL would have asked her: If Maryland couldn’t trust Francois with money, should the District?