We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Yesterday Robert Hildum announced that he would be stepping down as DYRS’ interim director. Before the announcement became public, Hildum sent along an e-mail to staff thanking them for their hard work. He wrote: ” There is no easy way to tell you all but I have decided to return to OAG….I have treasured this experience and I did not make this decision lightly…You’re support has been invaluable to me and I have been impressed and humbled by your dedication and talent.”
Hildum’s decision may be the least shocking news of the Gray transition. Hildum noted in the e-mail that he had been asked to prepare a “transition memo” for Gray and Co. It’s the kind of request that would make any administrator think about a dignified exit strategy. Instead of waiting around for the pink slip, Hildum decided to just return to the OAG where he wasted a lot of time going after whistleblowers within the Fire Department.
Apparently, Hildum is still very anti-whistleblower. His mash note was quite a change from the e-mail he sent out just a few days ago. The soon-to-be former interim director was furious with last Friday’s Washington City Paper piece in which I quote him in an e-mail wondering if his agency should maybe slow down its efforts to go after juvenile absconders. Considering DYRS’ recent issues in tracking down juveniles, I thought the e-mail warranted publication.
Hildum evidently didn’t think so. He wanted to hunt down my sources. Under the subject line “Washington City Paper Story,” Hildum wrote this past Saturday: “Coward is the only word I can think of for the person who did this.”
Hildum’s spokesperson Reggie Sanders also sent out an e-mail to staff regarding the story and other recent pieces published elsewhere:
“Please see the City Paper article as posted today’s date. It cites a memo distributed to the DYRS executive team via e-mail. I find it appalling and cowardice that anyone on our executive team would leak such information and then be agree (sic) to be quoted anonymously for the same article. A few weeks ago an internal investigation into agency leaks was launched. I think we all deserve to know it’s status now.”
The people that sent those e-mails were anything but cowards. They obviously risked their careers to bring to light something the public had a right to know. We should be grateful.