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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.