Update: 6 p.m.
D.C. Child and Family Services Agency Director Roque Gerald announced in a staff meeting last week that 54 agency employees will soon be getting pink slips. Mayor Adrian Fenty had stipulated in his proposed budget that the cuts be made.
One CFSA employee confirms the cuts to City Desk: “He did bring it up and told people. He told the agency that’s what he had to do. He’s going to make sure to keep people who provide direct services to families.” So it may be unlikely that Gerald will have to fire social workers. It is still a blow to an agency that has been the subject of intense federal court scrutiny. Recently, a judge held Fenty and the District in contempt over his administration’s handling of CFSA.
Another CFSA staffer, who was at the meeting, says Gerald was asked directly if social workers would be protected from the layoffs. Gerald said they would not be protected. “People are scared,” the staffer says. “People just want to know. He said we would have some information within the next 30 to 60 days. People do seem nervous, generally it’s a fearful environment. It’s a fearful environment anyway but it’s escalated in the last two weeks.”
CFSA employees are not pleased with the imminent firings.
The DC Union Power blog reported its own react story on the Gerald announcement:
“In an all-staff meeting this morning, DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) Director Dr. Roque Gerald announced that more layoffs were coming to the agency.
Repeating over and over that CFSA was a ‘family’ that everyone had to ‘share the burden,’ Dr. Gerald explained that the purpose of the meeting was to be ‘transparent’ about the cuts forced on CFSA by Mayor Fenty’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year. Although emphasizing the agency’s commitment to the children and families of DC, Gerald began by reading off laundry list of services cuts that would effect the neediest families most, including the elimination of funds for the Rapid Housing program (which helps to prevent families with children from becoming homeless), and a pay cut to families caring for abused and neglected children in foster care.
This is our commitment to DC’s children and families?
Dr. Gerald then dropped the bombshell that everyone was waiting for: the announcement that CFSA would need to eliminate 54 full time positions. He gave no specific information about who would be affected by the Reduction in Force (RIF), only that employees will be notified in 30-60 days. One worker asked if any positions would be protected from the RIFs. The answer was ‘No.'”