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Fenty to Release Report on Summer Jobs Program

UPDATE: 3:21 p.m.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said today that Summer Spencer has resigned as director of the Department of Employment Services. Spencer's department was in charge of the administration's troubled summer jobs program.

Fenty also announced that Tene Dolphin, his chief of staff, will serve as the interim director of the agency and that his spokesperson Carrie Brooks will step in as his new chief of staff. The shakeup comes on the heels of a difficult summer for the jobs program.

The mayor, who returned from a trip to Beijing last night, made the announcements as he delivered the findings of an internal report about the missteps with the summer jobs program. The changes will be effective Labor Day, he said.


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Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) is expected to announce the results of an internal investigation of the troubled Summer Youth Employment Program at a 3 p.m. news conference. The mayor was scheduled to return last night from a trip to the Olympics in Beijing.

The preliminary findings of the internal probe, which were reported in The Washington Post on Sunday, show that the Department of Employment Services did not have an accurate count of students enrolled in the program, a Fenty administration official said last week. Though many participants quit or never showed up this year, their names remained on the payroll, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the review was not then complete.

The program has been beset with problems this summer, from ballooning employment numbers that resulted from the lack of an employment cap, to a payroll system that made it impossible to tell who was actually working and who was merely registered, to a computer glitch that led to thousands of students not receiving their pay on time. Some students weren't doing any real work, instead sitting silently for weeks in an auditorium and classrooms.

Most damaging, however, was Fenty's request late last month that Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi tap into the city's contingency reserve fund to pay for the program in its last weeks. What was supposed to be a $20 million program has run far over budget; the city's price tag is now more than $50 million.

Michael Birnbaum

By Marcia Davis  |  August 12, 2008; 12:59 PM ET
 
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