Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Spencer Speaks; Fired Employment Director Makes First Comments on Summer Program

As Mike DeBonis of Washington City Paper reported late last night, fired Department of Employment Services Director Summer Spencer showed up at the D.C. Council oversight hearing on the meltdown of Mayor Fenty's summer jobs program. It was a surprise appearance, as her name was not among the 35 people scheduled to testify, and she showed up around 11 hours into the marathon hearing. (An aide to council member Carol Schwartz, who conducted the hearing, said it was unclear whether Spencer would appear so they had kept her name off the witness list.)

The Post had a reporter there too, Michael Birnbaum, who filed this report:

Spencer arrived shortly before 9:00 p.m. last night, too late to be included in today's Washington Post article on the hearing. Her testimony echoed that of previous witnesses, acknowledging a disorganized department forced into further disorganization by the pressures of higher-ups to keep adding students to the program.

"It was the perfect storm of problems," Spencer said. "Everything that could go wrong went wrong."

She said that one of the biggest problems with not having a set cap on the number of participants in the program was that beyond finding jobs for the thousands of extra students that flowed through DOES offices, department employees were too busy recruiting and registering new people to prepare orientation for students and job sites in the weeks leading up to the program. The last-minute decision to pay summer school students -- something that Spencer says took her by surprise -- burdened the jobs program with having to enroll more than 2,000 additional students in the payroll system.

But Spencer felt that a lot of students had had good experiences this summer.
"For every youth who came in to complain to DOES," she said, "there were a lot of positive experiences at the same time."

Spencer suggested capping the enrollment next year. But she also emphasized that a computerized registration system might do a lot to ease this year's problems. Students might be able to see the available opportunities when they registered, she said, and express a preference for a particular site, alleviating this year's concerns that some students were doing work that wasn't especially meaningful.


By David A Nakamura  |  September 19, 2008; 11:28 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. Inspector General: Mayor's Summer Jobs Program "Haphazard and Ad-hoc"
Next: School Facilities Plan Gets Airing

Comments

Interesting. She was fired by Fenty. Don't you think she would have lashed out at him? It doesn't sound like she really tried to get back at the Administration.

Posted by: Chris | September 19, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Her lawyer was there with her.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it a wonder for the dc government to get anything accomplished under this administration? directors of CFSA, OPM, DOH,DOEE,& now DOES have been replaced.
By dismissing her, one more dc agency is thrown into disarray with the learning curve and direction unnavigated. it seems to me that other department heads know that their leader will not support them to save himself. yet dr. gandhi remains.

like the Barry administration, seems like the zdistrict is becoming the last resort place to work. so much for leadership and change under this Mayor.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

In one swift Summer, Mayor Accountability taught a boatload DC students that they can show up to a job and sit around all day, or not, and still expect to get paid. He's cultivating the future DC government workforce. And the beat goes on . . .

Posted by: Sheckycat | September 19, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Her testimony was an example of class and sophistication - this was an opportunity to lash back at the people that sold her out but instead she focused on the issues and the facts. The Fenty administration should take note and learn from this example.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This Mayor has selective decision making when comes to whom he decides should be kept or released from government service. He was elected to be a reformer, but instead he has become just another politician who seeks to enhance his public career at the expense of real and substantial change, and being fair in the process. I believe it is time to recall this mayor.

Posted by: Jerome | September 22, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Jerome, you're right on it!! Sheckycat, hear hear!! I don't think she was lashing back at anyone. Instead, she was forthcoming to show up, especially since she wasn't invited and should have been. After all, she carried out the mayorial directive that caused the debacle. I think that shows character and grace under fire.

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 22, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Jerome, you're right on it!! Sheckycat, hear hear!! I don't think she was lashing back at anyone. Instead, she was forthcoming to show up, especially since she wasn't invited and should have been. After all, she carried out the mayorial directive that caused the debacle. I think that shows character and grace under fire.

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 22, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Last night at the Ward 5 Democratic party straw poll, Democrat Kwame Brown received 41 votes,Independent Democrat, Mike Brown received 29 votes, Republican Carol Schwartz received 20 votes, Independent Dee Hunter received 10 votes and Independent Mark Long received 3 votes. The results are in and both Browns, Kwame and Mike are the winners! It appears we are headed for the "Brown Brothers" for our two at large seats.
Carol, take a hint from the voters in Ward 5. Your days are numbered. Thanks for your years of service to the District. But everything must change.
Congrats to the winners Kwame Brown and Mike Brown!

Posted by: Ward 5 Voter | September 23, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

She was in over her head to begin with. It's an unfortunate incident, but hopefully they will get someone more seasoned in the position next year.

Posted by: joe b | September 24, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody tell me how I can get in touch with Summer? I worked for her while she was the director of WORC, a regional non-profit. I am having difficulty finding her contact info.

This is one savy lady. She'll be fine.

Thanks!!!!

Posted by: Paige Parker | September 24, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company