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October 13, 2005
The Poor Bureaucrats Of Washington DC

The Washington DC Dept of Human Services tasked with assisting the poor of the nation's capital have apparently found an easy way to identify them -- they all work for the DHS. The Washington Times reports this morning that DHS employees account for half of all bonus money paid out by the city administration, where almost 400 employees took home a half-million in extra cash:

The D.C. government employees tasked with providing care to the city's poor have taken home nearly half of the more than $1 million in bonus money awarded by the District during the first half of fiscal 2005.

Nearly 400 employees in the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS) received approximately $479,000 in extra money in their paychecks from Oct. 1, 2004, to March 31, 2005, according to D.C. Office of Personnel records. ...

During the past year, however, department officials have noted several improvements, including a reduction in teen-pregnancy rates and a recent award from the federal government for management of the city's food-stamp program.

But the department also has been criticized for the closure last year of a homeless shelter in Southwest. And a D.C. Auditor report in September 2004 sharply criticized the department's management of subsidized child-care programs.

The report said a lack of oversight "fostered wasteful use of District and federal funds."

Ask the people of DC whether they feel that the issues of poverty have been so relieved over the six-month period for which these bonuses were received that it warranted spending an extra half-million on bonuses for bureaucrats. From what I can find, poverty continues to increase in the District, not decrease. So why did these people get department-wide bonuses?

The City Councilman responsible for DHS promised an investigation into the payouts, noting that the agency doesn't have a sterling reputation for smooth operation in the first place. Adrian Fenty wants a "full scrubbing" of the department he oversees -- and one hopes he completes that before his upcoming mayoral campaign takes flight.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 13, 2005 6:30 AM

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