- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
D.C. mental health department scolded for BlackBerry spending
The D.C. Department of Mental Health in fiscal 2005 spent more than $30,000 on hand-held BlackBerry technology, prompting criticism from a D.C. Council member who says the money could have been put to better use.
“I understand everybody likes these gadgets,” said D.C. Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent and chairman of the council’s Committee on Health, which oversees the mental health department.
“I wouldn’t buy myself a BlackBerry,” he said of the wireless e-mail devices.
Speaking at a council oversight hearing of the department last week, Mr. Catania told mental health officials he had concerns about several other purchases, too.
For example, he questioned the “$75,000 for snow and ice removal whenwe have what is called a Department of Public Works that plows the streets.”
And, he said, contracts given to some mental health professionals appear high, including more than $148,000 to Jennifer Carter, a psychologist.
“She’s going to make more than the new director of the [Department of Mental Health] if I’m not mistaken, and that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense,” Mr. Catania said.
“We ought to be able to do it in-house for less,” he said.
Department officials, including interim Director Ella Thomas, told Mr. Catania last week they would review the contracts.
Miss Thomas told Mr. Catania that not long after her appointment in October that she was “confronted with multiple irregularities” in contracting and the department’s payments to service providers.
Linda Grant, a department spokeswoman, said Friday that mental health officials need the wireless technology because they are on call around-the-clock.
Miss Grant also said that while other city employees provide snow and ice removal for public roads, the department still has to clear off sidewalks and alleys at clinics and at St. Elizabeths Hospital, the District’s psychiatric facility in Southeast.
In addition, Miss Grant said the department is constantly reviewing its mix of employees and contractors hired for handling psychological-assessment cases, which are referred to the mental health department by the courts.
“One of the things we do as part of being fiscally responsible is finding out what is the best way of using our resources efficiently,” she said.
Unlike most other city agencies, the mental health department for the most part handles its own contracts.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- First Dog Sunny knocks down Ashtyn Gardner; Michelle Obama yanks leash
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.