- The Washington Times - Friday, February 29, 2008


Ruling: Fired workers should be rehired

Three child welfare workers who were fired for failing to help four young girls found dead last month should be reinstated, an administrative hearing officer ruled.

The employees, whose names were not released, should not have been fired because the city violated their due-process rights, the hearing officer said. The decision was made last week and announced Wednesday. The three workers are union members and therefore entitled to administrative proceedings.

The city’s interim attorney general, Peter Nickles, said the city has no intention of rehiring the employees, noting that the hearing officer’s findings are advisory.

“The culture in this town is that there is not a strict sense of accountability when people do not do their duty, and as a result, people are hurt,” Mr. Nickles said. “In this case, we had the ultimate situation where these four kids were killed. We’re not going to accept that.”

The District’s Child and Family Services Agency is expected to make a decision on the case Monday, an agency spokeswoman said. If the workers appeal the decision, the case will go to arbitration, the union said.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty fired six child welfare workers shortly after the girls’ bodies were found decomposing in their mother’s city row house Jan. 9. Mr. Fenty said the workers didn’t do enough to follow up on complaints about the girls’ care. The employees included front-line workers and a division director.

The girls’ mother, Banita Jacks, remains jailed without bail on murder charges.



Teen gives mother a graduation present

A high school senior in Anne Arundel County gave an unusual gift to his cancer-stricken mother — he graduated early.

Officials at South River High School held a graduation ceremony for Devon Washington, 18, after doctors said his mother might not live until the scheduled June ceremony.

Devon donned his cap and gown Wednesday before family and friends from Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. Principal William Myers gave him his diploma as music played.

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