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Labor hopes escape leads to dialogue with DYRS chief
Cites post-escape actions
“Our biggest concern with Mr. Stanley remains a lack of qualifications and lack of experience,” Ms. Williams said. “But in light of this incident, he demonstrated an ability to take control, and after having no communication whatsoever, he has said he wants to begin talking with us.”
“The safety and security issues at New Beginnings itself are nothing new,” Mr. Walker said. “We’ve been saying it since it was built.”
Still, union officials see an opportunity to open city leaders’ eyes to what DYRS employees have been saying for years.
“The mental health of this youth involved in this incident is an issue, and we’ve been saying there needs to be a stronger behavior health component,” Mr. Walker said. “I think some city leaders may be recognizing that now.”
He told The Times on Wednesday he has not decided how to proceed with Mr. Stanley’s council confirmation hearing, scheduled for May 5.
“There are important questions of management and philosophy,” said Mr. Graham, who questioned whether Mr. Gray had conducted a bona fide national search for a full-time director. “Is Mr. Stanley qualified to lead this agency, and is there a proper balance between traditional detention and rehabilitation? I want to know his philosophy. Because if it’s to preserve the current balance then I’m not interested.”
Mr. Graham said he was in favor of rehabilitation but must be convinced it can work.
“We’ve had $2.5 million in repairs to that facility which tells me those youth are out of control,” he said. “We need to strike a better balance.”
Not all labor leaders with a stake in DYRS reforms were in a conciliatory mood this week. Kristopher Baumann, head of the FOP unit that represents Metropolitan Police officers, said the police union is leery of Mr. Gray’s appointment of Mr. Stanley.
“These are violent, dangerous criminals that this administration is trying to coddle - not children. In order for anyone to have a chance, they need to remove the violent and the super-violent away from society and the other juvenile offenders and focus the programs and resources on the juveniles that can be turned around,” he said.
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About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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