DYRS official fired after questionable hire of Baynes

New Beginnings decision ‘part of it’

The District’s juvenile-justice agency fired its human resources manager last week in the wake of unresolved questions around the hiring of a superintendent to oversee the city’s youth-detention facility, D.C. human resources officials said.

Carol Godley was let go from the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) for performance reasons, but at least part of the reason for the firing had to do with the controversial hiring of Capt. Steven Baynes to lead the New Beginnings Youth Development Center, said Charles Tucker, general counsel for the D.C. Office of Human Resources.

“Part of it would have something to do with that, since she was supervisor of that as well,” Mr. Tucker said.

DYRS Director Neil A. Stanley told a D.C. Council oversight committee that he hired Capt. Baynes, who he had known for about 10 years, because he felt the U.S. Coast Guard veteran could instill leadership at the facility plagued by faulty doors, attacks on officers and a violent escape on April 18.

But council member Jim Graham, chairman of the Committee on Human Services, asked D.C. human resources to investigate the hiring in light of allegations the job posting was edited to fit Capt. Baynes‘ qualifications.

The council member said the editing between January and a reposting in March removed a requirement that calls for experience in juvenile justice, and that candidates were not vetted by a panel of experts as D.C. human resources had required.

Preliminary results of the investigation in early July found “irregularities” in the hiring, prompting human resources to rescind DYRS‘ independent hiring authority for one year, to suspend D.C. human resources personnel assigned to DYRS and to centralize all personnel process complaints with human resources’ general counsel.

On Monday, DYRS spokeswoman Ayan Islam confirmed that Ms. Godley is “no longer with the agency,” but declined to comment further because it is a personnel matter. Ms. Godley could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Stanley’s chief of staff, Christopher Shorter, “is temporarily overseeing the H.R. division until further notice,” Ms. Islam said.

Mr. Graham and council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, opposed Mr. Stanley’s nomination, citing his lack of experience, ongoing problems at the agency and the personnel investigation.

The nomination was voted down in committee, but Mr. Stanley was automatically confirmed after the full council failed to vote on the nomination on the cusp of recess. Mr. Graham, who could not be reached on Monday, cited the ongoing human resources investigation as a reason to hold off on the vote.

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