- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A decision by Interim Director Neil A. Stanley of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) not to inform staff that its chief of detained services was shot and would be away from work has raised questions and concerns among employees that he avoided appropriate notification protocols.

Youth Services Center (YSC) Superintendent Jeffrey Earl McInnis, who oversees an 88-bed secure facility for youth accused of crimes, was taken to Howard University Hospital on the morning of March 20. But Mr. Stanley did not inform employees until questions were raised nine days later by The Washington Times, according to an email he sent to staff on Tuesday.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently nominated Mr. Stanley to be the permanent director of DYRS, an appointment that requires confirmation by the D.C. Council. Last week, a coalition of labor unions issued a vote of no confidence against Mr. Stanley, The Times reported.

On Wednesday, Mr. Stanley’s office said in an email to The Times, “The agency did not immediately notify staff out of respect for Jeff McInnis‘ privacy.” In response to questions about whether Mr. McInnis was working at the time of the shooting, the statement read: “This is an open investigation, and, therefore, we are not at liberty to discuss any details of the incident.”

Mr. McInnis, a 43-year-old North Carolina native who resides in Maryland, according to the police report, did not return calls to his home and cellphone for comment.

In the early morning of March 20, Mr. McInnis walked into a Shell gas station on South Dakota Avenue Northeast and asked the clerk to call the police because he had been shot, according to a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) report.

The clerk who placed the call, Adugna Getachew, told The Times he called an ambulance and Metropolitan Police Department and that Mr. McInnis got into his car and drove to a construction company parking lot behind the gas station, where he waited until police arrived.

The police report, which says the shooting occurred shortly after 4 a.m., states that Mr. McInnis was pumping gas at a different Shell station about a mile and half away when a black male between the ages of 20 and 25, approximately 5-foot-7 and of medium build approached him from the driver’s side of his car “and began to shoot.”

Mr. McInnis escaped and drove to the South Dakota Avenue Shell station and asked for help, the report states. His injuries are not life threatening, and he is recuperating at home, according to DYRS officials.

DYRS and YSC staff say they were in the dark about the shooting and Mr. McInnis‘ absence from work for more than a week, as emails to him bounced back and he failed to attend executive staff meetings. “No one really knew,” said Tasha Williams, president of the Department of Corrections FOP Labor Committee. “And it looks like they had no intention of telling us.”

On Tuesday, The Times received word of the shooting and called Mr. Stanley’s chief of staff, Christopher Shorter, to confirm the incident. Several hours later, Mr. Stanley sent an email to the staff that read: “Our colleague and friend Jeff McInnis, Chief of Detained Services and YSC Superintendent, has been away from the office for the past week and a half recovering from injuries sustained during a suspected robbery. Unfortunately, Jeff was shot in his arm during this incident. MPD is actively investigating the matter.”

On Wednesday, labor officials expressed displeasure that their members were not informed of the shooting and Mr. McInnis‘ absence from work until after DYRS received calls from the media.

“We believe that it is important to the administration to let the public and the union know who is in charge, as it affects services provided to the public,” said Dwight Bowman, national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees, District 14.