WASHINGTON—D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services employees, represented by the American Federation of Government Employees Local 383, in a symbolic gesture yesterday voted “No Confidence” in the director of their agency, Vincent Schiraldi. Workers say Schiraldi is failing as director of the agency, with violent and tragic consequences for District residents, and should be replaced. Johnnie Walker, president of Local 383, has called for a public forum with D.C. elected officials to address the issue.
“The workers of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services were reasonable by allowing their new director time—in fact more than one year—to get up to speed on his job of protecting our youth and our communities from violence,” said Walker, “but after one year of ever more desperate circumstances and far too many lives lost, the employees no longer have any confidence in agency Director Vincent Schiraldi. For the sake of area residents and visitors, the agency needs a new, competent leader immediately.”
A recent media report indicated that during the past three years 52 youth were killed while in the agency’s system. Walker noted that the agency has about 16 after care non-management employees (i.e., those who assist youth while incarcerated at the agency’s Oak Hill Youth Center and after they have been released) and is in desperate need of additional social workers. In comparison, the agency has about 22 staff members in executive positions.
“AFGE has called for a public forum to address the climate of violence festering in D.C.’s communities,” said Walker. “If now is not the time to address this issue, in light of the upcoming mayoral election, then when? How many more grieving parents will D.C. be allowed to fail?”