Thursday, May 12, 2016

Here's the Scoop

It’s taken some doing, but at last I have a fairly clear picture of how Laura Nuss’s successor at DDS is going to be chosen.  The selection process is being handled by the mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments (MOTA), headed by Steven Walker (, in very close collaboration with the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, Brenda Donald (   Based on conversations with Steve Walker, this is how I understand the process will unfold.

The position already is being advertised, with outreach through a number of different channels normally used for executive-level positions as well as more targeted advertisements to reach those already in positions similar to the DDS director job who might be interested in applying.  MOTA has not yet collected a large enough pool of candidates to move to the first round of consideration, and Walker is eager to receive specific names of individuals he might want to reach out to.  So if you know of someone – for example someone good in a DDS director or deputy DDS director job in another state – it’s important to let Steve Walker and Brenda Donald know.                  

By May 23 or so he hopes to have a pool of at least 4 or 5 viable candidates so that the first round of consideration can start.  This first round is most important for the disability community, because this initial panel will include stakeholders in addition to D.C. government representatives.  “Stakeholders” will definitely include representatives of DDS-affiliated commissions such as the State Rehabilitation Commission (SRC), the State Independent Living Commission (SILC), and the Developmental Disabilities Commission (DDC).  (See my page, “Acronyms and Organizations You Should Know,” for more background on these commissions.)  Beyond these, there are plans to include organizations such as the Quality Trust (, University Legal Services (, and Georgetown’s University Center (, and hopefully also the Family Support Council and Project Action!  I have encouraged Steve to include representation by the local D.C. Autism Society chapter ( as well, since the DDS-administered Medicaid waiver will hopefully extend eligibility beyond those with intellectual disabilities on the new director’s watch.  (See my earlier post, “On the Spectrum in D.C.,” October 23, 2014, at

After the field of candidates has been narrowed to the strongest 3 or 4, in a second round of consideration MOTA, the deputy mayor’s office, and the National Association of State Directors of National Disabilities Services (NASDDDS, will examine these candidates and narrow them down to a final 2 or 3, with the final round including Mayor Bowser, Deputy Mayor Donald, the city administrator, and the mayor’s chief of staff to make the final selection of an individual who will go before the council for final confirmation.

As I look at this process, I would anticipate that Andy will be acting throughout the summer.  I’ll do my best to keep you as informed as I can as I learn more about the timing.

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