Monday, August 8, 2016

Things Don't Always Turn Out as Planned!

Just yesterday, I reported that I would be serving today on the first round of selection for the new DDS director.  Yet here I am, writing another blog post instead.  The panel is indeed interviewing, but I decided not to be a part of the process. 

As part of the pre-interview briefing, Mr. Walker, whom I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts (May 12 and May 26 of this year), passed out the non-disclosure agreement each of us was expected to sign.  It was small print, 4 or 5 pages (but who’s counting?), and in my personal opinion it was overly broad – way more restrictive than any personnel-related agreement I ever had to sign in my 30-plus years in government.  But whether I’m right in my opinion about it or not, we all frankly could and should have seen the agreement in advance - it certainly would have saved me a trip to the Wilson Building!  I knew, as I wrote in this blog yesterday, that I would need to protect the confidentiality of the specific candidates and their answers in the interview, but if I had signed I would have been unable to mention what topics were discussed today for two whole years!  To me, that would be inconsistent with my primary role of information sharing and issue advocacy, and I simply don’t want to have to ask myself when I sit down to write, “Now when exactly did I hear that information?”  I can be much more useful to the community by keeping the issues on the table, as openly as I can.  And let’s face it, the issues facing the District’s disability community just aren’t that much of a secret!

And I’ll tell you straight – the room was full of very able folks who will make sure the right questions get asked, and I hope most of them long ago read my post, “Here’s What I Would Ask” (May 26, 2016).  I did want to add a new question today about the balance between the CMS rulemaking on community-based supports and person-centered planning, an issue I raised in “Who’s Watching Out?” (February 13, 2016), but I’m not sure that would have made the cut since there wouldn’t be time for everyone’s questions.  In the end, my own two-cents’ worth would have been unlikely to tip the balance in the interview process today, and in any case there are going to be other rounds of interviews going forward, including one with the ultimate decision maker, the mayor herself. 

So hey, I have no idea who walked through the door after I left.  What I do know is that, whoever winds up as Laura Nuss’s successor, I’ll still be here to pester them.  And in the meantime – panel members, all readers, maybe Madame Mayor herself – keep reading.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August Update

The past few weeks have turned out to be pretty busy ones for me.  I hope some of you are enjoying a bit of vacation, and if all goes well I’m hoping to get some of that a little later this month!  In the meantime, here are some updates:

Project Action! folks got some quality time with a number of council staff on July 26, but unfortunately Yvette Alexander’s office didn’t agree to meet with them.  So – especially for folks from Ward 7 -  put the pressure on Councilmember Alexander (and others!) for a hearing on B21-0385 as soon as the council’s back in session in mid-September.

Quality Trust’s July 31 cruise on the Potomac was one of the best I’ve been on.  It was well attended, and great fun in spite of the steamy weather – most everyone stayed inside where there was air conditioning.  QT plays an essential role in advocacy and monitoring for folks receiving support in the District – so even if you didn’t make it on the cruise, give them your support year-round.  (And yes, I’m on the board.)  Next year the event will be on dry land.

I was surprised to get an email about a week ago from the mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments – the folks running the effort to replace Laura Nuss as head of DDS (check the separate page on acronyms if you don’t know what DDS is).  Tomorrow will be the first round of interviews for candidates who’ve applied for the position, and I’ll be there along with some other people who are involved in local disability issues.  There will be two more rounds of interviews after that  (see my posts, “Here’s the Scoop” from May 12 and “Here’s What I Would Ask” from May 26) so there won’t be any definitive results from tomorrow’s meetings, but I’m encouraged things are starting to move.  I won’t be able to provide specifics about the candidates given the nature of the process, but I’m  hoping to be impressed by the folks who’ve applied for the position.

Maybe I’ll have something more to write before the end of this month, but if not, watch this space in September.  And – small personal mention – this month marks two years that I’ve been writing my blog.  I sincerely hope you get something out of reading it.  Speaking for myself, it’s brought a large number of people into my life that I didn’t know two years ago, and I am so much the richer for having met you.