I returned yesterday from a family vacation to the news that the director of D.C.’s Department on Disability Services has been named. The new director is none other than Andy Reese, who has been interim director since Laura Nuss’s departure in early April. Here’s the mayor’s press release: http://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-muriel-bowser-names-andrew-reese-director-dc-department-disability-services.
This isn’t surprising news, of course, and it will assure continuity in DDS. That’s good in some ways since any new director from outside D.C. would have had a very steep learning curve. And Andy is a D.C. native with a lot of relevant experience, as the press release points out. On the other hand, inside DDS his focus has been on RSA, and his prior work has mainly been with children and young adults. This means he’ll need to put extra effort into getting on top of DDA and the Medicaid waiver, and issues affecting adults with disabilities in D.C. more generally. I also hope that Andy will “warm up” in his public interactions, since he often has seemed more at ease with facts, numbers and other technicalities and not as comfortable relating to the people affected by RSA and DDA programs.
Andy will have Jared (Morris, deputy director for DDA) and others inside DDA to help him out, but he’ll need for all of us to provide support and advocacy.
And on the subject of advocacy – The council will be back in session mid-month. Now is the time to make your voice heard – especially with councilmembers Yvette Alexander and Kenyan McDuffie – to get bill B21-0385 onto the agenda of the Health and Human Services and Judiciary committees. Read “Yes, You Really Can Do Something” from July 19 and earlier posts under the Advocacy label to get the background on this, or enter “B21-0385” or “commitment” into the box over to the right that says, “Search this blog.”
Project Action!, the very active self-advocates’ group coordinated by Heidi Case, is working hard to keep B21-0385 moving through the council, and is also active on other issues such as transportation concerns affecting persons with mobility issues and the upcoming November elections. Here’s the flyer for Saturday’s Project Action! meeting: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B489LE-2ltOgWHFIS0t0MFQ2RXc/view?usp=sharing. Do your best to attend or facilitate attendance at this important meeting.