DSS leader wants to bring in new people with ‘better ideas’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Mayor Dwight Jones’ pick to oversee Richmond’s troubled Department of Social Services told CBS 6 she wants to “bring in new people with better ideas” to work for the agency.

Debra Gardner is the new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Human Services, which means she will oversee DSS, Justice Services and Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

Gardner worked as a social worker for seven years, and most recently held an administrative position with Virginia’s Department of Corrections.

“I am ready for this,” Gardner said.

She is the third person to take over the leadership position in the past couple of years.

“Are you aware of all the problems this agency has had?” CBS 6’s Melissa Hipolit asked Gardner.

“You’ve had to be living under a rock not to…but as far as knowing the details, no I don’t,” Gardner said.

Most recently, the city’s top investigator found DSS employees were closing cases of potential abuse without properly investigating them.

Gardner told CBS 6 personnel changes, and better training, are her top priorities to fix the issues.

“Once you start bringing in new people with better ideas and better trained…we will be able to recruit and retain better people in those positions,” Gardner said.

She said she plans to work closely with City Auditor Umesh Dalal to improve the agency.

“We did talk to the Inspector General, and I understand they have laid out some of the issues and that we are going to address all of those things they have pointed out to us,” Gardner said.


  • Glen Allen

    With all of the new Agency leaders coming in saying they need to bring people in from out of town, wouldn’t it be easier to just have everyone in Richmond just move out? I know they have to do what they have to do, but it seems like with so few at the wheels from Richmond, just doesn’t say very much about the City – All the more reason to work on that school system…

  • manalishi

    “DSS leader wants to bring in new people with ‘better ideas’. BS. This group will retain the same lack of personnel standards for hiring practices.

    There is no way Any faction of a democrat administration will hire outside of of their agenda/disease regardless of credentials or performance.

      • manalishi

        The most obvious common denominator in today’s political climate of failure/fraud is democrats.

    • Mike

      You don’t believe that yourself. You’re obviously a die hard republican for no reason. Both sides of the aisle has issues.

      • manalishi

        Sorry princess, I consistently bash all a**holes. Democrats are trashy by a 20/1 ratio. I didn’t cut bush any slack and laid waste to Mcdonnel over policy. Your either independent, or your a dependent, at least if you follow party lines.

      • manalishi

        Furthermore, only a stereotypical democrat would ever dream of telling someone what they do or do not believe. I suspect university jr, pre law? or wannabee? Surely not professional. State your position, not mine.

        Class dismissed.

      • Mike

        Pure fluff….as usual. Thinking you’re schooling someone, please. tsk, tsk! Run along internet bad boy.

  • me

    The Richmond Mayor does not speak well for Positively Richmond,
    or it’s Profession Workforce.
    He always deliberately seeks out Outside, Political, Imports to
    Build a Better Richmond: Bryon Marshall, Carolyn Graham,
    Doris D. Moseley, Dana Bedden, Adrienne E. Goolsby, etc.

  • shanienee

    I personally think that as far as CPS is concerned, someone that is not from here is the best choice. The workers are to laid back and a lot of them do not care about the kids. I’ve been saying for months that someone from the outside needs to run the agency….AND I DON’T LIKE THE MAYOR!!!!!!
    CPS needs to be cleaned up and the workers who closed cases that should not have been closed need to be held accountable for what happened to the kids left in those situations, as well as their supervisor (at the time) for signing off on it and letting it ride….as well as the negligent parent(s).
    If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. If you don’t want to protect kids, don’t be a social worker.

    • reeltime

      Unfortunately the last DSS director, Dr. Carolyn Graham came from the “great” city of DC hired by……..Byron Marshall. As a remeinder he also hired the lastest winner of Richmond’s “Price is Right”, Ms. Judkins. Ms. Graham brought with her her sidekick, Gayle Turner, who according to Washington Post articles was asked to resign her position in DC in 2003.. And we all know how these two did such a fine job running those departments under them into the ground and seriously jeopodized the lives of many children. Maybe it’s not where they come from, maybe it is the hiring authority and the “qualifications” looked at in the hiring that need to change.

  • me

    Pretty certain there is are already established mission statement, purpose, and objectives. Additionally, rules, regulations, standards,
    operating procedures already set.
    Quite certain Human Resources has their own set of rules, regulations, standards, hiring practices, established job descriptions, with standards for evaluation, and job prerequisites, along and operating procedures.
    The Mayor’s Rule is to bring in bring in Outsourced Imports, tell us how
    good they are, and two years down the line, they have FAILED too.
    It the Party rotation game, Party musical chairs game and Party
    Consistently Failing. See the Party MO of promise/lies/Failures?

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