Rochelle Webb leaves D.C. employment post after three months

Rochelle L. Webb, head of the District’s employment services agency, is leaving her post after only three months, according to sources in Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s administration.

Webb was recruited to run the Department of Employment Services from Arizona, where she ran that state’s Department of Economic Security. DOES administers the city’s unemployment insurance program and runs job training programs for youth and adults. It also manages the city’s controversial Summer Youth Employment Program.

Senior DOES managers were told in a staff meeting this afternoon about Webb’s departure.

Webb leaves after being implicated in a pair of Gray administration controversies. Her son was given an appointment in the Fire and Emergency Services department, one of several children of Gray allies hired to city jobs. And Gray has come under fire for temporarily housing Webb in the tony W Hotel while she looked for a D.C. home — costing about $5,000, according to a Washington Examiner report.

Webb went before the D.C. Council for a confirmation hearing on Feb. 14 and was expected to be confirmed easily.

The departure is a major setback for Gray, who promised an intense focus on lowering unemployment and improving job training for District residents. Webb was expected to lead a transformation of an agency that had been heavily focused on the summer jobs program in recent years.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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