D.C. Summer Jobs Contractor Fired for Posts on Twitter

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 25, 2009; 8:17 PM

The D.C. Department of Employment Services fired a contractor who was working with youths in the city's summer jobs program after officials became aware of messages on his Twitter site that Anacostia is "ghetto" and that he was loafing at work.

David Le, who was working as a participant service specialist, was terminated yesterday, said Mafara Hobson, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).

"He no longer works for DOES," she said. "I can't talk about personnel issues."

The firing came a day after The Washington Post showed Hobson a month-long string of tweets from Le's page. "In america's ghetto anacostia... If I get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me," a message read on June 22.

On June 15, a message read, "thank goodness my boss is making things easy, he told me to pretend to do work so he can mark me down for hours."

Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), chairman of the committee that oversees DOES, called the messages "unprofessional, wrong and racist."

"To do that, I don't think it represents the high standards of the Fenty administration," said Barry, who represents Anacostia. "You can excuse one [tweet], but he has a series of them. It's excessive."

Reached through Facebook, Le declined to comment. In a Twitter message, he said he is Asian. The profile photo shows him shirtless and in sunglasses. Hobson said he began working on June 10 and was paid $13 per hour to oversee participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program.

His Twitter page was brought to the attention of the Post by David Hoffman, owner of an employment placement firm whose agreement to find jobs for 400 to 500 participants was terminated this week by the city. Officials said the firm improperly assigned some participants to go to development and construction companies to see if they were complying with a city law to employ District residents.

City officials said they knew nothing about the assignments. But Hoffman said the employment-services deparment endorsed the idea because the agency needed an activity that could employ large numbers of participants.

When the city terminated Hoffman's agreement, Le was one of the employees who contacted participants to tell them they would be getting new work assignments.

Hoffman said he found the tweets disturbing.

"One of the schools I am in charge of is Anacostia [High School]. If you are from here, you know ANACOSTIA . . . about 100+ murders in one year," said a tweet from June 15.

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