The Rev. Jesse F. Anderson Jr. has resigned as head of the District of Columbia's federally funded $50-million-a-year CETA jobs program in what a city official called "a conflict of interest situation."
Anderson and City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers confirmed last night that Anderson submitted his resignation Thursday. Alan Grip, the city's communications director, said the action followed an internal investigation by the D.C. Department of Labor, which oversees the CETA program. Nearly 7,000 jobs are involved in the local program, mostly held by the young and disadvantaged.
Grip said he was told that Anderson's wife was the paid director of a CETA program for senior citizens at the Anacostia church where Anderson serves as rector. "When the matter surfaced, it became a conflict-or-interest situation," Grip said.
Anderson is rector of the Episcopal Chapel of St. Philip, 15th and U streets SE, in addition to his fulltime job as acting director of the D.C. Department of Labor's office of employability development.
The office oversees the city's participation in the U.S. Department of Labor's jobs program, financed under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, from which the CETA program draws its initials.
Some aspects of the CETA program, notably the assignment of employes of the City Council staff, have come under criticism for accusations of favoritism and politcal activity. Action by the U.S. Department of Labor and Congress forced the city to end the council's participation. Anderson was not personally criticized for the aspect of the program, however.
Anderson's resignation came to light as the result of inquiries by reporters. Rogers, the city administrator, said no official announcement was made because Anderson, as a bureau chief, holds a relatively low rank in the city government.
Although Anderson will leave the payroll July 29 after exhausting accumulated leave, Grip said Tuesday will be his last active day on the job.
Anderson said he decided to resign "simply to explore other career avenues," something he had been considering since last year. He refused to discuss the report of a conflict of interest. Rogers said only that he and Anderson "mutually agreed that he [Anderson] would resign."