The D.C. Department of Human Services comes into being today with some new faces heading the city's health and welfare operations.
Like its forerunner, the Department of Human Resources that went out of existence at midnight last night, the new agency will have 8,298 authorized employes and will spend more than $440 million a year -- nearly one-third of the city's budget.
The agency administers an array of welfare programs and operates a network of clinics, group homes and special-care hospitals. D.C. General Hospital, once part of DHR, is now administered by an independent commission.
For now, all offices of the new department will maintain operations at the old locations.
City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers said the new department will be headed, at least for now, by Albert P. Russo. He was the director of DHR.
Named acting commissioner of public health was Dr. Roselyn Epps, previously chief of the bureau of clinical services. Named acting commissioner of social services was Audrey Rowe, previously acting administrator of social rehabilitation and a former special assistant for youth affairs for Mayor Marion Barry.
One top DHR official is leaving as the reorganization takes effect. Dr. Raymond L. Standard, 54, director of public health for eight of his 20 years in the department, said he is retiring to enter private practice.
Under D.C. law the mayor may propose a departmental reorganization, which takes effect automatically in 90 days unless the City Council blocks it by adopting a resolution of disapproval -- which in this case it did not do.