Three top managers of the District's Youth Services Administration -- including the administrators of all three juvenile facilities -- were put on administrative leave yesterday and a fourth employe was relieved of some supervisory duties, according to city officials.
The three managers were sent home on paid leave for 10 days in order to allow the agency's new acting administrator, Robert Malson, and other city employes to investigate possible mismanagement in the agency, said City Administrator Thomas Downs.
Placed on leave were Ray Meyers, administrator of Oak Hill and Cedar Knoll, two D.C. delinquent youth homes in Maryland; Julia Scott, administrator of the Receiving Home for Children, and Milton Douglas, deputy director of the Youth Services Administration. James Barron, an assistant administrator at the Receiving Home, "was relieved of some management responsibilities."
On Friday, the director of the youth agency, Patricia Quann, resigned under fire.
D.C. Social Services Commissioner Audrey Rowe placed the three on leave after an early-morning staff meeting at the Receiving Home in which she blamed Quann's resignation on a lack of support by the staff.
The leaves were issued "to avoid any question about chain of command" during the city's inernal review, Downs said. "It is not intended to reflect a prior judgment" on their ultimate fate, he said, adding, "It is in the best interest of the government that they not be in those jobs during that time."
An attorney of Douglas termed the leave "a bizarre reaction." The attorney, Dovey J. Roundtree, added, "We find no foundation for this -- if so the district attorney would have had him testify before the grand jury . . . " Roundtree said Douglas was one of 16 youth agency employes called before the grand jury this spring, but said he was not asked to testify.
Scott declined to comment. Meyers and Barron could not be reached.
In a related development, a dispute has surfaced on Capitol Hill on whether the House District Committee will schedule the promised follow-up hearing on possible violations by the District of federal laws on educating delinquent youths. A Sept. 10 hearing on this subject first raised questions about contracts awarded by the D.C. youth agency.
After the hearing, ranking minority member Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-Conn.) asked that the General Accounting Office investigate its contracts further. In the last nine months, the GAO has expanded its probe, and separate investigations into the agency's contracts and use of overtime have been launched by the FBI, U.S. attorney's office and the D.C. inspector general.
Johnn Barnes, an aide to D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, said there may not be a second hearing because "education is a local matter" and the initial hearing on whether the District was violating federal laws on special education "was improperly framed for the D.C. Committee." Barnes also said any follow-up on the educational problems within Youth Services may wait until after the GAO, FBI and otherse finish their work.
McKinney is attempting to get Fauntroy, who heads the District subcommittee on fiscal affairs and health, to schedule the follow-up hearing that was promised last fall, according to Republican committee aide John Gnorski.