Nutter forcefully announces DHS shakeup - Philadelphia news

August 4, 2008 4:44:49 PM PDT
An emotional Mayor Nutter used strong language to announce more shakeups at the Department of Human Services after criminal charges were filed against DHS workers last week.

"I am fully, thoroughly, and completely pissed off about what has happened here. Behaviors exhibited by public employees is unacceptable and I am furious at their actions. When I think of my own daughter, and if she were in someone else's care, and they performed the way some of these individuals did, I would kick their ass myself," Mayor Michael Nutter said during a Monday morning news conference.

You can watch the entire news conference held by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter by CLICKING HERE.

You can see mug shots of some of the defendants in the case by CLICKING HERE.

The District Attorney filed criminal charges last week against nine people, including DHS caseworkers Dana Poindexter and Laura Sommerer.

They are charged in connection with the death of 14 year old Danieal Kelly.

The girl suffered from cerebral palsy and was allowed to rot to death in her bed.

The grand jury report was critical of seven other DHS workers, mostly administrators and supervisors, but they were not charged.

Today they were suspended, pending further action.

Nutter has ordered a thorough internal investigation of how the Kelly case was handled.

"It is possible that further suspensions and personnel actions will be made as a result of these investigations," the mayor said.

The fallout over the Kelly case began two years ago.

The DHS Commissioner at the time, Cheryl Ransom-Garner, was fired by Mayor Street.

Carmen Paris was acting health commissioner at the time of Danieal's death.

This weekend she resigned her current post as an assistant health commissioner.

The grand jury report accused her of interfering with the investigation.

Back in 2006, Mayor Street appointed an oversight committee.

It made a number of recommendations that were presented to Mayor Nutter in January.

He says many of the reforms are being acted on and that the DHS of 2008 is vastly improved.

A leading child welfare advocate disagrees.

Richard Gelles is dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

He testified before the grand jury.

Gelles says DHS continues to lurch from crisis to crisis with no adequate oversight.

Mayor Nutter says he has full confidence in new DHS commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose and health commissioner Donald Schwarz.

Mayor Nutter will be issuing new marching orders during two meetings tomorrow with the entire DHS staff. He wants the dedicated workers to know they're appreciated, but will be telling the slackers their days are numbered.