director fired

District of
Columbia HIV/AIDS Administration director Lydia Watts was
fired Tuesday in the midst of ongoing criticism of the way
the district has responded to the AIDS crisis, The
Washington Post
reports. Watts, who was
appointed to the job one year ago by D.C. mayor
Anthony Williams, was fired by district health director
Gregg A. Pane, who did not give specific reasons for
Watts's dismissal but said new leadership is needed on
AIDS issues.

"There was an
urgency that people expressed about taking this
epidemic on," Pane told the Post. "I felt that
new leadership was needed for getting us where we needed to

dismissal came a week after the D.C. Appleseed Center for
Law and Justice released a report that said the
district’s management, supervision,
coordination, and staffing of AIDS programs is inadequate.
Reports also have indicated that federal AIDS funds to the
district have been poorly managed, with some grants
issued to organizations that provided no HIV services,
and that the district fails to compensate AIDS service
organizations in a timely manner, which earlier this year
exacerbated a fiscal crisis at the D.C.-based Whitman-Walker
Clinic, resulting in massive program cuts and layoffs
at the organization.

Pane did not name
a successor for the position but says he hopes to do so
within the next few days.

Tags: Health, Health

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