Memo for fiscal year 2017, updated 2016-04-05

[Archived] What staff support is currently being provided to the Commission on Women and what support is proposed with the elimination of two positions in DCHS?

The Commission for Women is currently supported by the Director of the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and an Administrative Support temporary staff member.  The former DCHS Chief of the Office for Strategic Initiatives and liaison to the Commission for Women, left the City in April 2015.  Since that time, the DCHS Director has been serving as the liaison to the Commission for Women and has been attending its meetings and events. 

Since the spring of 2015, the Commission leadership has had knowledge that the position held by the Chief would no longer be serving as the liaison to the Commission, because the position would be re-classified and used in the reorganization of the operations and administrative structure of DCHS.  

The Commission has been in discussions to explore where they think they are most closely aligned with the mission of various departments, and where they should be most strategically focused in the future. The Director has remained as the liaison to the Commission as it was going through the exploration process as it was not clear what the final recommendations for the home and structure of the Commission might be. There have been ongoing conversations with the leadership and the entire Commission regarding the future focus and priorities of the Commission, as well as the most effective ways to move forward.  

Through this process, the Department has offered options for support for the assessment and development process, including the use of consultants, linkages to universities, as well as connection to other departments in the City.  None of these options have been selected, however Commissioners are currently reaching out to other Boards and Commissions to identify shared issues and to determine their priorities and next steps.

It is the belief of the Department that the most effective approach to support the Commission for Women would be provided through the Center for Children and Families.  This Center houses the Sexual Assault Center, the Domestic Violence Program, and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy; all programs of significant relevance to the Commission for Women.  The administrative support for the scheduling, coordination, minutes, and other duties would be covered by either permanent or temporary administrative support within the Department.  As with all other Boards and Commissions connected with the Department, staff who serve as liaisons and provide administrative support have other duties. Due to significant resource challenges facing the Department, it is not possible to dedicate full time staff to this work. Also, no other DCHS Boards or Commissions currently have full-time staff.

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