Suspend, Demote 4 Top ACS Officials Over Boy’s Death
· By RACHEL CISTO
· 32 min ago
GLADYS CARRIÓN: Acts against key aides.
Four ranking employees at the Administration for Children’s Services have been suspended and are facing
disciplinary action as the investigation into 6-year-old Zymere Perkins’s beating death continues.
According to an agency spokesperson, an Assistant Commissioner and a Borough Commissioner in the agency’s Child Protective Division and a Director and Assistant Director in the General Counsel’s Office were demoted and suspended without pay for 30 days for their involvement in the case of 6-year-old Zymere, effective Oct. 11.
‘Failed to Follow Up’
According to the agency, the four managers are being disciplined for “fail[ing] to follow up about gaps in case practice,” and more actions could be taken pending the full review of the case.
A total of nine ACS staffers are now facing disciplinary action related to the case.
In the days after the boy’s death, Commissioner Gladys Carrión said five staffers—two caseworkers, two supervisors and a manager—who were directly involved in the case were placed on “modified duty” while the investigation is taking place.
The Daily News has reported that ACS workers Nitza Sutton, Alanna Davis, Frances Okeke, Lydia Rosado and Renee Lawrence were the five previously moved to desk duty for their involvement in the case, but agency officials did not name any of the disciplined staff members to THE CHIEF-LEADER.
Anthony Wells, the president of Social Service Employees Local 371, which represents ACS caseworkers, declined to comment on the new allegations.
Zymere was beaten to death Sept. 26, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend, Rysheim Smith.
His mother, Geraldine Perkins, had been investigated by ACS five times since 2010, and had three confirmed allegations of abuse in the last 15 months, though Zymere was never removed from the home.
Both Ms. Perkins and Mr. Smith were arrested on child-endangerment charges after Zymere’s death. Officials say the charges could be upgraded to murder once a cause of death is determined.
In a statement, Stu Eber, president of the New York City Managerial Employees Association, called the demotion of the four managers unnecessary.
Demotions a ‘Mistake’
“These managers are grieving this needless loss of Zymere Perkins’s life and take responsibility for their roles in this tragedy,” he said. “Suspending people who did not have contact with the family without pay for 30 days is a serious sanction. Demoting them is counterproductive to the ongoing development of ACS as the city’s primary protector of this most vulnerable population.”
Part of that ongoing development is a series of reforms introduced since the 2014 death of 4-year-old Myls Dobson. The agency created nine reforms after that case, and is working on implementing nine more suggested earlier this year by the Department of Investigation and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Mr. Eber said the demotion of the managers would make it more difficult for the agency to implement the reforms. “The Administration is making a serious error in demoting the very people who are most needed now to analyze and synthesize the four DOI and five Comptroller’s recommendations in order to create the policies, procedures, training and controls that can prevent other children’s deaths,” he said.