Denver Direct: What Does It Take to Fail in the Hickenlooper Administration?

Friday, September 11, 2009

What Does It Take to Fail in the Hickenlooper Administration?

How badly does a department head have to screw up before being completely dismissed from the musical chairs of upper management in the Hickenlooper administration? Apparently, the death of 4 children in 9 months in the child welfare bureau you are managing is not sufficient. Witness today’s announcement of the appointment of Roxane White as Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff.


“Roxane White has been manager of DDHS for five years, but the deaths of three children who had cases with the department brought Human Services under intense scrutiny in recent months.”

Mayor John Hickenlooper said he was sad to see her go and her leaving has nothing to do with the recent problems at DDHS.
“There were mistakes, people made mistakes, they’re going to correct them,” Hickenlooper said. “They are already retraining people, but Roxane White as a leader is as good as you’re going to get.”
Hickenlooper said White had other opportunities and he’s just happy that she’s staying in Denver to work on family issues.
White said Tim Marquez called her to offer the job and it was a job she could not pass up.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. “Foundation jobs don’t come along that often and start-up foundation jobs really don’t come along that often and its a chance to do some really wonderful work in the community.”

But now, after 18 months, she’ll be leaving that “once in a lifetime opportunity” to become Hick’s Chief of Staff.


White previously was manager of the city’s Department of Human Services from 2003 to 2008, where she oversaw 1,200 employees and a $300 million budget.
“Roxane is a rare leader who has both the vision and the skills to get things done,” Hickenlooper said in a statement Friday. “Her passion to help people at all levels will help us keep building this great city.”

“I am delighted to return to work with Mayor Hickenlooper and the city team,” White said. “Kelly Brough, Cole Finegan and Michael Bennet each set a high bar for the chief of staff and it is an honor to follow them. I want to keep their positive momentum going and build on the service city employees are providing to our community.”
She will take the post at a particularly challenging time, with the city facing severe budget cuts and possible police layoffs as a result of reduced tax and fee revenue.

(Strangely, two other videos associated with the same report seem to have disappeared.
• Video: Denver Human Services Reneges On Vow To Hire More Workers
• Video: Dept. Of Human Services Chief Resigns)