Valda G. Washington, the city’s director of human resources, has been placed on paid “personal” leave, effective Monday, sources with knowledge of the situation said.
Jared Kupiec, the mayor’s chief of staff, sent an e-mail to the city council Tuesday morning notifying them of Washington’s status. He did not say why she was placed on leave.
“As you may already be aware, it was announced to department heads this morning that Valda Washington is on personal leave (she will continue to collect full pay and benefits),” Kupiec wrote in the e-mail. “Her duties as director of human resources have been suspended and [Chief Operating Officer Saundra] Kee Borges has assumed all managerial responsibilities of the human resources department. Additionally, Valda will not be reporting for duty but will remain available to confer with the mayor, chief of staff, chief operating officer and office of the corporation counsel.”
Sources said Washington’s employment was terminated Monday, one day before her one-year anniversary with the city. She was hired March 19, 2012.
Sources said the termination stemmed from an apparent personality conflict between Washington, Mayor Pedro Segarra’s office and Jose Colon-Rivas, the city’s director of families, children, youth and recreation.
Maribel La Luz, Segarra’s spokesperson, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday. Washington could not be reached for comment.
Washington worked previously as chief of staff for the human resources department in Markham, Ill. In announcing her hiring last year, Segarra described her as “a senior-level human resources professional” with more than 20 years’ experience “implementing and managing cost-effective human resource programs.”
She replaced former Human Resources Director Santiago Malave.