On September 14, 2020, the District of Columbia Housing Authority filed a motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment in response to the complaint filed against the authority and Executive Director Tyrone Garrett by Chelsea Andrews, DCHA’s former general counsel.
On April 8, 2020, DCHA, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, immediately prioritized the health of its families and staff, by obtaining personal protection equipment (PPE) for its essential employees. Among the PPE purchased, DCHA was able to obtain KN95 masks for use by its staff. These masks are similar to the N95 respirator masks, which were at the time reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders due to the global shortage. The masks could also serve as appropriate face coverings, as recommended by health professionals. Due to the immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCHA was able to authorize an emergency sole source procurement for the KN95 masks.
Andrews, in her suit against DCHA, alleges that DCHA violated its internal policies with respect to the purchase of the masks. Andrews’ allegations are without any basis, and are unsupported by evidence. DCHA’s only goal was to ensure that its essential workers had access to the best PPE available at the time.
On May 21, 2020, DCHA determined that Andrews’ contract with the agency would end, subject to the terms and conditions that were agreed to by both parties. DCHA acted within its discretion to make internal staffing adjustments to meet agency needs. Although Andrews may have been disappointed in DCHA’s decision to end its contractual relationship with her as general counsel, the terms and conditions of her employment were accepted and agreed to between Andrews and DCHA. Pursuant to those terms, Andrews has been paid all wages and other monetary amounts due.
DCHA’s personnel action had no relation to and did not affect DCHA’s obligations to provide PPE to its staff and to protect the families it serves.
That responsibility continues uninterrupted and remains the agency’s top priority. DCHA and its executive director intend to vigorously defend themselves against this suit, and any other associated claims.