DC Mayor’s ‘Unqualified’ Mental Health CEO Resigns After 1 Month


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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The man tapped to head Washington, D.C.’s mental health services resigned late Monday just one month after taking the position amid a trove of lingering questions over his qualifications.

Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed James Kyle to head St. Elizabeth’s Hospital March 2, citing his vast experience as a “nationally board certified health care executive with over 30 years of experience in the medical field.” That claim was proven false by Kyle’s resume, which shows just 10 years of work in the medical field, reports Washington Business Journal.

Kyle served in the Army for nine years after which he worked as a manager at a nursing agency. His resume shows a year-long stint as a nurse recruiter for the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Francisco. He also briefly held a position as a professor and diversity officer for an online, for-profit university. (RELATED: Critics Blast Mayor’s ‘Unqualified’ Pick To Run DC Mental Health Services)

Officials at the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DMH) praised the mayor for her choice, saying staff were excited to have him come on board. DMH director Tanya Royster said at the time critics within the department were just jealous of Kyle.

“I’ve been impressed with what he’s done in the first couple of weeks that he’s been there,” Royster told The Washington Post. “Unfortunately, people are bitter, angry and disappointed that they did not assume leadership.”

Before taking the top post at St. Elizabeth’s Kyle was chief executive of a hospital on an American Indian reservation which had its emergency services shut down after officials found risks to patients. The hospital risked losing federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid after officials uncovered a series of violations, including an incident involving a women giving birth alone on a floor. It’s unclear what his contributions were as he only served in the position for four months.

The lucrative position in D.C., paying $171,000 a year, drew criticism from all sides due to the mayor’s confusing appointment. The mayor and Kyle are not commenting on the resignation. Kyle holds a doctorate in leadership from Charisma University, a school in the British West Indies which is not accredited in the U.S.. Previously, the University of the District of Columbia rejected Kyle for a medical position after finding insufficient experience in his background, reports The Washington Post.

Royster will take over Kyle’s position until city leadership finds a suitable replacement. Council member Yvette Alexander said the resignation came as a surprise to her. Alexander said Royster blamed the resignation on the false perception around his qualifications.

“She just said it was too much negativity off the bat,” Alexander told The Washington Post. “She didn’t feel he would have the opportunity to do his job without the distraction.”

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