City official accused of sending misleading letter responds

Posted at 11:02 PM, Dec 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-09 07:19:12-05

CBS 6 Investigates

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A top Richmond city official accused of sending a misleading letter to CBS 6 News is telling her side of the story.

CBS 6 News reported Friday night that the mayor’s office had voiced concerns about the conduct of Carolyn Graham, the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services.

This came after Graham sent a letter to CBS 6 reporter Catie Beck, addressing accusations that the Richmond Department of Social Services was putting some children at risk by leaving them in abusive homes for too long.

That letter, which was delivered to the station last Tuesday, was signed with the name Tammy. But when CBS 6 contacted the mayor’s press secretary, Tammy Hawley, she said that Carolyn Graham had signed her name without her permission.

Graham released a statement to CBS 6 Saturday afternoon addressing the letter and some of the questions raised by the station’s series of investigative reports about the accusations against social services.

In regards to the letter, Graham writes that it was a mix-up.

“I was asked to respond and did so, not completely understanding the official process for distribution of a press release to the media and how that should be handled.”

Graham refutes the accusations that social services is not removing some children from dangerous situations, in order to keep foster care numbers low. 

“It is regrettable that certain individuals through their self serving interest and political calculations are seeking to tarnish the reputation I have spent a lifetime building … To be clear, while I support the philosophy of family preservation, it is not at the cost of sacrificing children.”

Finally, regarding CBS 6 being told by high-ranking city officials that Mayor Dwight Jones has decided to ask Graham to resign, she says, “any personnel actions concerning my possible departure are not open for public discussion at this point.”

As CBS 6 News reported Friday night, the mayor’s office says the situation involving the letter Graham sent to CBS 6 Tuesday was a very serious breach of protocol, and said that it violates any code of ethical behavior.

In her full statement, Graham touches on a number of other topics and allegations, including some that have not been reported by CBS 6. [BONUS: Click here to read  Graham’s complete statement to CBS 6 News]

Stay with CBS 6 News for the latest on this developing story. Depend on CBS 6 News for exclusive, in-depth investigations you won’t find anywhere else. 

CBS 6 INVESTIGATES: State investigates Richmond’s Department of Social Services 

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