**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday withdrew her nomination of Karima Holmes as director of the Office of Unified Communications in the wake of backlash from the city council over the pick.

Holmes, who has been the acting director since March after previously heading the 911 call center from 2015 to 2021, has come under fire from some council members for mistakes that took place under her tenure in which District residents lost their lives due to late, erroneous or misguided 911 calls.

Bowser learned last week that the majority of council members would not vote to confirm Holmes as the agency’s permanent director.

“We are incredibly grateful for Director Karima Holmes’ leadership at the Office of Unified Communications,” the mayor said in a statement Monday. “Director Holmes is a nationally recognized 911 expert and I was proud to have her return to OUC in March. During her service to the District, she filled critical agency staffing positions and oversaw significant technology upgrades that improved residents’ customer experience. Director Holmes was the right leader at the right time for OUC. She improved morale in a high-stress agency that had previously suffered from chronic understaffing.”

Bowser noted that the office handles more than one million 911 calls each year, one of the highest rates in the country.

She expressed her regret at withdrawing her nomination and said a national search will begin for a permanent director.

“As we conduct that search, Director Holmes will continue to lead OUC in an interim capacity for the next 60 days,” the mayor said.  

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