How does nepotism happen in City Hall?

Either we have rules and policies, or we don’t. It seems there are two types of people who work for our city- honest, hard-working qualified types- and those on the “friends and family” plan.

I’ve written about the cronyism before. I’ve written about the patronage jobs. I’ve questioned how some families seem to be entirely on the city payroll, and nothing changes. No outcry, no investigations, no examination of qualifications. I get anonymous calls about hiring of people without testing or even posting of the jobs. I know of “contract” workers who get a nice check without having any real accountability, and I’ve known about this for a while- the lawsuit by former IT head for the City, Bill Hill- for wrongful termination, after he was forced to hire Rashad Young’s grandfather who turns out to be into kiddie porn:

before he left to take a job in Cincinnati in 2002, Young was named acting assistant city manager. Hill claims Young urged him to hire his step-grandfather, Charles Evans, as deputy director of ITS, according to the lawsuit. Hill acted on Young’s suggestion….

Problems escalated when Hill issued a reprimand to Evans for violation of the city’s sick leave policy.

“Evans exploded in response, accused Hill of being a racist, indicated he would take the matter to his grandson, and threatened that Hill’s employment would be terminated …,” according to the lawsuit….

Federal investigators entered the fray in 2006 seizing computers, disc drives, VCR tapes, compact discs and DVDs from Evans’ office and home. He pleaded guilty in United States District Court in 2008 to one count of possession of child pornography.

via City pays $145,000 in bias case.

Because of the hiring of someone on the “friends and family plan” we have a lawsuit, a bunch of legal fees (which were probably 3x the cost of the settlement) a department in turmoil, a perception of incompetence, and to top it off, the taxpayers now get to pay the settlement costs- which would have kept 2 police officers on the streets next year.

It’s time for a full-out examination of every hire on the city payroll. It’s time to not only terminate people who were hired for whom they know, but to terminate the people who hired them. It’s time for a professional management team to step up and start acting like professionals, because frankly, we can’t afford any more of these lawsuits or settlement payouts.

It’s also time for the city to stop sandbagging with legal maneuvers on the illegal firing of city traffic signal electrician Victor Pate who was wrongfully terminated for moving to Jefferson Township when the residency rules were overturned. The cost of the outsourced lawyers by far exceeds the cost of paying Mr. Pate back his lost salary and benefits.

Real professionals own up to their mistakes and do the right thing. Apparently we don’t have them running city hall. Rashad Young, you are not missed. The citizens of Dayton should be suing Young to recover the settlement costs of this case. An investigation should take place on how Evans was hired, and if it is determined that Young broke hiring rules, his pension should be at risk. It’s time to start setting examples, and this might be a good place to start.

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36 Responses

  1. Brad November 20, 2009 / 9:21 am
    “Rashad Young, you are not missed.”

    This becomes more and more apparent every day.  And I was actually one that didn’t think he was too bad… Lesson learned I guess.  The fallout of his poor decisions continues to come out. 

    Unbelieveable…… well, maybe not.

    Rhine McLin won’t be missed either.  Let the house-cleaning continue.

  2. Will Brooks November 20, 2009 / 10:44 am
    wow. I’m afraid to see what is under the rug. This is just nasty and I, like Brad, had the perception that Rashad Young was o.k. Good riddance – Greensboro can have you.
  3. Teresa Lea November 20, 2009 / 11:45 am
    It’s time for a full-out examination of every hire on the city payroll. It’s time to not only terminate people who were hired for who they know, but to terminate the people who hired them.

    I’d like to apply for that position, please :)

  4. Bruce Kettelle November 20, 2009 / 12:40 pm
    @Theresa, I hope you have a relative already working for the city  :)
  5. Jeff November 20, 2009 / 4:40 pm
    “wow” is right.  I did somee blogging questioning Rashad Young’s response to things like TIFs and the recommendations of that consultants study on ED, saying this guy was not really trying to think outside the box, but this is something else altogether.  True corruption.  Pressuring..er “urging”… your subordinate to hire your step grandfather. Woah.
     
     
     
  6. Will Brooks November 20, 2009 / 6:12 pm
    No wonder he left. If he were still here he would be taking all sorts of heat over this.
  7. Gene November 20, 2009 / 6:23 pm
    He would have been fired. This happens all too often, in government and in the real world :) In the real world it is OK, but here you are “taking” tax payers dollars. It is unreal. Tip of the iceberg too. I will beat one hundred bucks that over half of city employees “know” someone. But that is how the world works…..
  8. David Esrati November 20, 2009 / 7:09 pm

    @will and gene-

    He wouldn’t be fired. This case is old- started years ago. The City Commission is who would have to fire him- and they wouldn’t – because then they’d have to fire their patronage people too.

    Nothing would have happened. Nobody said anything about the retroactive raise he gave himself either.

    Pay attention people. You elect lame people, you get lame results.

  9. Judy November 20, 2009 / 7:51 pm
    There is soooooo much more to the Bill Hill story than what was posted in today’s DDN!!  He totally got hosed all the way ’round by Rashad and Dineen and the commissioners and McHat were all to happy to let the “Big Two” do the dirty work.  Rashad’s grandpa was a POS and had similiar issues at his previous employment before Jr. got him hired.  “Pressured..to hire..” is putting it mildy.  Rashad was livid when the Feds showed up and wanted Hill to deny them access into the building and all the records and ‘puters.  Hellllloooo?  Can you say “Obstruction of Justice”?  Did Rashad or Dineen know (or care) what price Hill would have paid had he denied the Feds access to the building when they had a Federal Warrant in hand?  Bottom line is they didn’t care!  Just protect grandpa, right?!

    I agree w/ Mr. Esrati completely:  the nepotism and cronyism HAS GOT TO STOP!  There is so much dead wood downtown right now it should come as no surprise to anyone what has happened to the City!  Unfortunately, I believe it’s too late…

  10. Jeff November 20, 2009 / 8:06 pm
    Looks like Dineen, too,  got out when the getting was good.
  11. Will Brooks November 20, 2009 / 10:40 pm
    Sorry to hear you feel that way. It’s not but we have to gather ourselves and come against this crap.
     

    Unfortunately, I believe it’s too late…

  12. Civil Servants are People, Too November 21, 2009 / 1:23 am
    Another fine example of burning all the bridges.   Here are nearly a dozen people pointing fingers for something that happened 7 years ago.   Just because it happened then does not mean that this is happening today.   Nor does one example make a trend.
     
    In 2002, Mr. Young was just that – young; making him a manager at age 25.    Perhaps THAT was the real mistake.   Inexperience and pressure are a dangerous combination.    It is still inexcusable behavior but certainly not the norm for local government.
     
    The implication that this is a common or accepted practice in ANY city is deeply offensive and is not to be make or taken lightly.
     
    Yet that didn’t stop anyone from jumping on this bandwagon, did it?
     
  13. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 6:34 am

    @CSAPT of course, you totally missed this post about the nepotism that’s running rampant in City Hall and County offices? http://esrati.com/?p=3293

    It’s not just Rashad, or Jim Dineen-  and the fact that the firing happened Oct 5, 2006 and the case didn’t settle till now- is indicative of a City Commission (who is in charge of final say on lawsuits) pushed it off until after the election because they didn’t want this out before it- is just another example of how morally off compass city hall is. Are you also going to make an excuse for the illegal retroactive pay raise Rashad gave himself? Or the culture of fear that runs through City Hall?

    Face it, they run it like a sorority house- with “friends” having jobs. If you are so sure there is nothing wrong, you should welcome the analysis of every employee’s hiring circumstances and qualifications. If you are just another broken part of “the machine” – you’ll say leave this alone.

    Rashad Young left town before we had to throw him out. His retroactive pay raise to himself was illegal. Admit that.

  14. Gene November 21, 2009 / 8:27 am
    He would have been fired – this is the first 99% of us are hearing about it, and yes people would have demanded he be terminated. When did you first find out about this DE? If you already knew then you could have posted something on it (maybe you did and I missed it) but if you are finding out about it via DDN then the situation would have been a lot different if he were still around. They know when the shit was going to hit the fan, that is why he got another job. What city? Please…… I will be more than happy to forward it to them, but I am sure they already know. But maybe the PEOPLE don’t know, just like Daytontians in this case.
    Even though I read this on DDN first, keep up the great work. The comment section here is the key, obviously. Along with you analysis.
  15. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 9:56 am

    @Gene- when Evans was busted, it was in the paper. That he was Rashad’s Grandfather- that part wasn’t clear. I’ve known about the lawsuit for months- but was unable to get the details and OK from Mr. Hill to write about it.

    The city settled- instead of going to court- because they didn’t want all the sordid details to come out. I’m trying to locate the court documents on Evans but the federal site is timing out.

    Feel free to write the paper and ask them why aren’t they doing their job reporting?

    And- if you want to forward this to Greensboro NC- feel free to do so.

  16. Gene November 21, 2009 / 10:48 am
    They should have settled. Less costly. The reason I ask you is bc I was unclear what you knew and when you knew it – I read the DDN all the time, but certainly miss or skip certain items, obviously I did in this case.

    The connection between Rashad and his step-GF is the key. Also, the child porn thing is what was mostly reported, right? How much of this law suit was reported? Maybe DDN did not know, tried to find out and were given bad info (regarding the relationship between Rashad and step-GF. The STEP part may have thrown people off.)  But one would think that Hill would have made that more than clear. Maybe he did. If there was no connection would there have been a lawsuit by Hill?

    All this though does not matter at this point. The truth is now out and is clear Rashad was doing something very very sneaky, to put it nice.

    Greensboro will find out. I will link this site, if OK. Give me a yes or a no before I do so.

  17. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 11:17 am

    @Gene- anyone can link to anything. That’s beyond my control. Cheers.

  18. Will Brooks November 21, 2009 / 11:25 am
    @Civil Servants are People, Too – Just curious, if things are on the level at city hall, as you seem to indicate, why don’t you use your real name?
  19. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 11:26 am

    Here is the comment from Bruce Kettells’s link:

    If the new mayor is smart the first thing he will do is get rid of City Manager Rashad Young. He left Dayton in shambles. Just look at his record in Cincinnati and Dayton.

    All you have to do is google LaShawn Pettus-Brown a college buddy of Rashad’s that got special favors in the form of $184,000 from the City of Cincinnati. http://www.irhine.com/index.jsp?page=home_empire
    He skipped town with the money. Scroll to the bottom of the article and read all about Rashad Young’s involvement.

    In Dayton he promoted another college roommate into a position that was created in the Water Department specifically for him. On his way out the door he attempted to abolish a union position to create a position for said college roommates wife. She was given job after job in the City on a part time basis so he could bi-pass the civil service process. He tried to create an unclassified position to put her in. To ward off the union the promotion was stopped and then she was moved to another created position in another department.

    He has a pending lawsuit for unlawful termination after he fired the ITS Director for cooperating with the FBI who was investigating his step grandfather Charles Evans who was the Deputy Director of ITS. He was arrested, tried and convicted of child pornograph. Images were found on his home and office computers.

    He settled a bogus department of justice case against the City of Dayton which essentially forced the City to pay out money to black people who never even applied to be police and fire fighters. He has essentially crippled the City of Dayton’s ability to hire any police or fire for the next couple years.

    He created a special apprentice program targeted at hiring minorities and giving them preference points for the police and fire exams. This lead to the DOJ investigation.

    These are just a few of his screw ups. All you have to do is Google him.

    If the new mayor is smart he will give Rashad Young his walking papers ASAP.

    It’s a nutshell of some things I knew- and others I didn’t.

    Most of which has been glossed over by the Dayton Daily News. And what’s more important- the people who hired Rashad, and let him get away with all of this- mostly got reelected.

  20. Civil Servants are People, Too November 21, 2009 / 3:15 pm
    Funny that the NC newspaper comment is from someone calling themselves “Dayton” – perhaps a local with a grudge?
     
    I am all for examining hiring practices.   I just don’t want to see a witch hunt that forces out good, hard-working people for the wrong reasons.
     
     
  21. Jennifer Alexander November 21, 2009 / 3:25 pm
    @CSAPT….if the “Friends & Family Plan” isn’t still current….then explain how did Sam Braun, Nan’s husband, get her old position with the county, after she was elected to commission???

    I’d really be interested to see if that “open position” was ever publicly posted & how many applicants there were, and  actually interviewed & were considered.

  22. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 3:47 pm

    @Jen- Sam’s job is in the County building- where of course, none of this cronyism/nepotism goes on (ROFLOL)

  23. Chad Snoke November 21, 2009 / 5:08 pm
    RE: It’s time for a full-out examination of every hire on the city payroll. It’s time to not only terminate people who were hired for whom they know, but to terminate the people who hired them.
    This is exactly the top of hotheaded nonsense that makes me question your judgment and leadership. Can you please explain the process you envision that would prove a wrongful hire? Dayton is a pretty small pond, it isn’t hard to know a commissioner or the mayor.. do you really think your judgment process is sufficient to fire someone who might have good reviews and be doing a competent job?
  24. Gary Staiger November 21, 2009 / 5:29 pm
    @Chad Snoke

    Can you please explain the process you envision that would prove a wrongful hire? Dayton is a pretty small pond, it isn’t hard to know a commissioner or the mayor.. do you really think your judgment process is sufficient to fire someone who might have good reviews and be doing a competent job?

    Looking forward to David’s answer, especially the part where the Big Exam takes place without causing total chaos among City employees.

  25. Wesley Wellbilly November 21, 2009 / 5:57 pm
    The civil service process pretty much covers everything as far as the fairness goes. This would be one investigation that would cost a lot more than it would ever save.
  26. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 8:00 pm

    And I suppose you just missed the point- that the city just spent $145K for the settlement- never mind the protracted legal fees that they’ve paid fighting this for the last few years.

    We’re also going to be paying Victor Pate all his back pay and benefits- thanks to the “enforcement” of the residency rule- after it had been struck down by the courts?

    The question is how long can we afford to keep paying for the mistakes brought by this system and culture of “friends and family”- and fear?

    We need a complete cultural change within city hall. We can start by finding out what three commissioners signed off on Rashad’s retroactive pay raise- and take it out of their salaries. We can also find out how it happened- in private- which is illegal- and hold them accountable for breaking the law.

    It’s time to clean up city hall- and all three of you- Chad, Gary and Wesley- are fools to think that leaving the status quo the status quo is more affordable than fixing it.

  27. David Lauri November 21, 2009 / 8:45 pm
    Can you please explain the process you envision that would prove a wrongful hire?

     
    I don’t know about examining past hires, but here’s how you work to prevent nepotism in future hires — you have a system where open positions are widely advertised,  where open positions have written job descriptions, where multiple candidates are considered and where candidates’ qualifications are compared to the job descriptions and amongst each other to show that a decision to fill a position was done fairly.
     
    When Charles Evans was hired as deputy director of ITS, was that position advertised?  In what publications?  What candidates were interviewed for that job?  I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the job was never advertised and if no one besides Mr. Evans was interviewed (was he even interviewed?) for the job.
     
    Putting policies in place to prevent nepotism isn’t rocket science.
  28. Jennifer Alexander November 21, 2009 / 9:22 pm
    @ David Lauri, with regards to county nepotism….from the county website Human Resource department, you can access  the Policy PDF…which step-by-step list the process for position posting recruitment, interviewing, testing & hiring. Which is obviously common  in any professional business atmosphere, although it does seem to have “gray areas”.  http://www.mcohio.org/services/hr/relations.html       Policies & Procedures

    I was not able to access any type of HR policies with the City of Dayton. A public records request may be needed.

    The SOS has a very stringent Ethics Code w/ the hiring process to prevent nepotism, this also applies to every county BOE & employee.   

    Like you stated this isn’t rocket science….yet, it seems there are so many family & friends & party connections that no one is willing to be the watchdog, with dirt on their hands. 

  29. David Esrati November 21, 2009 / 9:45 pm

    And, one other thing. I don’t publish everything that’s sent to me. And I get a lot of tips about people who show up for work one day- and do nothing, because someone got them a job. Keep the tips coming- I do talk to people who could do something to fix these problems- but, some of them don’t quite understand the importance of running an honest shop. They will soon enough.

     

  30. Gary Staiger November 22, 2009 / 2:21 pm
    @davud//I don’t recall any of the “three of us fool” ecer sayting or writing that the staus quo should be maintained. We didn’t.My question has to do with methodology. I’m concerned when you use phrases like
     

    I do talk to people who could do something to fix these problems- but, some of them don’t quite understand the importance of running an honest shop. They will soon enough. [added emphasis]

    Sounds eerily  like a Star Chamber approach to me.

    The Rashid Young story illustrates definite problems that need to be addressed, and possibly, prosecuted. Let the chips fall where they may if there is collusion among the Commissioners if it can be proven that they illegally interfered or facilitated his alleged improprieties .
     
    An old boy/inter-familia culture cannot not be the norm for employment practices for the city, that much we agree on.   How that issue gets resolved  [if it does] will have  long term repercussions, both good and bad. Good leadership mean being able to lead people out of the forest in such a way that you don’t have to burn down the forest to get them out and on a new path.

  31. Civil Servants are People, Too November 23, 2009 / 1:25 am
    Again, most of these posts make it sounds like local government is one big incestuous family.   I assure you that this is not the norm and we as professional public servants do not want to see such practices or abuses take place.   Believe it or not, it good governance on the staff level takes skills and abilities that not everyone has.   The bad apples pull the rest of us down in many ways.
     
    I agree, this is a small town.   Many of these supposedly “suspicious” cases can probably be explained by simple family values of hard work and public service.   If you run a steel mill, and your son goes to work in the steel mill, does that make you a bad family, or is it just a family tradition?   What makes public service any different?
     
    If you excel in any occupation, like government or advertising, you are likely to stay in that occupation for a long time.  So moving from one job to another over the years does not mean that you are not qualified.    Being related to someone is not sufficient evidence to claim abuse.
     
    I earned my job like most people do – with years of education and training.   Please don’t assume that these alleged bad apples represent the rest of us.
  32. David Esrati November 23, 2009 / 6:55 am

    @CSAPT- but, it happens, people get hired, despite the barriers in place, and the “bad apples” do exist? Will you agree to that?

    Would you turn them in? We’ve showcased some examples of this- and paid the price. Do you want to do the right thing, or continue with your head in the sand?

  33. mcohio November 23, 2009 / 7:59 am
    @jennifer, that HR policy from the County does not necessarily cover the offices of elected officials. Sam’s job is an appointed at will position and no subject to the policy you quoted.
  34. Penny Addis March 24, 2013 / 4:49 pm
    Nepotism practiced in Sedan KS.  (Sedan paper won’t report)
    Nepotism practiced in Sedan KS –  Sedan City Clerk (Sherri Miller) signs her husband’s (John Miller) paycheck & then hired her brother-in-law & now signs both their paychecks. Also, husband drives city truck, but lives outside city limits.  I find this falls under Nepotism.  Many of us in Sedan would like to see this investigated.
    Penny Addis
    Ranch Motel manager
    Sedan Kansas
    620-515-4898 
  35. David Esrati March 24, 2013 / 5:19 pm

    Hi Penny- I don’t know what I can do about things in Sedan KS- but- I hope people in Sedan rise up to vote the hacks out.

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