Those damn citizen journalists in Centerville

The Dayton Daily news can barely figure out how to deliver an accessible online paper to my iPad- and even when they do, they don’t know a story when they see one.

Of course, when they let City PR Folks write the stories for them, and still claim to be a newspaper, we have a problem.

But, here I go, sharing some research put together by a citizen journalist on Facebook. Constance Myers put together the time line of Wild Wayne Davis as City Manager for Cold and Bitchy Centerville. Since FB requires membership, and not everyone wants to be used by Mark Zuckerberg, I’m sharing it here on esrati.com because it’s worthwhile to read and because I’ve been recovering from surgery and haven’t had time to research and write much. This was my first blog post about it: Centerville citizens starting an insurrection

Enjoy. Note to Centerville Council- you have a problem on your hands. In case you still don’t get it.

As Wayne Davis begins his fourth year as Centerville City Manager, let’s take a minute to review his accomplishments.
August 2017
Wayne Davis is hired as City Manager after a “nationwide” search.
According to his contract and per the City Charter, he has three years to move into the city of Centerville
Fall 2017
The city manager begins making threats and publicly calls out and dresses down staff members
The new culture of fear and intimidation begins
2018
February:
HR Manager (Jennifer Wilder, 15 years with Centerville) resigns and
Police Chief (Bruce Robertson, 30+ years with Centerville) retires.
April:
Economic Development Administrator (Nathan Cahall, 12 years with Centerville) resigns.
May:
Mayor Compton is notified of the decline in employee morale and staff’s concerns about the city manager’s behavior
September:
Assistant to the City Manager (Kristen Gopman, 13 years with Centerville) resigns (that makes 4 senior staff)
October:
Deputy Mayor Belinda Kenley is made aware of senior staff’s concerns regarding the city manager’s behavior
Several staff members go to Mayor Compton about employees’ ongoing concerns regarding the city manager’s dismissive and bully behavior
December:
Finance Director (Jonathan Hudson, 5 years with Centerville) resigns (#5)
2019
February:
Assistant Finance Director (Cindy Ryan with 2 years of Centerville service) resigns (#6)
March:
The second HR Manager, a Wayne Davis hire, (Jennifer Brumby) resigns after less than a year
Community Resources Manager (Maureen Russell Hodgson) resigns after 26 years of service (#7)
Citizens contact the Dayton Daily News about their concerns in the number of senior management departing Centerville
April:
City Planner (Andrew Rodney with 5 years of service) resigns (#8)
City Council responds to the numerous citizens’ concerns about the eight senior staff members’ departure by writing and signing a public statement supporting the city manager
Turnover continues at the City but City Council never asks current or former employees why they are leaving in such unusually high numbers. Exit interviews should provide some clues:
May:
Economic Development Administrator Holly Christman resigns after 6 months in the position. (Second person hired by Wayne Davis to resign)
The city decides to rebrand downtown Centerville to Uptown Centerville. (How many of you are calling it that?)
July:
The city buys the former Dewey’s property, between Town Hall and Burke Orthodontics–which had been for sale for about five years. Washington Township was close to finalizing the purchase of the same property when the city found out and then outbid the township. The township had plans to create a Founders’ Park on the land, which still sits empty. https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-govt–politics/washington-twp-centerville-odds-uptown-property/hgEdrr3QC8awOSo0v6iqhK/
August:
The City applies for a $1 million grant from Clean Ohio to purchase “park” land at the Cornerstone Development. This is undevelopable land that had been offered by the Cornerstone Developer (Oberer) at NO COST to TWO separate park districts– the Centerville-Washington Park District and the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District. BOTH park districts had declined the offer. But the city applies for a $1 million grant to pay for the property.
The grant application is called an “unusual and atypical” request by the Ohio Public Works Commission chair. The board asks to further review the application.
Because the application meets the “minimum qualifications,” the board awards Centerville the grant. Centerville pays the Cornerstone Developer $1 million for land that had been offered at no cost to two park districts.
The city announces a $146 million redevelopment plan for the former Kroger site at Centerville Place. This is the first significant development under Wayne Davis’ leadership. It proves to be short-lived and falls through five months later.
October:
HR Manager #3 Rory Garrity resigns after six months in the position. A decision is made to not advertise the position until after the election and “things settle down.” She is the third HR manager and the third hire of Wayne Davis to leave Centerville. The city brings on an acting HR manager– on contract since that time.
Despite the huge turnover in staff, several newspaper stories and numerous concerns from residents, City Council renews Wayne Davis’ contract, rewarding him with an 8.5 percent raise bringing his salary to $183,414 a year plus a $4800 annual car allowance. Davis is also permitted to bypass the City Charter residency requirement and continue living in his Washington Township home, becoming the first Centerville City Manager to do so. Mayor Compton says he has “done tremendous work” and Councilmember Joann Rau says she is “impressed” by the progress he has made.https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-govt–politics/centerville-agrees-new-three-year-deal-with-city-manager/S2e2qVulUSbKtSijlpQONM/
November:
Sgt. James Myers is put on administrative leave for writing a letter in support of another employee
December:
Public Works Director (Doug Spitler with 15 years of Centerville service) resigns, (#9 of prior administration’s senior staff to do so)
2020
January:
The Centerville Place developer decides not to go forward with his $146 million project
Chief Building Official Dan Sammon resigns, three months shy of his 30th anniversary with Centerville
March:
City Manager Wayne Davis fires Police Sgt. James Myers
City Council refuses to answer questions by citizens posed at City Council meetings regarding Sgt. Myers, claiming they do not get involved in City personnel matters
April:
A Facebook page “Support Sgt. James Myers” begins and over time, members uncover Wayne Davis has an arrest record including a Domestic Violence (DV) charge and Operating a Vehicle while Under the Influence (OVI) charge. He immediately petitions to have his records permanently sealed. The page shares public records showing that City Council continues to refuse to answer questions regarding Sgt. Myers.
May:
The new communications director, with ties to WHIO and the Dayton Daily News, writes a “news release” that appears verbatim as a story in the DDN.
The reporter for the Dayton Daily News, Wayne Baker, is let go
Records requests show that assistant city manager Mariah Vogelesgang, Council member Mark Engert and others reviewed and made revisions to the “story”
June:
The Centerville Personnel Appeals Board rules on Sgt. Myers’ suspension and decides in favor of the city.
IT Manager (Scott Ontjes, 11 years of Centerville service) resigns. He is the last direct report on staff prior to Wayne Davis’ appointment as City Manager to leave. All eight senior managers–with a cumulative total of more than 100 years of experience and dedication to Centerville have moved on to other positions. While Mayor Compton and Belinda Kenley are aware of the many concerns brought to them by employees, City Council never asks any of these employees the reason for their departures.
August:
The City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Mayor meet with residents of Yankee Trace over a personnel matter (see March, above)
Sgt. Myers’ termination case goes to arbitration
Police Chief Matt Brown refuses Jeff Williams, retired Centerville Police Officer, request for fire arms recertification. Has he denied any other retirees this service?
Threats continue to be made to employees. Council continues to support the city manager’s and assistant city manager’s behavior.
What will Year 4 bring?
And, if you are wondering what I’ve been up to lately, you’d be smart to subscribe to the Reconstructing Dayton site where we are building a case for eliminating all these little banana republic dictatorships in Montgomery County and replacing them with a single, responsible, professional government (sort of like Kettering- only without a huge council). We’ve been busy getting facts on how much all these stupid jurisdictions cost us all- and how we could cut our taxes and get better government if only we actually knew how stupid expensive they all are.
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