Woe Unto Our Transportation "Department"....and More Blunders From The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Woe Unto Our Transportation "Department"....and More Blunders From The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

According to The Capital, this is what Mayor Josh Cohen said when he learned that his staff did not properly conduct a background check for our new 122k per year transportation director. "There was a serious screw-up from an administration standpoint" he said. The Capital added that "Cohen said he made it clear to the Department of Human Resources that he was 'furious' a background check wasn't completed. But since the revelations, city police have looked into Newell's past."

Kind of like when he was furious that checks and cash were stolen from an unsecured area of City Hall, while he was upstairs with the finance director and police chief voting on the budget. It gets worse.  Readers who know of my interest in and intimate familiarity with our bus system have been asking why I have not yet weighed in on all the bad news from that pit of despair, that hell-hole of incompetence and bureaucratic bungling. Well, I just did...in case you did not notice.  More to come...I promise you.

I don't know the real story of Mr. Newell's background, and I am pretty sure it must have come up before when he applied for other jobs and built up his career. I don't hold him perpetually in jeopardy for crimes committed in his youth, decades ago. If he set himself straight and performed well and served his time, then he has paid his debt to society. I don't think it necessarily undermines his suitability for this job and it might make him a better manager and even leader. HOWEVER, it calls into question the suitability of Doug Smith and HR Director Kimla Milburn. I personally respect Smith but seriously question his background and the assets he brings to our government. However, I have little respect for Ms. Milburn based on nearly eight years as a city employee and my experiences on the city's employee recognition committee for many years. I have repeatedly expressed my displeasure at her job performance and to Cohen for retaining her. If it were not for highly dedicated employees in her office, who knows what might have become of our HR services....more...
Milburn and Smith completely missed this in their background checks. One can only assume that he went through a similar check with MTA and Cleveland where he worked previously. However, in just about any job application of which I am familiar--and that would include our city's application, your application and signature attests that all the information you provide is true and accurate. If I recall, the application also says, as do many others, that falsifying information or failure to provide certain information will void your application or be cause for dismissal should you be hired and found to have lied.

Did Newell do this?  He seemed to be forthcoming at City Hall, but was he as forthcoming in the application process if even asked? If he was not asked, should he at least have volunteered such information? Did the MTA know and keep it from our city as well?

In the meantime, I wish a warm welcome to Mr. Newell. I stand ready to be of assistance to you and give you every benefit of the doubt because we need your skills and experience. Welcome to Annapolis and good luck. I hope we can meet soon and I will honestly and clearly fill you in on a lot of the inside information you will need to know to navigate the politics and pitfalls of trying to do a good job in Annapolis--internally at ADOT and externally as well. As the former marketing specialist at your department who is also familiar with many other professionals and systems across the nation, I know full well how politics always enters in to public transit operations and management. Expect it to happen here--daily...and internally.

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