Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Banished to the Toledo water department

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    Janet Schroeder, manager of the Department of Utilities, and other committee members attended the meeting.

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    Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson

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Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson

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Toledo’s water department has plenty of help on hand these days.

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson transferred her public information officer Janet Schroeder there Tuesday, shortly after sending grant writer Dorothy Spurlock to the department. 

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Ms. Spurlock — hired despite a citywide hiring freeze at the behest of City Councilman Larry Sykes — was transferred and given a nearly 40 percent pay cut after blowing a May deadline to apply for a $1.1 million grant. The grant would have funded a job-training program for youth working on Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority properties.

It was not a demotion, the mayor said. The water department needs grant writers.

It is not known why the water department needs a public information officer. She also will take a pay cut from $69,920 to $63,434 a year.

The mayor also hired a replacement for Ms. Schroeder Tuesday — Reena Dar will be the city’s new assistant chief operating officer and get paid $88,000 a year.

Why do Toledo city staffers who seem to fall out of favor or make mistakes end up in the water department? Is shuffling staffers off to some purgatory department really the best way to manage personnel?

If the mayor is looking for a low-risk department where employees are unlikely to be able to do harm, surely the water department isn’t it. In Toledo, water issues have a history of being high stakes, as we all remember from August, 2014.

The latest moves are yet more evidence that the city’s administration has no real grasp of administrative competence.

Toledo’s citizens should be able to expect competence among professionals hired to work for their city and competence from elected leaders who are doing the hiring. Instead, it seems Toledo city government is treated like a jobs program for the buddies of well-connected officials. A city must have a staff of capable and competent professionals taking care of its business, not political appointees and patronage hires.

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