Friday, March 25, 2016

Nepotism policy - Update to blog

Hi All,
I have lots to share about the upcoming 3/28/16 Board of Trustees meeting at Bloomfield Township
Let's start with:

4/8/16:  UPDATE: my opinion and facts:   
Nepotism... while alive and well in Bloomfield Township,  is something the "leadership" refuses to address and enforce.  Employees and "leadership":  many seek out and embrace the hiring of  "friends and family" for full, part-time, seasonal, election, and vendor jobs.   The employees are basically telling the trustees who they are going to hire and what equipment they want to buy and what contractors they want to deal with. Vendor requests are often written so only one company (their preferred one) can possibly meet the requirements.  The township seeks internally first to hire (basically asking who wants the job/ or who do they know that wants the job) and generally does not make job postings to the general public in an open and transparent way.

Latest example:  Fire Chief David Piche hired his son as firefighter/paramedic in 2015.  His son, Jacob "Jake" Piche  received his official badge at this meeting.  Supervisor Savoie and the Board of Trustees knew this fact.  They did nothing to correct it. They even "danced around a known fact" at a Study Session.  The E-News from the Township didn't even acknowledge the family relationship. Even the  3/28/16 minutes of the Board meeting (shown copied below) have no mention of family relationship nor the fact that the fire chief hired his son.  The township most likely will continue to "hide and deny" their failure to enforce a nepotism policy that is meaningful. 

****BACK TO THE ORIGINAL BLOG:  Nepotism Policy- Bl. Twp. Ignored?  Again?
AGENDA #2....  my comments

At a special study session on May 28, 2015....Nepotism policy was discussed in a "round-about" way.  Perhaps it was brought up because Fire Chief Piche's son, Jake, was recently hired in as a firefighter/paramedic first year/trainee.   That name, Jake Piche,  however, never was mentioned at the meeting because?? public was in attendance??   the press was in attendance?  the leadership didn't want the public to know??
I don't know the reason.   I attended this study session meeting as a member of the public yet I had the feeling that there was a specific issue concerning nepotism, but specifics were not discussed by the Supervisor or the Trustees.
I left wondering. 
The "truth" should have been present... to fully discuss the issue as it was happening.

This is how the township recorded the 5/28/15 study session minutes for this nepotism topic:

This is how Downtown Publication Editor, Lisa Brody, described the nepotism issue heard at that same meeting: 
**  Note:  Highlights in RED in below article were added by me for emphasis: Marcia/blog writer

Nepotism policy discussed by township

By Lisa Brody
News Editor

05/29/2015 - Bloomfield Township trustees considered their existing nepotism policy at the request of trustee Dave Buckley at a study session on Thursday, May 28, concluding they have a good policy and it is best to find the most qualified candidates for open positions.

The township has a nepotism policy that was approved on February 22, 1999, "when Fred Korzon was the supervisor, Wilma Cotton was the clerk, and Dave Payne was the treasurer," supervisor Leo Savoie said. He said no family member can have direct supervision over another family member, and elected officials could not have a family member hired as a full-time employee.

He said there are about seven to ten individuals or related people that work in the same departments, notably in the police and fire departments.

"We have a couple in the police department, where people married after they were working there, and four or five in the fire department who have dads or uncles working there," Savoie said. "The policy is you cannot have direct supervisory control."

Buckley said, "In a direct reporting situation, to me that's not acceptable in Bloomfield Township. And if someone is at the top, it flows all the way. As trustees, we're responsible for setting policy."

Trustee Corinne Khederian asked why the policy was now a topic of discussion.

"We have not discussed this during my tenure. I want to give our administration – specifically the supervisor – specific direction. In an organization with police, fire, or the road department, where someone wants to follow a family member into a department, there can be a conflict of interest. Let's clear this up. As a board we can be clear for hiring practices."

For hiring, some jobs are posted online, and others are hired from within, trustees were told.

"I think the policy has been to hire the best qualified rather than on relationships at all levels of the township," said Khederian.

"Police officer kids want to grow up to be police officers; firemen kids want to grow up to be firemen; doctor's kids want to grow up to be doctors," noted Savoie.

"Nepotism is when someone is hired and they're not qualified," said clerk Jan Roncelli. "We don't have that."

"I don't like fixing something that isn't broken," said trustee Brian Kepes.

Trustees decided to continue their current nepotism policy.

Then, one month later, Lisa Brody, Editor of Downtown Publications, did a feature article on nepotism in government, June 25, 2015:

Government nepotism

Author:Lisa Brody
Date: June 25, 2015

Here are just 3 paragraphs from her 5 page article:

"The issue of nepotism arises when a relative is given a job over another qualified individual, giving rise to favoritism. Many corporations and local governments have nepotism policies included in their employee handbooks or local ordinances, in order to prevent direct supervision by a family member of another.

It's believed that nepotism decreases the job satisfaction and the morale of all of the other employees in a company or organization – other than those people benefitting from the nepotism hire. In a study of nepotism published by the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, nepotism had a significant detrimental impact on employees' overall job satisfaction, intention to quit their job, and likelihood of their talking negatively about their job, to either co-workers or potential customers. A successful nepotism policy can ultimately improve the morale of an organization.

The existence of a nepotism policy ensures that individuals can't influence the hiring, promotion, or discipline of a relative. Policies are designed to reduce the perception of favoritism by requiring employees to disclose relevant conflicts, and by restricting that involvement with their relative if the relative is hired."

So... my opinion:
A rare discussion of nepotism policy at a study session in May 2015...  With again,  the township continuing to doing what they want which is what I call the "Family and Friends policy"... despite one Trustee's weak attempt to clarify and correct and enforce the nepotism policy if needed.

AGENDA ITEM # 2 @   Monday, March 28, 2016:  
Swearing In of Fire Department Personnel-  Lt. Kevin Bailey, Lt. Fire Inspector Ken Kowalski, Fire Marshal Peter Vlahos, and Firefighter/Paramedic:  Jake Piche

  • It takes one year of service, training and practice before being sworn in as firefighter, paramedic.  
  • Was that "round-about" nepotism discussion on May 28, 2015 because a Trustee learned of the new fire department hire a month or so earlier, Jake Piche, the Fire Chief's son?  
  • Should Supervisor Savoie have acknowledged the fire department hire and then perhaps enforced the township nepotism policy at that May 2015 meeting?  
  • Not long after this meeting, Supervisor Savoie nominated Fire Chief Dave Piche for: Fire Chief of the Year Award for 2015.    Piche won.   

What stopped the Supervisor and the Trustees back in May 2015 from revealing the truth/name about the hire and the nepotism policy?   Is it because: "Family and Friends" policy is tradition at this township?

Bottom Line:

Getting his promotion to full firefighter/ paramedic at Monday, March 28 meeting is the Fire Chief's son, Jake Piche.   I will assume he was qualified to be hired... but he should not have been hired by this township.... he should have applied at another municipality.  When his father retires, he would then be eligible to apply to this township.   While the Monday night event will be a proud moment for the chief and a happy event for the son, it should be occurring at another municipality. 

The truth is:
Fire Chief Dave Piche does have direct supervision of all the firemen...his son, Jake Piche,  included.  Policy should have prevailed.  
My opinion.

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