CAO defends family members on town’s payroll, says he wasn’t part of hiring process

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With knowledge being gained by members of the public that CAO John Miceli has family members working for the town, he is defending the hiring process.

Miceli acknowledged that his brother is now an electrician for the town and that he has a nephew working as a part-time general labourer but he cited town policies and his involvement in the hiring process, or lack thereof, as reasons why he views both hires as being proper. The CAO pointed out there is a town anti-nepotism policy, enacted Dec. 13, 2004, that prohibits against the hiring of qualified persons “whether or not they have immediate relatives employed in the town or whether or not they have immediate relatives as a member of town council, provided that no applicant shall be hired for employment except with the approval of town council to occupy a position in the same immediate working area, under the same immediate supervisor or where one or more of his/her family supervises another.”

The policy, Miceli pointed out, is written to where it says it should “neither be a hindrance nor advantage to employment in the Town of Amherstburg” and that the town “will not discriminate in its hiring practices on the basis that the person is related to a current employee or member of town council.” The policy states that the employer may grant or withhold employment or advancement in employment to a person who is a spouse, child or parent of the employer or an employee.

“Our overall intent remains that vacated positions may be staffed by qualified candidates selected on the basis of education, experience, knowledge, ability and suitability within the framework of legislation, collective agreements, equal opportunity, budgetary limitations and corporate needs,” the policy reads.

CAO John Miceli.

Miceli stated allegations against him that something improper was done “doesn’t meet the test of nepotism under town policies.” He said the town is “committed to hiring the most qualified individuals” and said he was not part of any hiring panels to fill the positions his brother and nephew both got.

His brother “is a qualified electrician and he holds a master’s license,” said Miceli. The hiring panel consisted of the manager of facilities, manager of roads and fleet and the human resources manager. His nephew was interviewed by the manager of facilities and the human resources manager and was one of four applicants.

“I was not involved in the hiring process,” he said. “I’ve been in (municipal government) for 27 years and I respect policies and procedures. You will not see me hire a unionized position and these are unionized positions. I do not supervise these people.”

Miceli believed a lot of people who complain are “anti-change” and said there are a lot of people who are related to each other working for the town.

“We are not going to discriminate against family if they are the most qualified,” said Miceli. “Why would we?”

The town hiring of an electrician and a plumber and bringing the work inside instead of contracting it out is something Miceli said is his track record.

“We were spending far more on contractors to do the work rather than do it internally,” he said. “Seeing the types of bills happening in town showed for me why we need to do the work in house. The town was not getting value for money.”

Both are also facility attendants, he added, meaning that if there was not enough electrical or plumbing work in town, they have other duties to tend to.

The CAO added that hiring the best candidates often means hiring from out-of-town.

“All we’re looking for is the most qualified individuals,” Miceli contended. “Wherever they reside is no concern of mine.”

Acknowledging the public concern that many former Windsor staff members are employed in Amherstburg, Miceli said 178 city employees reside in Amherstburg.

“I just find it so interesting that people in town think you have to hire in town,” he said.

Miceli said he is willing to match his record against any other previous CAO.

“Please put my record against any of them,” he said. “Show me where I have done wrong.”

Miceli added he has an open door policy and is willing to discuss issues with residents, but noted council makes decisions based on recommendations of administration and administration executes.

“If there is a resident who has issues with the way I am running the organization, they can file a complaint,” said Miceli. “They can file a complaint against me and the hiring practices of the town.”

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