Wayne County Commissioner calls for hiring fairness

Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga says sweetheart deals with former employees are hurting county cash flow

Author: Rod Meloni, Local 4 Business Editor, @RodMeloni
Published On: Apr 23 2013 06:05:54 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 23 2013 06:10:33 PM EDT
Ilona Varga
DETROIT -

Wayne County sign Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga says with all the county's money problems, the sweetheart deals including single or comparable-sourced contracts -- such as the one suggested for Executive Robert Ficano's former deputy Sheriff driver -- need to end.

Varga says this is not just about Ficano's issue.

Read more: Wayne County faces serious cash flow problem

"Why does it have to be buddies?" she said. "There are so many sheriffs out there who are retired, deputies, so if they want somebody for security, for example, then just bid and let it be open to everyone."

Read more: County executive lets contracts expire for personal drivers

She points to Wayne County Sheriff and Detroit mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon. Napoleon is asking the county to approve a contract for Raymond E. Batts. Batts is a retired corporal and a 20-year veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department who Napoleon's office says worked as his "scout car partner" when he would do street work.

Batts also did surveillance, investigations and intelligence gathering. Now out of work, he is looking for a comparable-source professional services contract for his company, B.E.P Services.

Batts is looking to make $36,900 for work from April 1, 2013 through Sept. 10, 2013 with a one-year renewal option.

The salary would be charged to the Wayne County Jail.

Commissioner Varga said this is wrong.

"They are double dipping. They are getting their retirement and then they are coming back at a higher wage than they already left and retired, so they are collecting two checks," Varga said.

Varga said any business, including a county retiree posing as a LLC, should have to bid against others for the work and not be sole sourced.

She wants the Wayne County Commission to change this type of contracting. Her proposal is gaining some support from commissioners.