Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Put Up Or Shut Up, Mr. Weill

The Jackson Free Press is reporting that City Councilman Jeff Weill claims over 300 City of Jackson employees are "patronage" appointments -- given jobs by former Mayor Frank Melton only because of their connection to him.

The JFP story states:

During the administration of former Mayor Frank Melton, Weill said he had learned from city leaders that a high number of unqualified employees had been hired as a result of little more than their connection to Melton.

"When I first came on as councilman, I'd asked them how many patronage positions are we talking about." Weill said. "Twenty, maybe? Thirty, even? And they'd said more like 300. I was amazed."

His implication is that Melton created new "patronage" positions for his friends since the last Johnson administration, but the report does not actually include such an analysis or historical context of how positions under Melton compared to Johnson's last administration.

Neither Weill nor the report named specific positions created merely as favors, although he emphasizes that Melton hired unqualified people to fill positions.

Now, Weill's assessment is that the positions should be cut out rather than be retained and filled with better-qualified employees.

* * * *

Still, Weill would like to see immediate cuts of civilian positions, while Johnson warns that such a rush to judgment without further study—such was the internal audit recommended by Weill's report—wouldn't be wise. "Don't ignore that the police department is doing a lot," Johnson said. "We have 184 civilians in the department that Montgomery doesn't have in its police department."

My two cents: Councilman Weill was in office when these 300 alleged patronage hires were made. And he claims to have sources who told him about the hires. Shouldn't it be easy for him to say who they are? Name names, Mr. Weill. Tell us who was hired for their connections to Frank Melton, and what they are doing now. Until then, you're just blowing smoke.

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