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Monday, July 25, 2011

Mike Mason Exposes Questionable Hiring Practices in Lee County

Lee County Manager Karen Hawes
 A Four in your Corner investigation uncovers more questionable hiring practices at Lee County. The county manager has already ordered an audit into the Department of Transportation's hiring procedures after what we exposed. Now investigator Mike Mason finds Lee County *doesn't even have a policy* when it comes to advertising for job positions. Since we began our investigation, Lee County D.O.T. employees have complained about the county's hiring policies. For instance, late last year, brothers Shane and Jason Hinman were promoted as crew supervisors at the D.O.T. and both of their positions were only advertised for 3 days.

Many workers feel the positions should have been advertised longer. It’s one reason some D.O.T. workers feel supervisors are hiring their favorites and not giving other employees an equal opportunity. We confronted Shane Hinman about this last month and he said, “You'll have to take that up with Downtown man, I don't know, I couldn't tell you."

So we did take our questions Downtown. Lee County manager Karen Hawes told us Hinman's position should have been advertised longer saying, “It's not the norm.”

Lee H.R. Director Christine Brady
We then went to Lee County's Human Resource Director, Christine Brady, to find out what 'the norm' is. She told us the county's un-written policy is to advertise a position for about 3 days. We wanted to see the county's written policy but couldn't find it in the employee manual, or anywhere else.

Then Hawes sent us an email on July 15th stating the county's “Current policies do not require a minimum or maximum time for advertising a job position." So essentially the county can do whatever it wants to. Things are different in Collier County. Collier's policy requires jobs to be advertised on the county website, posted in all county facilities and available to the public on the county’s job hotline. The position must also be posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The City of Cape Coral also requires jobs to be posted no less than ten calendar days or two weeks.

Darryl Plym has a big problem with Lee County's hiring policies. He was fired from D.O.T. last year when the Director at the time sent him a letter stating "Your position as Senior Equipment Operator at D.O.T Operations is being eliminated due to a reduction in workforce”.
But a few months later Plym’s old position was re-instated and someone else was hired. Even though the county said the job was being eliminated, for some reason it suddenly reappeared. The job was only advertised for four days before another person was hired. Plym says he had no chance of getting his old job back, "That's the way the county works it, if they want to get rid of somebody they will come up with any reason possible to get rid of you."
The audit into D.O.T is set to look into issues including the county's hiring policies. No word on when that audit will be complete but we will let you know.
To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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