City Council votes to stop payments to intern


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

City Clerk Devon Reid. City Council discussed the hiring of an intern.

Yonjoo Seo, Reporter

City Council voted Monday to stop payments to a college intern that City Clerk Devon Reid employed during a hiring freeze.

At a July 27 City Council meeting, the council voted to pay the intern for the work he had already completed, even though he was hired without approval from Human Resources or the city manager. Despite the members’ objections, the clerk continued to employ the intern.

Aldermen discussed Monday whether hiring the intern was within the clerk’s duties and if Reid had breached any rules.

Reid said it was unclear whether he had broken any rules because the city clerk’s office is not a department headed by the city manager. He said the hiring expenses could be considered part of the $25,000 budget for his office’s payment of goods and services, and as a result he had not broken a “hard and fast clear rule.”

“It’s very clear that the clerk’s office is not under the auspices of the city manager as it is expressly not listed there in the code,” Reid said. “Independently, the clerk has that same authority to make these kinds of decisions.”

However, the aldermen said hiring an assistant was not considered a goods and services expense, so it could not be considered part of the referenced $25,000 allotment for the city clerk’s purchases.

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said there was a clear distinction between goods and services and employees. The city had decided that all employees would be hired through the city manager.

At the last council meeting, Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) voted to pay the intern for the work already completed, but on Monday she said she had since learned that the hired assistant had been made aware that Human Resources had advised against hiring him.

“We have so many people in the city who are doing more than their fair share of work because we have a hiring freeze right now that I cannot support hiring—and this is hiring—somebody else,” Wynne said.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) said this sort of hiring had not been done before, and Reid should have followed the process of opening a job application just like any other position.

To avoid the controversy in the future, Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said City Council needs a report from Human Resources that states the procedure and the budget for hiring an intern or assistant legitimately.

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