Village officials continue history of hiring relatives

SALINEVILLE – The village Board of Public Affairs (BPA) hired a new employee on Monday following the resignation of its previous employee last week. Village resident Michelle Wilson-Maynard was officially hired as the sewage plant maintenance employee on Monday after starting the job on a trial basis earlier this week according to the board.

The board’s previous employee, Travis Needham, resigned last week to take a full-time job elsewhere. Board members say Needham stayed on for a few days after his resignation to train Wilson-Maynard for the position.

Her duties will include performing water shut offs, maintenance and testing at waste water treatment plant, as well as miscellaneous jobs like mowing grass and painting according to BPA members.

Members of the board said she will work on a part time basis about three to four days per week. So far, Wilson-Maynard has worked for the board on a “trial basis” while the board members determined if she is a good fit for the job.

“We’ve had this girl for three or four days on a trail basis – us checking her out and her checking the job out,” said board president James Brammer. “I think she’ll be all right.”

Board members unanimously approved hiring Wilson-Maynard.

Board members made no mention of the fact that Wilson-Maynard is the daughter of village councilman Jim Wilson. Board members referred to her by name only once, calling her “Michelle Maynard.” At a village council meeting on April 21, board members again made no mention of the new sewage department employee’s name.

Board member Kim Adams told council members of Needham’s resignation and requested street department employee, Ralph Ross, assist the sewage department “until we get our new person broken in and bring her up to speed.”

A quick internet search of Maynard-Wilson’s name following Monday’s BPA meeting turned up both she and her father Jim Wilson’s Facebook pages. The pages showed that she is in fact Wilson’s daughter and goes by the name Michelle Maynard-Wilson.

According to the Ohio Ethic’s Commission’s “Restrictions on Nepotism or Hiring Family Members,” “An official is also prohibited, by R.C. 2921.42(A)(1) from using the ‘authority or influence of’ her public position to secure a job for a family member. Even if an official abstains from decisions, the law prohibits the official from discussing, recommending, or otherwise using the prestige of her office, formally or informally, to get a family member a job.”

This is not the first time village officials have hired a relative to work for the village.

Travis Needham, who resigned, is related to council members John Higgins and Nancy Needham. Tracy Keating, daughter of councilwoman Sally Keating, currently serves as BPA clerk. Under the administration of former Mayor Dave Berta, Berta’s wife, Kelly, was hired as the waste water treatment plant operator.

In a 2012 state audit, former councilman Rick Beadle was found to have acted inappropriately when he lobbied for a raise for his brother who was, at the time, employed as the sewage plant operator.