Report: Lame-Duck Cleveland Mayor Gave Raises, Jobs To Allies

CLEVELAND (AP) - Michael R. White, whose 12 years as mayor ended Jan. 7, gave dozens of loyal city employees big raises and safe civil service jobs before leaving office, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

An investigation by Mayor Jane Campbell's staff turned up backdated records, allegations of document shredding, loosened job qualifications and people placed in jobs for which they lacked qualifications.

In addition, The Plain Dealer reported, White (pictured, above) gave raises in October of as much as $17,500 a year retroactive to April.

Campbell appointed a committee to examine each job change and recommend what to do about it.

"It was very disturbing," Campbell said. "It seems from that data that was presented to me that at the very least, there was a complete disregard for the rules."

The effort to shelter and reward White aides began in June, one month after White announced he would not seek re-election, said Jonalyn Krupka, Campbell's Civil Service Commission chief.

"A lot of people are just astounded by the scope of what they did," Krupka said last week.

White declined to comment, the newspaper said. He did not return a phone message seeking comment by The Associated Press.

Greg Wilson, Civil Service chief from 1999 through 2001 and now a deputy commissioner of water, said he played a role by making sure that Civil Service rules were obeyed. Civil service jobs are protected from political dismissals.

Chief Civil Service Examiner Carita Lackey said Wilson ordered her to do most of the work of arranging civil service jobs for White allies. Wilson ordered her to shred the evidence, she said.

Lackey said she disregarded the shredding order because she wanted the Campbell administration to see the paper trail.

Wilson said Lackey's accusation was preposterous. "That is not true. I would not tell her, when it's over, to destroy documents," he said.

Krupka and Lackey contend that the White administration used more than 100 project coordinator positions of up to $76,000 a year to circumvent the civil service process. Project coordinators are performing the jobs of engineers, inspectors and administrators.

Wilson said the White administration made people project coordinators for expedience.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)