CBS Atlanta News has uncovered a pattern of nepotism in the DeKalb County Elections office. We found the department's top brass hiring their own family members, while other potential employees say they were turned away.
Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman learned these jobs given to family members were never made available to the general public. They were never posted, and the human resources department and county executives say they did not know this was going on, until now.
A tipster sent Saltzman a letter when the elections department turned him away for a job. Saltzman requested records from the county and found executives in the department were giving their own sons and relatives jobs.
"Doesn't it lend itself to the perception of favoritism for employees relatives?" Saltzman asked DeKalb's Chief Operating Officer Richard Stogner.
"In this particular case I think it would be," he replied.
The records show numerous relatives working there. But the most concerning were the family members whose blood line could be traced back to the departments top staff.
The department's Assistant Director Phyllis Wheeler hired her son Shannon in a paid position. Election Coordinator Latasha Howard's sister Adrianna was also hired to work the polls, and so was Supply Specialist Rickey Thrower's son.
"What we are going to do is we are going to change our process so we do not hire relatives of anybody who works within the voter registration department," Stogner said.
Stogner agreed this creates the perception of a conflict, especially since these positions were never publicly available to other job seekers.
"We are going to change the policy and Maxine has already agreed to that so that this doesn't happen in the future," Stogner said.
Maxine Daniels is the director of the elections department. She will now have to openly hire employees through the county's human resources department.
"She understands the problem and she understands what we have to do about it," Stogner said.
And while all these cases may not directly violate the county's nepotism policy, Stogner says favor should never be given to family members.
"We are going to change it," he said.
There are several other relatives who are employed by that department, including twin brothers, a family of three and other relatives that have all been hired to work the polls. Those jobs will also now be open to the general public.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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