Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gloucester, VA Local Government Employment Policy Violations?

Section 3-14 of the Gloucester County Employment Policies states as follows;  A position with Gloucester County is considered to be the employee's primary occupation.  Employees may not engage in other employment which presents a conflict of interest with their county position and/or which interferes with and detracts from the efficient and effective performance of their duties with the county.

  Really!  Is this just hogwash statements that are posted on the county web site for compliance purposes only, or an elite system, that only applies to certain individuals but not others?  Let's once again visit complaints we have made on this site for some time now.  Jeff Stillman of Gloucester Animal Control owns a pet cremation business.  This has all the earmarks of being a second job that would be in direct violation to the above stated policy.  Here is a question we have to ask to see if Gloucester County itself is in compliance with their own policies.

  Has Jeff Stillman signed any kind of waiver with the county that states that he will not discuss any aspect of his other business regarding his pet cremation business during the course of his job?  That means even mentioning such would be a violation to his employment with the county.  The reverse would also be true.  He would not be allowed to discuss his county position during any course of his work with the pet cremation business.  This also means that others in Animal Control are also prevented from discussing Jeff Stillman's pet cremation business.

  Has Jeff managed to gain business for his pet cremation business because of his position with Animal Control?  Is Jeff using his position with Animal Control to gain business for his own personal gain?  Is Jeff getting taxpayer supported payments for work sent to him because of his position with Animal Control?  Jeff can not even be seen in his pet cremation business wearing his animal control uniform if we are to make certain that there is no conflict of interest.

  That is just one case.  Let's now look at Carl (Chuck) Shipley, head of Animal Control for Gloucester County.   Carl Shipley is the owner of Chuck's carpet cleaning.  Here is the link to his business web site.  In an earlier post we pointed out that Chuck's carpet cleaning operated during hours that Chuck, aka Carl is supposed to be working for Animal Control.  This conflict has been removed from the site.  Has Carl used his position with the county to get contracts?  Again, is there some form of waiver that Carl had to sign that prevents him from discussing his outside business during the course of his job as well as the reverse that prevents him from discussing his county job during the course of his side business?  This also means that Carl can not take calls while he is under county employment, during the course of his work, from any employee or customer even asking a simple question under Chuck's carpet cleaning.

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  This is a two sided compliance issue.  It is the job of both the employees to make sure that they are always 100% compliant as well as county officials to make sure that their staff is in 100% compliance.  Is the county in compliance here?  What assurances do the citizens of Gloucester County have that compliance is being maintained?  Can the county afford a violation to the public trust?  Signing waivers now would only show a conflict of interest has existed.  These waivers needed to be signed at the time these businesses were started.  Also, was county approval gained before either one of them started their businesses?  Is there evidence of this?  Can the county actually assure us that no conflicts of interest exists with either one of these businesses?

  We did not make the county policy here.  We are just asking if the county can assure us that they are following their own rules.  If these two businesses owned by Animal Control Officers do not present a conflict of interest, what does?  Or do elitist policies dictate instead?

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