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Letter: Need Independent Ethics Investigator

To the Editor:

City Manager Rashad Young is preparing to hire an investigator to handle any and all issues related to ethics, complaints from various city employees and all other related matters. This position which has been funded in Mr. Young's budget will work within the city's Department of Human Resources. Wrong. The creation of this position is too important that it must be completely separated from City Hall and the city manager selecting who will be the person to handle any and all complaints, concerns and/or issues related to city staff and supervisors.

Mr. Young has shown that he cannot be trusted to hire and/or be involved with this person, i.e., his handling of the food truck issues wherein he took it upon himself to issue his own report and that of his staff before the task force had time to submit their own recommendations. Further, Mr. Young wanted complete control of this matter. He has mishandled the "civic engagement" process, which is fine since it should have gone away long before it started.

In order for city staff to feel comfortable about sharing any concerns they might have regarding their job, etc., the only way this position can be beneficial to all city staff is for an outside person who has a proven track record, someone who can be trusted and someone city employees will feel comfortable talking to about any concerns. Someone who comes to mind is Bruce Johnson, who was well respected when he was acting city manager along with his previous job as director of OMB, and/or someone like Connie Ring who is also well respected in Alexandria. City Manager Young has already hired many of his friends from North Carolina along with hiring Bettina Deynes, the new director of human resources. It is up to Mayor Euille and members of the council to make the decision about this very important position and making certain it is in no way related to City Manager Young and/or any other senior staff and is separate from city hall.

Annabelle Fisher

Alexandria