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Mayor Fires Chief Administrative Officer

Inspector general report finds issues with the hiring of family members at City Hall.

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Mayor Levar Stoney has fired the city’s chief administrative officer, Selena Cuffee-Glenn, the day he received a report from the inspector general detailing how six of her relatives, including her daughter and husband, came to work for the city.

The report from the inspector general, James Osuna, cites an anonymous complaint made to his office in late April as the impetus for his investigation. Osuna says in his Sept. 18 report that he notified the state police, state auditor of public accounts, the city attorney and commonwealth’s attorney.

He concludes that there was “no evidence of direct involvement” by Cuffee-Glenn in the employees’ hiring or pay levels, but that subordinates “felt obligated to approve” her daughter’s salary at a higher level than others.

In addition, he found that “high level subordinates,” including directors of the departments of public works and public utilities, were involved. He also cited inconsistencies in the hiring of relatives as provisional employees and their compensation reviews, recommending that the process “be reviewed for consistency of application throughout the city.”

Mayor Stoney said he was “concerned and deeply disappointed” by the findings in the report, in a statement issued this evening.

“In my opinion, the conduct detailed in this report erodes the public trust, violates the spirit of good governance and has diminished my confidence in the CAO to continue to serve in her role,” Stoney said in his statement.

The city’s deputy chief administrative officer for finance and administration, Lenora Reid -- brought to Richmond by Cuffee-Glenn -- will serve as interim chief administrative officer.

The news of Cuffee-Glenn’s relatives working for the city isn’t new. The Times-Dispatch reported in May on the hiring of Cuffee-Glenn’s daughter, Alexis Glenn.

Also in May, WRIC-TV 8 reported on questions surrounding the hire of Cuffee-Glenn’s husband, Keith Glenn, as a deputy in the sheriff’s office -- which is included in the city budget but falls outside of City Hall’s purview. But in recent months questions have been raised about the details of Alexis Glenn’s hiring and what other family members might be on the city payroll.

In an Aug. 1 email to the mayor’s spokesman, Jim Nolan, Style Weekly asked how many of Cuffee-Glenn’s relatives worked for City Hall. Nolan replied Aug. 23, referring the question Jeff Gray, senior policy adviser to Cuffee-Glenn, and to the Department of Human Resources. In answer to questions from Style, Gray replied that Cuffee-Glenn’s office had “no knowledge” of how many relatives worked for City Hall or who they were.

When Style asked him to clarify his answer, considering that at least one family member’s employment at City Hall had been made public, Gray declined to elaborate and referred questions to human resources.

The city denied a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Style seeking the names, titles, pay rates and other public information about any employees who were related to Selena Cuffee-Glenn.

The city citied familial relationships as an exemption to FOIA law, so Style amended its request, seeking information about two employees by name. A response to that request, due Sept. 18 according to FOIA law, has gone unanswered.

The inspector general’s report cited six family members as working for the city, without revealing their names: Cuffee-Glenn’s husband, daughter, a nephew or niece, two second cousins and one of their spouses.

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