Public utilities director has questionable past

Prior to last weekend, probably most of us had never seen nor heard of Edward Moore, director of Toledo's Department of Public Utilities.  We found out all too well the important role that this man plays in making our lives comfortable.  We put a lot of trust in the person who holds that position.

Well, there is an interesting story behind Moore.  During the Bell administration, Moore was the director of the City's Department of Public Service.  When Collins became mayor, he replaced Moore with William Franklin.  Replacing Moore, who is African American, added to the heat that Collins took for not appointing enough minorities to high-level positions.  In a December 16, 2013, Blade article, Collins explained that he had nothing against Moore, but he needed to have "people in positions that I have confidence in."

Collins' choice for the director of Public Utilities, Robin Whitney, served for four months before leaving to take a job with ProMedica.

So what does Collins do?  He appoints the person who he previously did not have enough confidence in to retain in the Public Service position, as the new director of Public Utilities.

And there's more.

In June 2008, while Moore was the City's commissioner of Sewage and Drainage Services, he was suspended for a week without pay.  Why?  Moore received $5,000 from the City in University of Toledo tuition reimbursements.  What's wrong with that?  Well, Moore's wife worked at UT, which qualified him for free tuition.  Moore said it was all a big misunderstanding and he repaid the City.  Sounds like theft you say?

Collins placing a man of such unethical standing in any taxpayer-funded position--yet one of high importance--is nothing short of malfeasance.  Collins needs to remove Moore immediately and Toledoans need to do some soul-searching about Collins' future.

http://www.thenewsmeister.com/the_newsmeister/2008/09/toledo-commissi.html

http://www.ourtownsylvania.com/Police-Fire/2013/12/17/Collins-choices-fo...

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This is nothing more than unreasonably slamming a quality individual. Attitudes in Toledo suggest that Collins doesn't have confidence in any African American, especially African American men.. Evidence shows that Moore was a great student at the University of Toledo and has been a top performer at the City for years. The problem is that Moore, in some people's opinion, received too much face time in front of the cameras during the water crisis last weekend. In addition, he was knowledgeable and sharp, more so than others who were interviewed. Those of us who have worked with Mr. Moore know that he is a tremendously ethical person and it would be a surprise that he is a dishonest person. Swamppeople. this just reinforces the obvious. If Mr. Moore were a White man he would be celebrated instead of being bashed.

Let's recap what Moore did.

1. His wife secured for him a fee waiver so he could take classes at UT for free. (I would encourage you to talk to someone at UT about this process. As the spouse of an employee, you can't just show up at class, there is a multi-level approval process that takes time and effort.)

2. Moore then submitted the paperwork to the City to receive reimbursement for the courses--which he didn't pay for in the first place. (Tuition reimbursement doesn't just happen. The City just doesn't "sense" that you're taking classes and provides funding. One must apply for it.)

3. Moore accepted the $5,000 "reimbursement" from the City. Not until a City clerk discovered this wrongdoing did Moore--two months later--pay back the money.

Many (most?) of us would not describe someone who did this as "quality" and "ethical."

Are you suggesting that since Moore is African American, we can't expect to hold him to the same standards that we would a non-minority? We have to cut him a break? That's my interpretation of your defense of indefensible behavior.

I suggesting that I know what really happened and you don't. When Moore was being considered for a waiver at UT he had already applied for the reimbursement from the City of Toledo. The timing was the problem, not any dishonesty. Moore didn't approve the reimbursement himself. He only applied for it. I can apply for food stamps, but I shouldn't receive any. If the government approved my application, I would use the food stamps.

So you are rationalizing Moore illegally taking $5,000 of taxpayers' money that he knew he didn't qualify for because "they gave it to him"?

Moore didn't illegally take anything. He applied for the reimbursement before he received a tuition waiver. It is not his fault the City of Toledo took so long to process his application. You admitted yourself that Moore returned the money granted to him by the City. To me that shows honesty.

Have your read the link I provided? Lots of facts there.

He took the money in January of 2007. He returned the money A YEAR LATER and only after being caught.

There's even more. His worksheet for the week of his suspension without pay was obtained (it is a public record) and indicated that it was marked as "AEF--Absent-Excused Furlough." This was a way for the City (Finkbeiner) to keep this situation quiet.

No amount of spin cycle can make this situation clean.

I've already told you the City of Toledo was slow. It took them a whole year to notify him the City had made an error by granting him the money. Once he was notified, he returned the money.

Many of us would have known that we weren't eligible for "reimbursement" because we didn't pay the tuition in the first place. Should a person who isn't capable of making this simple logical decision be in charge of our water supply?

You know this happens a lot.

I get paid money for stuff I don't deserve and I barely notice. I always am super nice to the people when they come back and ask for the money back because it was their screw up not mine, despite the hours of paperwork I had to do in order for them to make that mistake.

MikeyA

Yes, but have you gotten paid for stuff you didn't deserve in 3 installments over 12 months? Moore may take the prize for that.

There was a deduction on my Federal taxes I took because my tax advisor told me I could take the deduction. Two years later the IRS advised me that they felt the deduction should not be allowed. I immediately paid the money back Because I received the money, I guess that makes me dishonest. In Mr. Moore's case he was told by the City of Toledo HR Department he was allowed to submit an application for the tuition, so he did. When the City of Toledo HR Department reversed their position a year later, Mr. Moore paid the money back. Sounds like Mr. Moore was a victim of the City of Toledo HR Department's poor performance. Let's celebrate Mr. Moore for following the rules. The decision to reimburse him for the tuition was not his.

A more accurate tax comparison would be taking a tax education deduction AND trying to deduct payments for books as a work deduction. Then claiming I didn't know after the IRS sends you am audit notice.

MikeyA

A man takes money he knows for a fact was not his and keeps it for a year till he's told to return it and you call that honesty.

But then your own food stamp example shows a pretty skewed morality right there.

Maybe he figured his cats and dogs were "just like children".

This post of yours is one of the best I have seen at this website.

I recall, ever so vaguely, that "tuition" story, but hadn't paid close attention. Thanks for laying it out point by point. He should have been fired at the time. But the ethnic part is why he wasn't.

I will put a disclaimer in at this point. My first full-time-job bosses (in Detroit) were all African American. They were great, outstandlingly intelligent bosses. I had to move (late '60's) but hated leaving that job.

But fast forward to 2014, and Toledo in particular, and getting anyone African American or Hispanic fired is a can of worms - politically, and legally. The pitfalls for anyone trying it are numerous.

Let's see, should I tell the story of the gal who sued her law firm boss because he said something like "I'm not wanting to chain you to your desk, but would like you to sit there and do your work when there is work to be done." She was a "social butterfly" and was rarely at her desk. She either threatened or actually sued... so, a job was arranged for her at one of the courthouses to make the lawsuit go away. Somebody AT that law firm told me this.

OR the gal at the Board of Elections who went to great abusive lengths against a poll worker who had been attacked at an election site by a friend of hers and tried to report it at the Board? That gal [the employee, not the friend/attacker] still does poll worker training for the Board. She is a full-time employee. This was reported both verbally and in writing to, among others, J. Demegall, who did nothing about it (I was told by the poll worker in question). Demegall himself has since been fired. My friend's assessment - "Nice guy but spineless." AND he would have had serious trouble if he had tried to fire the ethnic Lucas County Board of Elections "training" employee in question.

Moore's acceptance of tuition "reimbursement" was dishonest.

His situation personifies what's wrong with Toledo. Here's a guy who Collins admittedly didn't think was qualified to oversee Public Services--the division responsible for parks and recreation--but later he puts him in charge of our water supply.

This is a ramification of public employment musical chairs. As much as Collins tried to convince Toledoans that he was going to be different--he isn't.

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