Whistleblower Reports Hostile Messaging Towards White Employees and $1 Million Spent on Equity Agreements.
Oh, and What About that Union Terminal Sales Tax Money?
About one month ago we received an email from an employee at Jobs and Family Services (JFS), part of Hamilton County, (click here to see organizational chart), with some attachments that were concerning. In April of 2021, after the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on three charges against George Floyd, Hamilton County JFS wrote to their employees: “we all know that communities of color continue to be disproportionately harassed and killed at the hands of law enforcement in this country.” Imagine coming into the office that morning if you were White, Asian, or Multi-Race and reading this race-filled message from your boss. What a team-building morning that must have been…
What is the purpose of subjecting all JFS personnel to a racial message like this? Do the Hamilton County Commissioners stand behind this email? Does JFS and Hamilton County believe that law enforcement is harassing communities of color? Where? To see a chart of the employee makeup of Hamilton County JFS click diagram to the right. Does race-oriented messaging like this have any business being sent to all employees of any large organization like Hamilton County Jobs and Family Service?
Upon reviewing the personnel files for the two employees that wrote the emails–Talia Bryan and Michael Patton, neither of the employees were disciplined for the poor messaging e-mail blasted out to all people working at JFS. Surprisingly, now Director of JFS Michael Patton, did not even receive a personnel review for the year 2021–the 12 month period after the email was written.
While reviewing other documents sent to EmpowerU, it was learned that over $1 million dollars of Hamilton County money has been spent on “Racial Equity Agreements”. These Racial Equity Agreements, signed off on the County Commissioners, attempt to create equal outcomes for Hamilton County’s 816,000 Citizens. (Is creating equal outcomes even possible?).
The first attachment–click here–shows the County’s budget for Racial Equity Programs at $595,212 for the year 2022. The second attachment–click here— shows a separate 3 year budget for JFS’s Equity Contract with a company called Intersections, LLC for a total 3 year cost of $546,914. A total of $1 million+ has been spent on Racial Equity Plans between the two parts of Hamilton County.
Why tell you all of this? Let us take you back… When the Union Terminal Tax expired in 2019 our sales tax should have been decreased back to the original amount–pre Union Terminal. Instead the Commissioners kept the tax money and kept the sales tax at 7%–a tidy amount of an extra $20 million per year. Now, we learn part of the $20 million is being spent on Racial Equity Plans. To see Hamilton County’s Draft Equity Plan–Click Here. (Examples of Racial Equity Plans can be hard to find–see example of Dallas, TX– Racial Equity plan–click here for description).
This fall, on the November Ballot, Hamilton County will ask you to approve a 32% increase in the Mental Health Services Levy. EmpowerU is not taking a position on this levy, and understands the importance of Mental Health Services in the County. But, at the same time, we feel it is important to let you know that the person listed on the organizational chart as in charge of Mental Health Services is Michael Patton one of the authors that wrote the above “dumpster fire” email and that they will also be responsible, at least on the organizational chart for overseeing the additional $9 million spending of your tax levy money. EmpowerU encourages you to review information about the Mental Health Services Levy and make your own informed decision.
PS–We have asked to speak with Hamilton County Management about this email from JFS and also about the County Equity spending but they have not got back with us.
Daniel P. Regenold, Managing Board Member, EmpowerUAmerica.org