Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis ignores new hiring guidelines with board of revision appointments

With Gabriel Baird

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis ignored new hiring guidelines for the county's beleaguered boards of revision this month by directly appointing two people, including a former political colleague, to $58,000-a-year jobs.

Helen K. Smith, who served with Rokakis on Cleveland City Council, and Steven Billington, who worked on the treasurer's foreclosure-prevention effort, started Nov. 1 as hearing officers.

Neither was screened by a county human resources department, which has the authority to review applicants for the positions under a plan Rokakis and others approved in September. Had the two been vetted, officials would have found that at least one did not meet a key qualification.

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