Below are the words of City Manager Scott Pickup, spoken from inside the enchanting Whitby Castle at Rye Golf Golf Club on September 27, 2012. The occasion was the first gathering of golf club members since the RM Staffing scandal broke.
Mr. Pickup addressed the crowded ballroom to explain there was, in fact, no conflict of interest between RM Staffing and Scott Yandrasevich–the relationship which has grown into a full-blown "very serious" possibly criminal, $30,000 investigation–involving more than $7,000,000 worth of membership dough over the past six years.
Before you get a load of what City Manager Pickup was shoveling back in September, you should know that he's signed off on purchase orders for as much as $455,000 for RM Staffing, as early as 2008.
And that Mr. Pickup's signature appears on a $550,000 blanket purchase order for RM Staffing from January 2010.
In 2011, Mr. Pickup personally authorized a whopping $1.46 million in funds for RM Staffing. The purchase order with his autograph on it includes $960,000 for "additional salary costs (twice), "additional staffing costs" and "additional payroll".
Mr. Pickup has reviewed–literally–hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of RM Staffing invoices as the Assistant City Manager, and now, City Manager over the past five years.
He saw the invoices contained only the first names of employees as far back as 2008. He approved it.
Month after month, year after year, he saw thousands upon thousands of hours of overtime–and he approved it.
His authorizations, his fingerprints, are all over RM Staffing documents at city hall.
He withheld and concealed these very public records. And there are more he still has not released.
Mr. Pickup's administrative assistant's children worked at Rye Golf Club–yet, their names cannot be found on the city payroll.
He distributed "confidential" memorandums misinforming city employees and board members as to the scope of the investigation, saying it only included Scott Yandrasevich and his actions. That was a lie, told to employees who were preparing to sit down with investigators.
He said the city attorney vetted RM, she said she didn't.
He referred to RGC members as having a "mob mentality"–and insinuated they were fueled by alcohol.
This is very serious.
And this is what your city manager had to say, Mayor French, before either of you had a clue that RM Staffing would not go away:
Excerpts of Scott Pickup, Whitby Castle 9.27.12:
(Video clip of full comments below)
"Let me explain to you how purchasing works... this is a professional service, just like we get professional services from engineers, architects, lawyers..."
"RM has been a staffing company Scott [Yandrasevich] worked with in the past, he makes his recommendation, that proposal is accepted by the city manager."
"According to the city financial policy this is 100% by the book... its all above board."
"There is nothing out of the ordinary... nothing out of the public eye... or underhanded."
"This is the normal course of business for the City of Rye."
"As any other member of the City of Rye you can have outside employment, it occurs with sanitation men, firefighters, police officers... our engineer does outside consulting."
"Our general manager does outside consulting, its all perfectly legal, its above board."
"In this case, I don't know what Scott gets reimbursed from RM Staffing, he has told me he's done work for them, I assume that work that he does he is compensated for, in some cases he says he isn't, but that's all reported and above board."
"We've had the city's attorney review these arrangements, the city's attorney is always looking for conflicts of interest, based on their past opinions on this, there is no conflict of interest."
"Again. I'll point out to you, quite a bit of the members of the city do outside work. It is not an unusual practice."
RYE CITY CHARTER
§ 15-2. Conflicts of interest.
No officer or employee of the city shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in conflict with or might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.
§ 15-15. Penalties.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly or intentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.
RYE CITY CHARTER
§ C8-2. Powers and duties of City Manager.
A. The City Manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the city. He shall be responsible to the Council for the Administration of all city affairs placed in his charge.
D. He shall see that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Council, subject to enforcement by him or officers subject to his direction and supervision, are faithfully executed.
L. He may examine the books, papers and accounts of any department, office or agency of the city under his direction and supervision as often as he may deem proper.
§ C8-4. Removal.
The Council may remove the City Manager at any time as provided in this section. At least thirty (30) days before such removal shall become effective, the Council shall by a vote of at least four (4) members of the Council adopt a preliminary resolution stating the reasons for his removal and may suspend the Manager from duty for a period not to exceed forty-five (45) days.