Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration hired public works director William “Billy” Rodriguez’s brother for an $80,000 engineering job raising concerns about nepotism.
The brother, Carlos E. Rodriguez, was hired as principal engineering aide within the Engineering Division in the Department of Public Works in January, according to documents obtained through a records request.
Rodriguez worked as a project manager for Zampolin & Associates of Westwood from 1999 to 2019. He then worked for Fox Architectural Design of Ledgewood from 2019 until hired by the Sayegh administration. He has an AutoCAD drafting certificate from Lincoln Tech.
The city’s personnel manual discourages the hiring of relatives.
“The hiring, promoting, transferring, demoting or reassigning of relatives is prohibited if the employment of such an individual would result in the creation of a prohibited employment relationship,” reads the manual.
The manual further defines a “prohibited employment relationship” as where “one relative would have the authority to supervise (directly or indirectly), appoint, remove, discipline, evaluate, or otherwise affect the work or employment of another relative.”
“I wasn’t part of the hiring process. I didn’t sit in on the interviews. He was the only qualified candidate that they said met the qualifications for the position. I have no direct supervision over him,” said public works director Rodriguez.
However, a printout from the city’s payroll system shows Rodriguez approved the hiring.
“I’m already tired of fighting with the administration over their hiring practices. I’ll let the them give an explanation. I want to hear what they have to say,” said council president Flavio Rivera. He pointed out hiring and firing falls under the administration.
Sayegh did not respond to a request for comment for this story on Monday morning.
“I think we have to stop the nepotism in this city,” said councilman Luis Velez.
Rodriguez, the engineering aide, disclosed his relationships with other employees in his job application. His other brother, Mike Rodriguez, has been working for the city since 1993. He works in animal control.