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Sunday, July 30, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: WICOMICO COUNTY HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR RESPONDS TO FORENSIC AUDIT ACCUSATIONS AND SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT

In response to the multiple statements regarding her 2015 raise, Director of Human Resources, Michele Campbell Ennis, Ph.D. is wanting to set the record straight about the discrepancies being reported in the press and the reality regarding the letter dated November 19, 2015.

The former Finance Director, Leslie M. Lewis, approached Ennis in 2015, stating she had talked to County Executive, Bob Culver about a raise for Ennis. Culver requested a market analysis for the Director of Human Resources position. The letter was not a formal document meant for anything more than to give Culver the results of a market analysis conducted on two local Human Resource Directors’ salaries. Lewis asked Ennis to perform the market analysis, but due to Ennis’ feeling that it would be inappropriate to have an active role in her own raise, Ennis asked Lewis if she (Lewis) or another employee could do it. At this point, Lewis got one of the Human Resources employees to make the calls and write the recommendation to be sent to the County Executive’s office for consideration.

Lewis agreed with the market analysis and was asked by the County Executive to put it in writing for his approval. She requested that a Human Resources personnel write the letter and send it back to her to be placed on her letterhead for the Executive’s approval. Lewis failed to transfer this letter to her stationary, in turn instructed the Human Resources employee to proceed with the letter ‘as is’ and adding the employee’s name as they had conducted the actual market analysis. This entire procedure was witnessed by several Human Resources personnel.

Lewis understood this letter would go into the personnel file of Ennis suggesting a pay increase based on market analysis research. The recommendation showed a 12% increase and Culver cut the raise down to 8%.

During an annual external audit by Pigg, Krahl and Stern (PKS), Ennis’ personnel file was randomly selected for review. The letter in question was handed over to the external auditor by Ennis personally. In addition to the letter, she also handed over the Personnel Action Notice, the official authorization document that reflected her raise. PKS contacted the Executive’s office to verify his signature and the legitimacy of the raise. After confirming the signature and authorization by Executive Culver, the matter was settled with the external auditors. Everything was approved and the auditors went on to other items.

Sometime later, the County Internal Auditor Steve Roser requested this letter from PKS. How or why Roser and Council would have further interest in this subject, specifically the letter, is unknown to the Executive staff. PKS dropped the matter and told the Executive staff on multiple occasions that they did not submit Roser the letter. The presentation of the external audit to Council made no mention of this letter, which would have been required if it was considered to be a problem.

Why Council chose to move forward with a forensic audit is perplexing. What remains confusing is why Council decided to hire an outside auditor when in fact their own Internal Auditor is a Certified Fraud Examiner.

In cooperation with Council and the forensic auditor, Kern was given the chain of events in interviews multiple times by many employees. However, Kern seemed to refuse to accept those interviews and continued to badger employees with accusations that they had engaged in fraudulent activity. After one such incident left an employee in tears, Culver terminated the interviews.

Finally, Ennis expressed her disappointment in the Council and its leadership by stating, “I am very disheartened by John Cannon’s attempt to discredit me after working for the County for over 14-1/2 years without any incidents. I do realize my job isn’t always popular with employees, but this goes beyond disgruntled employees’ typical upsets.”

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get 'em Michelle!! Show them what's its like when you actually hire someone with proper qualifications for designated job

Anonymous said...

Ms. Ennis, your disappointment is understandable and warranted. Such is the leadership of the Wicomico County Council.

Concerned citizen said...

Dr Ennis you have just proved how the county is still run by the good old boys
Hold your head high and you are certainly qualified fir your position in the county
It's a shame the council can't apologize and see what an asset your are
Shame on them and hopefully Council gets replaced with the type if people that are truly looking out for the county
You go Dr Ennis

Anonymous said...

Good for her coming out on this. It's about time people stopped tolerating this garbage from our local government. Good for Dr. Ennis!

Anonymous said...

"Why Council chose to move forward with a forensic audit is perplexing...."

No, it's not perplexing; it's because John Cannon is trying to stir up scandal so he can run for County Executive.

JoeAlbero said...

To break this down, Lewis and Cannon really screwed up. What they publicly put Ennis through could come back in the form of a lawsuit and quite frankly, Ennis will win.

Lewis LIED throughout this matter and the actions of the Auditing Firm will absolutely be challenged as well.

I'm glad to see Ennis go public with this formal statement. I can only hope all of you read THE OTHER SIDE that is now formally ON THE RECORD. Just the facts, (for once) and no lies.

Thornton Crowe said...

This is the very corruption I warn you all about constantly and yet some think I'm embittered for doing so.

Corrupt government has consequences and I'm glad to see Ennis's side of the story is finally coming to light after a month of falsely accusing her of some devious misdeeds.

Those of you in the public here that jumped shark, accusing her of criminal behavior should be very ashamed of yourselves. This could happen unjustly to any of us!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Several of the blue collar workers within the county who have decades of service need to be stepped up like Dr Ennis. But no supervisor or department head carry it to the County Executive for his decision and the county has lost many capable and above duty employees because of this.

Anonymous said...

Heard Ennis has a lawyer already. The County Council better watch out now!

Steve said...

You go, Dr. Ennis! Stand your ground then climb higher.nWe need more people like you with your moral fortitude to stand up against the "Good old boy" system. God bless your every step in this!

Anonymous said...

816 so should Leslie Lewis. She's the one who started this whole mess in the first place.

Anonymous said...

John Cannon & his council have indeed wasted our taxpayer's tax money once again hiring an external auditor........just as Bob Culver stated!

Anonymous said...

Why does the county council have to get their noses in everything? It's not like any of them know what the hell they're doing. Should get rid of them all and start with a fresh council consisting of more John Halls and less John Cannons.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to all. John Cannon.

Anonymous said...

JOHN CANNON: If you have a Forensic Auditor on the payroll, why are you wasting taxpayer money going for an outside auditor? Sounds like more corruption and favors going on there. Cannon and the rest of the Council should be forced to pay for that audit out of their own pocket including the County Attorney's time!

Sorry, John, we're only taking Cashiers checks and cash!

Anonymous said...

Leslie Lewis didn't get fired because of a letter, she got fired because she was incompetent and a liar.

Anonymous said...

Actually, smart ass, no negative comments have come through at all because unlike you, the people know what she's saying is the TRUTH. Grow up, a-hole!

Anonymous said...

AND they are still paying her less - because she is a woman? Include that in your lawsuit and go for the gold. If you are going to do it, do it right.

Rebel Without a Clue said...

No offense here everyone, but, the term "Dr." is reserved for academic settings only when you are a Ph.D. I have no dog in the fight, just saying.

JoeAlbero said...

8:25, She does have a Ph.D.

USMCRetired said...

John Cannon is a clown! He is narcissitic arrogant man, who is out only to promote himself. He is totally inept and irrelevant and has a track record of poor performance. He is not a leader, he is a poser trying to build on a resume that is not very impressive. Unfortunately this area continue to breed these type of leaders, which is why our cities, and counties suffer from their decision. Real leaders like Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohan, Bob Culver must wade through obstacles and obstructionists for political reason's only. This liberal agenda and personal vendetta and agenda permeate our government. They should all be embarrassed, just highlighting their true identity.

Anonymous said...

I certainly believe that the County Council of Wicomico County should send a formal apology to Dr. Ennis. Her dedication to the County is apparent through her continuous effort to not allow any employee to be maligned, now she has had to do the same for herself. Using a County Employee to stop Bob Culver from being re-elected is tantamount to using human shields. What a bunch of cowards. This group of "good old boys" thrive on drama, and they were hoodwinked by an incompetent Finance Director, because they are just as incompetent as she (Lewis) was. None of them even the staff certified forensic auditor made her get her CPA in Maryland as was required by her position. Lewis was not qualified at the time of her hire, and never got any better, and used the Council to drag other employees through the mud. Some one needs to be sure this next election cleans out this swamp. Do you think that if this drama and witch hunting is going to attract employees? I can assure you that it will not, get smart Wicomico County, no Council should concern themselves with micro-managing the employees and their day to day functions. You already have checks and balances set in place. Wicomico County you better wake up or you will be losing employees left and right and that is a shame. Oh well you can hire John Cannon to run things since the Council already usurped your Policy Manual. It is only going to get worse. Seems like Cannon is not done yet until he strips the County Executive of his authority to oversee the Employees and their service to the community.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the Council's apology they should also give her the full 12% she should've gotten in the first place. Why isn't she making more than her predecessor considering she has more education and experience in her position? She should be paid the full boat. Maybe the Council members so hot to trot to label her a criminal should cover that extra cash themselves. Hope her lawyer smacks them happy!

Anonymous said...

Was Ennis just collateral damage, John? Quit POLITICKING and do your F-ING JOB, a-hole! Your job is not to tread on the Executive's office or Administrative, YOUR JOB IS LEGISLATION! Get it?

Go get a real job, John. You've been living on the family dole way too long! Too much time on your hands!

Anonymous said...

Actions have consequences. County Council is about to find out.

Anonymous said...

I must commend Bob for protecting his employees rights, he told the council they were out of line but council members acted as they know better. Even Joe Holloway tried to get his face time in by asking Kern if refusal to talk to him ever happened before, Maybe he never met someone like Bob who is not afraid to challenge a bully.

Concerned citizen said...

She has a PH D

Anonymous said...

This is discrimination. Hope she sues them all. Maybe it will wake up the voters, so we get some decent elected officials instead of the clowns on the council.

Anonymous said...

She is a PHD!!

Anonymous said...

Just remember, if she pursues a lawsuit against the county we will have to pay for that, too. John Cannon and members costs Wicomico residents much more than he's worth. Does any of them really deserve to be re-elected?

Concerned citizen said...

Absolutely not

Anonymous said...

Cannon needs to go when can we vote?