When Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams dismissed Velda Jones-Potter from his administration for the Foxtail Fest hip-hop concert fiasco, Jones-Potter could have exited quietly. She could have answered questions at any City Council hearing, accepted some responsibility, agreed to compensate, and call it a life lesson. She could've said it pained her to see her son's concert going up in smoke, and her maternal instincts got the better of her.
But no. She oozed defiance. She went on her husband's cable TV show to strike back at the very administration which had employed both her and her son (Her son quit after four months.)
I noted before on this blog about how Velda Jones-Potter - once as a political candidate for State Treasurer, and this time, as the embattled former chief strategist to Mayor Williams - has evaded media over the years in favor of "friendly" venues.
But beware friendly venues. Sometimes people - more relaxed in such settings - might say something more damaging than anything that had been reported previously.
So it was with Velda Jones-Potter. It was on her own husband's leased access cable TV show that Jones-Potter revealed how she had attended City Hall meetings dealing with preparations for Foxtail Fest. She insisted she attended such meetings NOT in her official capacity as the mayor's chief strategist, but as a private citizen. Even used vacation time. No matter that she essentially functioned as Foxtail's lone representative at some meetings.
Police and others attending such meetings would STILL see Jones-Potter as the right-hand person to Mayor Williams, hence, their superior. Not only that, someone who had been state Treasurer (albeit, appointed) and who had worked in Corporate America.
From interviews here on WDEL, and now in The NEWS-JOURNAL, you can tell Mayor Williams has had it. Enough's enough.
Hence the bold headline in today's NEWS-JOURNAL below the masthead: "MAYOR: JONES-POTTER ABUSED HER AUTHORITY". A key quotation from today's NEWS-JOURNAL: "There's no way around it. Vacation days, sick days, personal days, no, you're still representing the mayor's office. And I explained that to everybody who came on board."
Yet the Potters and their syncophants who attended that City Council hearing this week do not seem to comprehend the distinction between public and private events, including the inherent conflict when a city employee represents a private concern before the city, worse, something which would financially benefit an immediate family member. Either they don't comprehend or don't care. Which one is worse?
Still unresolved: Who ultimately signed off on the use of public resources for a private event? Or did everyone just assume Jones-Potter, representing the mayor, had signed off?
And this may be irrelevant but I can't resist: With all the shootings in the city, an act named Machine Gun Kelly. Really?
Posted at 6:19am on October 3, 2013 by Allan Loudell
Sure sounds like the ole flimflam if you ask me. If the city can prove a case of wrongful doing on her part, then prosecute her in court. She shouldn't be able to simply walk away and nothing happens. Stealing is stealing; maternal instincts or not.
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 9:44am
My guess is from some of the quotes of others in the administration that her word was gospel. I am assuming that when Williams and his entire cabinet and staff sat for the first time he issued an edict such as "She is my right hand man. Her word carries as much weight as mine..."
Ergo, when she made calls to police admininistration, went to meetings, etc., she WAS speaking for the mayor.
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 9:45am
And while the Jones-Potter circus continues, things like this happen on the streets
Allan. I thought at the council hearing on Monday it was stressed that it is mandated that Wilmington Police on overtime have to be paid by the city. (I believe it is a negotiated contractual agreement with the police unions done sometime in the past.) Furthermore, even though the event had its own security guards, it was deemed in the city's interest - since those guards had no arrest powers - that police officers needed to be there as well. In other words, if city law was followed to the tee and no malfeasance was done.. It appears she was fired despite no crime being done.
If what I heard was true and John Watson (WDEL) was my source, then the real ogre is the Councilman who stood up and made this mis-event a huge issue.
Can someone clear this whole thing up?
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 11:37am
Here's the deal, according to a source I trust:
By the special events permitting process the city has used for years, if a for-profit organization announces its intention to stage an event in Wilmington, the Wilmington Police Department determines how many cops must work that event. The organizer/sponsor must agree to compensate the officers per an "extra-duty" hourly rate established by the City of Wilmington and the police union. For-profits will then pay the officers immediately after the event.
Police overtime should only come into play when the city sponsors an event, or if and when the city determines it would provide officers for a non-profit group or a city-supported event.
So, in essence, for-profits hire officers at an "extra-duty" rate. The city, meanwhile, assigns the officers to work a non-profit/city-supported event during their regular shift if possible, but, if not, would provide police officers to the event, and they'd earn the OT rate.
The explanation above in no way gets Jones-Potter off the hook. The fact remains: Officers were provided at taxpayers' expense. Although she claims to have come to meetings as a private individual, and not in her capacity as a chief strategist/right-hand person to the mayor, clearly others saw her in her official capacity. And why wouldn't they? Take your pick of verbs. She intimidated / buffaloed / coerced them to go along. Whether they thought through the ethical problems or not, she didn't give them much choice.
By the way, you don't have to commit a "crime" to get fired.
But the irony is -- as the mayor's chief strategist -- presumably her job was to put the administration in a positive light, and anticipate potential problems. Instead, she did -- and is doing -- just the reverse.
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 1:07pm
True, one does not need be convicted or implicated of a crime to be fired. She did violate the number one rule of employment: Never get your boss in trouble.
That is enough to let her go right there.
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 8:52pm
It appears to me VJP cound be an opportunist who hopes to use the publicity to eventually run for governor.
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