Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. continues to hide behind plausible deniability when it comes to the exorbitant salary paid to his former aide, Melanie McDade-Dickens. In June 1, 2018, the Daily Breeze questioned McDade’s then $324,000 compensation, where the author cited the city changed her job description after being contacted about their story. This prompted a long-time Inglewood resident to submit a complaint to the District Attorney’s public integrity unit, alleging her salary was a gift of public funds, which has finally yielded a finding.
“City Manager Artie Fields has admitted to knowing the mayor and Ms. McDade where in a nearly nine-year relationship and I believe her salary was an exaggerated ‘perk’ for sleeping with the mayor,” said Marvin McCoy, who initiated the complaint.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Gilmer provided a closing memorandum on whether the city violated Government Code 424(a) for misappropriation of public funds.
Gilmer previously provided the LA Times, with the offices findings, related to a complaint lodged by former Councilwoman Judy Dunlap alleging the mayor personally benefited from the city’s $100 million trash contract.
Gilmer provided a statement stating their office was “unable to find the case file” on the matter. The PIO office appears to have provided the city with another out related to McCoy’s complaint.
According to Gilmer’s investigation, the city violated the Inglewood Executive Officers (IEO) memorandum of understanding when Fields provided a memo to Human Resources directing them to provide McDade with “acting pay” on June 21, 2017, to perform duties as Assistant City Manager, with pay being retroactive from April 22, 2017, when Mike Falkow was placed on administrative leave.
Fields previously requested McDade receive “assignment pay” effective January 3, 2017. On June 27, 2018, twenty-six days after the Daily Breeze story broke, Fields sent another memo requesting she receive both acting and special assignment pay simultaneously.
According to the MOU executives aren’t allowed to receive acting and special assignment pay at the same time.
Gilmer points out “Fields later submitted documentation to delete the acting pay and designate only assignment pay April 22, 2017. She only points out McDade only received special assignment pay in 2019, but fails to establish the date the city says this action was performed. Public Works Director Luis Atwell was named the city’s Assistant City Manager, in lieu of McDade, in April 2019.
According to website TransparentCalifornia.com, McDade’s salary and “other pay” continued to increase between 2016-2019.
Gilmer concludes by stating the city didn’t violate Government Code 424(a) because the city caught their “error” and removed the additional pay, to be in line with the MOU, and that no one was willingly criminally negligent in failing to know that his or her acts or omissions in appropriating public funds were without authority of the law.
“Mayor Butts surrounds himself with “yes” men who don’t challenge him,” said Wanda Brown, when describing the ineptness of members of the city’s executive team.
How could Gilmer conclude that neither Human Resources (HR) Director Jose Cortes, Asst. HR Director Leonca Cahee nor Payroll Manager Maria Heaney did not know the IEO MOU doesn’t allow for executive members to receive acting and special assignment pay simultaneously?
Cortes and Cahee are directly involved in employees contract negotiations, and would have first hand knowledge of its contents barring executives from receiving both payments before signing off to authorize payroll to begin payment.
Gilmer has officially declared this matter “closed”, however, her official closing memo has been forwarded to other members of the DA’s for further review.MCCOY 2-26-2021