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Hearing will be held on whether to fire suspended public works director

Department of Public Works Director Steve Shaya

Department of Public Works Director Steve Shaya

By Charles Sercombe
Director of Public Works Steve Shaya should find out if he still has a job next week.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Sheila Ann Gibson ordered that a city hearing go forward on accusations that Shaya violated city ethics codes and the city’s law on income taxes.
Neither charge has been explained by Emergency Manager Cathy Square, who also put Shaya on paid administrative leave on July 28.
Square initially scheduled a hearing on the accusations for Aug. 11 but Shaya received a court injunction on that day preventing the hearing.
In his injunction, Shaya said he had not been given enough time to prepare a response, and that the city may have violated his privacy rights in its investigation into an income tax violation.
On Wednesday, Shaya’s objections were heard in a show cause hearing by Judge Gibson. City Attorney John Clark said the city has a right to hold the hearing, and that if Shaya thinks a law was broken in the income tax matter he should file a complaint with the police department.
Shaya’s attorney, Mark Koroi, questioned whether the police department would investigate the income tax matter because Square is an appointee of Gov. Snyder.
Clark said Shaya is one of several city employees under income tax investigation.
Clark further said that if Shaya is fired as a result of the hearing, he can then seek arbitration.
Judge Gibson agreed and gave Shaya one more week to get ready for the hearing.
At press time it was unclear what day that hearing would take place, but Clark said it could be next Wednesday.
Shaya may have violated the city’s ethics code after admitting recently that he is the uncle of a city contractor who performs lot clean-ups and snowplowing service.
The contractor, Platinum Landscaping, Inc., has earned over $2 million since being employed by the city for the past three years.
Prior to being appointed Director of Public Services, Shaya was an employee with Platinum. At the time of his hiring there were some councilmembers who objected, saying his employment with the company posed a conflict of interest.
Shaya was also employed in this position when Lou Schimmel was the city’s emergency financial manager in the early 2000s. He was suspended when it came to light that he was a convicted felon at that time and had failed to inform anyone.
Schimmel later eliminated Shaya’s position and hired Cathy Square in his place. Square is now Hamtramck’s emergency manager.

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