CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team pressed Cleveland City Hall about an aide to the mayor earning a six-figure salary working part-time, and suddenly the city says she’s been moved to a full time job.
For weeks, the I-Team has been asking questions about Fran DiDonato.
Records show, in January, she began working as a special assistant to the mayor earning $105,000 a year in a 30 hour/week position.
The I-Team started investigating after Councilman Brian Kazy raised questions about it at a city budget hearing.
We filed a records request to find out more. We asked for the job description for this employee, work schedule/hours, resume and more.
But this week, the law department couldn’t tell us basic information.
One email response said, “The city does not have any responsive documents to your request for the job description, work schedule/hours or resume.”
DiDonato did not return messages we left for her Thursday morning.
Then, Thursday afternoon, the mayor’s office told us that DiDonato now is full-time in the Department of Sustainability.
Also Thursday, we reached back out to Councilman Kazy.
He couldn’t understand why the city, earlier this week, could not provide a job description and more.
“That’s unacceptable,” Kazy said. “The citizens of the City of Cleveland deserve to know what the employees are doing on a daily basis and what their job titles are.”
The Mayor’s Office also told us DiDonato got a $5,000 raise moving to full-time.
The city says she started the full-time job on March 21, but records we had just received from the law department didn’t mention anything about that and didn’t provide basic details about her position in the mayor’s office.
We also reached out to the Cleveland Police Union President since the union is just beginning talks with the city on a new contract. Jeff Follmer reacted to a city employee hired part-time at more than $67 an hour.
“It’s concerning. I mean, that’s a lot of money,” Follmer said. “I mean, priorities have to be set straight here. You have to get ourselves, EMS and fire, all the safety forces, get our contract done.”
In an email, the Mayor’s Office wrote:
“This role was established as a Senior Strategist with the incoming administration on a part-time basis to assist with setting up the mayor’s office and onboarding of new Directors. The intent was always to reassign the role after that initial period. Today, Fran DiDonato is full time in the Department of Sustainability. Based on her prior experience in that department, she is best suited to assist the new head of the department, once hired.“
The city says her new job functions include:
- Assess cross departmental collaboration opportunities in sustainability
- Assess the individual employees tasks and projects
- Work on and track legislation
- Map funding opportunities
- Review existing data