Posted at: 01/13/2014 5:30 PM
Updated at: 01/13/2014 8:29 PM
By: Brett Davidsen
For the first time, Mayor Lovely Warren talks to News10NBC about the hiring of her uncle to provide security.
It's been a rough two weeks for the new mayor as she has had to address questions about her family, some of the people she's hired and now a speeding incident.
It was our first chance to hear from her directly about why she felt she needed a security detail and whether she had any regrets about giving the job to a relative.
Brett Davidsen: “There has been an awful lot of scrutiny about the hiring of Reggie Hill. Do you regret, at this point, appointing him to that position without first going through other channels?”
Mayor Lovely Warren: "No. All positions in the City of Rochester were up for that the mayor hires. We solicit resumes from a number of people.”
Shortly after Warren took the oath, she decided she needed more protection. She says she had received racist comments and physical threats and consulted with the prior police chief about the cost of hiring a personal security detail.
We now know she gave the job of director of security to her uncle, Reggie Hill. A move that has come under intense scrutiny, especially on social media sites.
Hill is a retired State Police investigator who had led security details for former governors. She hired Ceaser Carbonell as Hill's assistant. Warren says she received just two other resumes for the position.
Davidsen: “How would people have known to apply for a position that didn't exist unless it was advertised?”
Mayor Warren: "This wasn't specifically advertised, but we planned on advertising it and we still do. They both understand this was a temporary appointment until the Department of Human Resources was able to advertise the position."
Warren was also grilled today about Hill's driving. Last week he and Warren were traveling home from the governor's State of the State address in Albany in a city vehicle when they were pulled over for speeding.
The Albany Times Union reports Hill was traveling at 97 miles per hour. Warren disputes that, saying it was more like 80. Either way, Hill wasn't ticketed. She says hill explained to the trooper that it was routine to travel above the limit when on security detail.
Warren said, “They said, look, you're not doing a security detail for the governor anymore and I need you to slow down. Next time I'm going to give you a ticket."
For his services, Hill is pulling down an $80,000 a year salary. Warren says the money is coming from the mayor's budget which was running a surplus. “It's not something that's costing anyone any additional dollars. These are dollars that were already allocated to this office."
Warren says if she could do it over, she would have been more transparent about the need for a security detail but she stands by the hiring of her uncle. “I don't think that there is anything that is legally wrong with hiring someone that has the qualifications to do the job they were hired to do."
Warren says they are in compliance with the City’s nepotism police because Hill does not report to her directly.