Cook County officials have rescinded a high-paying job offer after discovering the man they were about to hire is under a cloud of controversy.
Cook County chief financial officer Jaye Morgan Williams said she hired Stephen Hill to become the county's $127,000 a year head of risk management because of his impeccable credentials.
According to a Detroit newspaper, Hill has been sued by his former employer for theft, he is under investigation by the FBI for millions of dollars in alleged contract fraud, and he's admitted to sexual relationships with co-workers.
"We made an offer to him last week," said Morgan Williams. "He wasn't scheduled to start for several weeks. We introduced him to the staff and they were all excited about him being here."
When she offered Hill the job, Morgan-Williams did not know about problems in Hill's past.
Hill is at the center of a massive public corruption scandal in Detroit. Until 2005, Hill worked as head of risk management for the Detroit Public Schools.
"It was very frustrating," she said. "I'm disappointed. I can't catch everything. It's not my job to catch everything."
Williams said she gave Hill's resume and application to the county's human resources department, which did a background check and reported he was clean.
Monday afternoon, Hill's contract landed on the desk of county board president Todd Stroger.
While awaiting his boss' approval, Stroger chief of staff Joe Fratto thought it would be a good idea to Google Hill's name -- just in case.
The job offer was rescinded Tuesday morning.
Cook County commissioners said the county needs to do more than just check for felony convictions when vetting top managers.
"I think it's ridiculous," said Republican commissioner Peter Silvestri. "It's just a real indictment of the hiring process at the county. You're talking about from what i'm reading someone who has some real serious allegations against him. It's not just a couple traffic tickets on the highway."