New Mid-Coast waste facility manager's past employment history discussed

By Susan Mustapich | Jul 13, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The new Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation facility manager will have many tasks including finalization of a closure plan for the landfill, and the more immediate issue of preventing landfill fires.

ROCKPORT — Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation representatives said they have knowledge of new facility manager Tokunboh-Baridi Nkokheli's prior employment information, which was the subject of online comments by Villagesoup subscribers who had Googled Nkokheli's name.

The information that Nkokheli was fired in 2015 from his position as Director of the Fort Smith Arkansas Department of Sanitation is the subject of news stories posted online in 2015 and 2016 by news organizations based in Arkansas.

Nkokheli was hired by the MCSWC Board of Directors July 8 to oversee operations at its facility on Union Street in Rockport, which also served the towns of Camden, Hope and Lincolnville. He plans to move to the area in August, and his contract begins on Aug. 26, according to a press release.

Several MCSWC Board and Executive Board members said July 12 that they were aware of the firing because Nkokheli brought it forth when he was interviewed; it was discussed and vetted by the Personnel Committee which recommended his hiring.

Camden Town Manager and MCSWC Executive Committee member Audra Caler-Bell, Hope Town Administrator and Executive Committee member Samantha Mank, and Camden Select Board chairman and MCSWC Board member Bob Falciani all concurred that Nkokheli was one of two top candidates who were interviewed several times. The top two candidates visited the Rockport facility, MCSWC Board members personally checked both candidates references, and the candidates submitted to background checks performed by the Camden Police Department.

MCSWC Personnel Committee and Board member Alison McKellar said the Board looked into Nkokheli's past employment. "We were provided with additional information that made everyone feel good that we're hiring someone of integrity and somebody that we can definitely put our faith in," she said. "We appreciated he brought up the information and was very candid with us and was willing to share," she said.

McKellar said she has walked the grounds of the transfer station with Nkokheli and "he's really knowledgeable and thoughtful, and knows what's he's talking about."

Nkokheli is currently Landfill Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, Baltimore, Maryland, where he has worked since 2017. He was previously Director of the Department of Sanitation in Fort Smith, Arkansas from 2005 to 2015, and Assistant  Director, Department of Solid Waste Management, Durham, North Carolina from 1999 to 2005.

 


Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 14, 2019 16:53

WOW! I see your point Dale and also wonder why this candidate was not vetted more carefully.



Posted by: Dale Hayward | Jul 13, 2019 22:20

Susan: First let me admit that I should mind my own business in this matter. However, I can not due to the track record of political appointments having been made over the last few years by some, not all, of the local communities. Those range from poor choices for city managers to department heads to police officers, and I suppose the list can go on. Some communities have scored well with their choices but that can not be said for some others. Case in point: Rockland went through a hideous bout with a poor choice for city manager not long ago. That person in turn made some poor choices for department heads and left us to wallow in their mud.

I find this case interesting on various points, like I previously wrote, simply gathered from the internet by Googling the name of the newly hired manager of the MCSWC. I find it interesting also, that you take the position that you are satisfied that the board of the MCSWC performed due diligence in choosing this individual.

Your mention of the information of him being fired from Fort Smith, Arkansas amounted to only about 36 words, hardly providing any information considered to be details of that firing. You might have elaborated instead of just passing it off. Then again if anyone should be interested, and very, very, few apparently are by the comments made as you mention coming from the Villagesoup, they can read the same details I did my googling his name.

You mention that several MCSWC Board and Executive Board member said July 12 ( I assume you interviewed all of them) that they were aware of the firing because he brought it forth when he was interviewed: it was discussed and vetted by the Personnel Committee which recommended his hiring. Vetting according to google means: make a careful and critical examination of (something). Perhaps they did and all is well.

However, Alison McKellar, you quoted: "The Board looked into Nkokheli's past employment. "We were provided with additional information that made everyone feel good that we're hiring someone of integrity and somebody that we can definitely put out faith in". she said "We appreciated he brought up the information and was very candid with us and was willing to share," she said.

McKellar said she has walked the grounds of the transfer station with Nkokheli and "he's really knowledgeable and thoughtful, and knows what he's talking about."

Nkokheli is currently Landfill Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, Baltimore, Maryland, where he has worked since 2017. He was previously Director of the Department of Sanitation in Fort Smith, Arkansas from 2005 to 2015, and Assistant Director, Department of Solid Waste Management, Durham, North Carolina from 1999 to 2005.

You do not mention was his employment was from 2015 to 2017, maybe not important, just curious.

His termination letter from the Fort Smith Acting City Administrator on December 7, 2015 at 2PM was given to him with the 4 item list as follows:

1. Insubordination in violation of Section III.H.

2. Solicitation of personal loan from vendor, in violation of Section III and the Code of Business Conduct, Section II.

3. Solicitation of personal from subordinate employees in violation of Section III and the Code of Business Conduct, Section II.

4. Misuse of city equipment and personnel for repair of personal vehicle, in violation of Section III and the Code of Business Conduct, Section II.

His reply: "I feel in my humble opinion that this is just an agenda between five individuals who are friends, who have an agenda based on the fact that they had some issue with me relating to my over site of their job responsibilities," he said.

Further in this article he stated that at that time he planned to seek legal representation and planned to sue the City of Fort Smith, Jeff Dingman, and city auditor Tracey Shockley. He was asked if he would be seeking to be reinstated to his former position. " I have initially went on record saying no. But I think what I will wait and di is wait on what an attorney will say once we are ready to proceed, as to whether or not part of the recourse to seek some remedy will include me accepting the job back," Nikokheli said.

Note: the interview is available part 1 after this article.

An article entitled: FORT SMITH(KFSM)-5NEWS has been following events that took place leading up to the firing of the last department of sanitation director.

Records show in August 2015, a number of discrepancies were flagged on Baridi Nkokheli"s credit card and travel expense reimbursement reports.

Nkokheli was flagged for 20 items on the expense report, which include renting a luxury car in Tampa and arriving three days early for a conference.

He was asked to pay the city back more than $1,500, which acting city administrator Jeff Dingman said Nkokhel eventually did.

Memos by the finance department in May 2006, July 2006 and June 2009 also reprimand Nkokheli for not follow city

policy.

In 2013 and 2014, invoices show Nkokheli spent more than $6,100 on orders for custom link bracelets with the sanitation department logo on them. Expense reports also show almost $2,500 was spent on promotional products last year.

Documents also show Fort Smith Police looked in criminal allegations against Nkokhels 2.5 months before he was fired, which included accusation such as receiving kickbacks from vendors and misuse of travel funds.

This reported (We) asked administrator Jeff Dingman for a copy of the file. He provided us with a copy redacted paragraphs, and even an entire page blacked out.

The Fort Smith Police Department has since released the document to us in their entirety.

The redaction included allegations of suspicious name changes, giving away sanitation department property and signed statement from two former employees saying Nkokheli brought firearms to the workplace in violation and city policy and possible state law.

No criminal charges were ultimately against Nkokhelo.

Dignman said he redacted the information under the advice of the city attorney because those items weren't necessarily used a justification for firing him.

Nkokheli's spending was never flagged under the tenure of former city adminstrator Ray Gosack that we know of.

He was fired by Dingman in December 2015.

For further reading and to save pages of space here there is an article entitles "More details emerge on sudden firing of Fort Smith sanitation boss, City Directors react.

NOTICE OF TERMINATION: December 7, 2015 to T. Baridi Nkokheli from Jeff Dingman, Acting City Administrator

FACTS:

1. Insubordination in violation of Section III.H.

On November 23, 2015-you were directed by your immediate supervisor to postpone the demotion of an  employee. The demotion was not postponed irrespective of that direction. On November 30, 2015 the supervisor reaffirmed that the demotion was not postponed and the employee was reassigned upon reporting for work.

2. Solicitation of a personal loan from Vendor in violation of Section III and the Code of Business Conduct, Section II.

It has recently come to the City's attention that you solicited a personal loan from Roger Williams, an employee of River City Hydraulics a vendor with which the city does business.

3. Solicitation of personal loan from subordinate employees in violation of Section  III and the Code of Business Conduct,

Section II.

It has recently came to the City's attention that on multiple occasions, you solicited personal loans from subordinate employees, specifically Joseph Hopper and John Barnes. Such employees have state that such loans were accommodated, at least in part, in order to maintain favor with you as their department supervisor.

4. Misuse of city equipment and personnel for repair of personal vehicle, in violation of Section III, and the Code of Business Conduct.

It has recently come to the City's attention that you have directed you subordinate employees to repair a personal vehicle while on city time, using city facilities and using parts belonging to the city, including tires. This has been substantiated by both former and current employees including Joseph Hooper, John Barnes and Terry Rankin.

DISPLINARY ACTION:

The reported facts have been substantiated to the satisfaction of you immediate supervisor, and are serious violations of work rules and personal conduct standard established by city police. Therefore, you employment with the City of Fort Smith is hereby terminated, effective immediately.

Delivered to employee on December 7, 2015

The full letter of termination is available at this similar location on google.

According to mylife:

His name is or was at one time Kevin Kellough, aka Kenneth Wesley Kellough, AKA Kenneth Wesley Kelbugh, AKA. K.W. Kello, AKA Cevin W. Kellough, AKA Baridi Nkokheli, AKA Kevin W. Kello

 

THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FROM PUBLIC INFORMATION WITH THOSE SITES EASILY AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE BY SIMPLY GOOGLING: TOKUNBOH-BARIDI NKOKELI. THE SITE(S) ALSO GIVE REFERENCE TO CRIMINAL AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION, IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED.

Susan, I hope this gives you some insight into why I take an interest, if not directly related, in how our local governments, agencies, and public venues are operated and perhaps to garner more appropriate public servants and provide out citizens with confidence that our money is being spent for the best services that can be provided for our tax dollars. I have tried to fairly represent these articles, however, with so much typing a could possible make a mistake. I would strongly suggest, if anyone has any interest, that you gather the articles and read them carefully.   Any questions, please? Respectfully, Dale Hayward

 



If you wish to comment, please login.