Melton Recruiting Young People; Wants $1 Million | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Melton Recruiting Young People; Wants $1 Million

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Mayor Frank Melton, pictured here in 2006, may have bypassed Council and brought in his own debris crew from Louisiana.

WAPT reported yesterday that Mayor Frank Melton wants a last-minute approval from City Council for $1 million for summer youth jobs. WAPT:

"The signal is very clear. These young people want employment. We have an opportunity to put them on the right track," Melton said. There were 357 openings Saturday morning for Melton's summer jobs program. Within two hours workers said that they received more than 850 applications from local teens. [...]

The mayor has promised every teen a job, as long as they pass a drug test, attend church once a week and perform community service. Melton said that on Monday morning his staff would start calling the teens to put them to work. Before the mayor's plan can work, though, the Jackson City Council has to approve it. Melton said he will make them approve the plan Tuesday night.

There are so many problems here that I don't know where to start. So here's a random list of questions:

1. Who is going to hold this mess of a mayor accountable for how the money is spent?
2. What about his former mentees who work for the city now—are they going to take drug tests, too?
3. Who is going to oversee the problem to ensure that criminals—past or present—are not supervising any parts of this program?
4. Why would the city allow a mayor who has had very bad results in many cases with his mentoring to push his vision of a youth work-recruitment program?
5. What about city liability?
6. Where is the specific plan for this program? Who are all the employers? Why are they just now taking applications?
7. Where will the million dollars come from, considering the mess this administration has made of the city budget?
8. How can we sure that none of these young people will be used by the mayor for potentially illegal activities, such as sledgehammering private homes?
9. Will the new head of the Department of Human Services (or the governor) start paying attention to how Melton is mentoring kids and who is running his youth programs? (Now that Melton friend Col. Don Taylor, who was in that position in the '90s and again recently, has suddenly stepped down, is the new DHS head also a friend of Melton's? Or, will he ask questions?)
10. On a related note, will DHS also start paying attention to how Melton is directing and supervising young men who live in his home?
11. How can a city constitutionally say a young person has to go to church in order to get taxpayer funds? Does this mayor have any idea what is in the U.S. Constitution?
12. What avenues do the teens have if the mayor does not do what he has promised them?
13. Does anyone care about all this to demand answers?

Previous Comments

ID
130834
Comment

Very good questions to ask. While putting teens to work is a very good idea, it's not like this city has money growing on trees to employ them. And the part about teens having to go to church concerns me too. Who's gonna keep tabs to see if they're actually going to church? They're just too many questions needing to be asked. Oh, and the money quote: Melton said he will make them (the city council) approve the plan Tuesday night. What will happen if the council doesn't approve it?

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-06-15T18:09:22-06:00
ID
130835
Comment

apparently,meltons notion is for the city to"hire" these young folks for 10 weeks at $7 an hour and then offer them up to local businesses for placement for free.they will be paid with city funds.he claims it will take a million dollars, funded by dipping into "reserves" and from the cleanup loan.aside from the merits of this notion there is the issue of legal authority:can the city use public money for what appears to be private purposes?maybe someone else can weigh in on whether the city can afford this when so many vital services are underfunded.

Author
chimneyville
Date
2008-06-15T19:33:41-06:00
ID
130836
Comment

other thoughts: the issue is on the council agenda tuesday night.melton has told the parents and kids to show up.melton may thinks he wins either way.if it passes he doles out a million in goodwill.if the measure fails he can demonize his opponents on the council-crisler,mclemore and barrett

Author
chimneyville
Date
2008-06-15T19:41:32-06:00
ID
130837
Comment

It seems clear that Melton is planning to use public funds for private purposes; has anything like this been done in Jackson before -- where the taxpayers pay the salaries of workers for private companies. It also sounds like a recipe for disaster. Who is responsible for what the kids do while on the jobs? Who will supervise them? A busy small-business owner? Or does Melton have some friends he's trying to get cheap help for, on the dime of the city? (Not saying that is true, by the way. Just asking.) Per your last post, chimney—exactly. It sounds like he's had so much bad public relations that he wants to play people for fools and call for the city to hand the million over, and then whine about how bad they are when they don't because it's not legal or possible with our budget problems. Wonder whose idea this one is. Of course, the worst victims are the kids who are, once again, being used as pawns in a political game. How many kids in Jackson haven't gotten what the mayor has promised them? And what happens to them when they are no longer useful to him? I know some you could ask. All this aside, though, let me just say one thing: The people of Jackson do not need to support Frank Melton recruiting young workers. Period. Don't we know this by now? I think back to the whole Ridgeway thing when some smart people tried to put a halt to Melton's direct access to young men, both in his home and in City Hall. I also think back to his powerful friends rolling back those restrictions on his behalf and a whole bunch of judges lining up to give him his way. Now, this. How much can the people of Jackson stand idly by for? When will we insist that our kids stopped being used?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-15T19:58:15-06:00
ID
130838
Comment

Ah and Golden, the point about church is that in America, the government cannot require people to go to church, and that includes teenagers who need jobs. It's against our Constitution and the freedoms it protects. And you sure can't use taxpayer money to bribe them into going to church. What a crock.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-15T19:59:29-06:00
ID
130839
Comment

if you want to see a model youth summer jobs program go to www.chicagokidstart.org which is mayor daleys program.essentially,it provides a screening process to match youths to jobs in public agencies and private business. It does NOT pay the wages of young workers.that is left to the hiring entities.

Author
chimneyville
Date
2008-06-15T21:38:53-06:00
ID
130840
Comment

Once again, he puts the cart before the horse. How can he sit there and promise these kids jobs when he hasn't even secure the funds yet? Yep, when the council says no, they'll get the blame instead of him. How clever. What he should have done is used his own money to start a non-profit and give these kids jobs, and he should have planned this months ago because summer has already started. It's pretty obvious thatthis isjust a publicity stunt because you can tell that this was poorly thought out and is/will be poorly executed. It's a shame that so many kids will be disappointed.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-06-15T21:39:23-06:00
ID
130841
Comment

It's pretty obvious thatthis isjust a publicity stunt because you can tell that this was poorly thought out and is/will be poorly executed. It's also mid-June. If he cares so much about this, why didn't he do something before now? Or, have his staff do it? Right: This is the administration that plans nothing; they just do everything in crisis mode depending on the whim of the mayor.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-15T22:26:41-06:00
ID
130842
Comment

Of course, if the council turns it down, you know that Frank's minions will say that it's another attempt to keep the mayor from doing his job.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-06-15T22:30:50-06:00
ID
130845
Comment

And remember during the campaign, Melton said that he was going to do this through the AFL-CIO. Where are they now? Where were the jobs for the kids in year one?

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-06-15T22:36:40-06:00
ID
130848
Comment

chimneyville, that website on the Chicago kids summer work program is AWESOME! We need that kind of program, not this pie in the sky bs. That looks like it was funded well before the summer - time to make plans and create an interesting, informative website.

Author
Izzy
Date
2008-06-16T09:32:18-06:00
ID
130869
Comment

Assuming the Ledger is reporting this follow-up correctly today, why did they have a community meeting for kids to get summer jobs if all the slots were filled by the time school was out? This is really smelling like politics to me. The mayor promises the jobs, then tells City Council they have to do it; Council can't do it; and then the mayor tells all the family's about how poor-little-him got walked on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-16T15:44:31-06:00
ID
130874
Comment

This is all smoke and mirrors. Melton will have others to blame for his ineptness. If he wanted an employment program for the citys' youth he would have established it for the Monday after school was let out not half way through the summer. As usual the kids lose cause grownups just don't know how to play fair.

Author
darhe3425
Date
2008-06-16T16:32:48-06:00
ID
130876
Comment

This might be blatently obvious to some people and I might have totally missed something but what are these jobs anyway?

Author
Puck
Date
2008-06-17T08:34:19-06:00
ID
130877
Comment

Does anyone remember the Mayor addressing all the City Workers at the start of his term and promising them a raise? Now instead of keeping his word (as he rarely does) he has decided to use these innocent children as a ploy to make himself look good and the city council look bad. Why would anyone with concern for children have them show up at a city council meeting when there is a strong chance they can be let down by the decision. Frank will do anything to get what he wants..including hurting our youth. As a parent I would not put my child in a position to be wounded by someone with his history.

Author
classy
Date
2008-06-17T08:45:10-06:00
ID
130878
Comment

I, too, want to know what the jobs are, and for whom. We need strict accountability for any of the mayor's youth initiatives. Of course, that would be new and radical, but it's time.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-17T09:00:07-06:00
ID
130879
Comment

A million dollar youth jobs program? Who is going to handle all of the administrative overhead that goes with a program of this size. You don't magically hire 900 young people and expect the program to just develop out of thin air. I guess the businesses that are going to hire these young people will just magically appear also. That's right Frank, just twist your nose and it will happen! You have to have structure and organization in place. If there are wages involved, then there's withholding, payroll, taxes, monitoring, fees for drug tests, etc. But then these are things that Melton's administration thinks are trivial until they get in trouble. This is a prime example of political trickery or people who just simply don't have a clue about how to put an effective program in place with proper operational procedures. Or both!

Author
lanier77
Date
2008-06-17T09:52:26-06:00
ID
130885
Comment

Weren't these jobs for cleaning up the neighboorhoods all over the city? I remember Melton talking about doing that during his campaign (which I alluded to earlier about working with the AFL-CIO).

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-06-17T10:35:01-06:00
ID
130888
Comment

The way I understand the proposal is that the jobs are in the private sector. The hitch is that the public sector will pay for the work taking place in the private sector. The idea is that the city will basically ask each individual youth where they would like to work, e.g., Doctor X, Lawyer Y, Banker Z, etc., and then contact that private sector business person to hire the youth. But the private sector business persons won't pay for the work. The city will. If you are confused, don't worry, I am too. I have no idea how such an enormous program would be implemented as a practical matter. And I have no idea how private business persons are convinced to hire folks for an entire summer that they may not need, even if they are not paying them. This is very different than a day or two visit with a business person to see what a typical day is like in a particular profession.

Author
MAllen
Date
2008-06-17T11:00:53-06:00
ID
130889
Comment

I see no way to do this practically, even if we could afford it. I truly, truly believe Melton is doing it to make potential mayoral opponents look bad to the families.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-17T11:04:03-06:00
ID
130890
Comment

You also can't just drop a teenager into any business without giving guidance to the people at the business on how to work with them and mentor them. I know this well, as someone who uses a lot of interns and has been running mentoring programs for years. It'll also be a nightmare for the businesses if they haven't planned for it. Melton has little understanding of managing people, it seems, but it's hard work, regardless of their age. It can be bad for everyone if it doesn't go well.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-17T11:05:52-06:00
ID
130894
Comment

If that is the case, what about Worker's Compensation? Social Security? Medicaid? Insurance? Liability? Training? Management? Who shoulders that? the city? the private sector? Also, what if one of these kids is working for Lawyer X and s/he is supposed to take a document to someone and forgets and misses the deadline - who is responsible? This is an example, but my mind races with all of the “liable” possibilities.

Author
Puck
Date
2008-06-17T11:48:31-06:00
ID
130896
Comment

And who pays for the lawsuits that come from requiring people to "go to church" in order to get taxpayer money? It's a game.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-06-17T11:51:32-06:00
ID
130897
Comment

I say, pay the city workers you already have so their quality of life can improve therefore making their job performance improve. LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE FRANK...you have not proven yourself responsible in this area. Examples being--- Stopping school buses for hugs, taking kids to tear down houses, housing drug users and criminals. Start performing REAL mayoral duties, so that your total term is not a complete waste (well it may be too late for that one).

Author
classy
Date
2008-06-17T12:25:22-06:00
ID
130898
Comment

I believe the follow up article in the CL had a quote by Melton something along the lines of, "This is what running a business/city is all about, taking risks!" I think this statement makes it pretty clear that the man has no IDEA how to run a city. I currently have children in about six different summer programs in the metro area. I visit these kids at these programs. I helped get these kids enrolled in these programs TWO MONTHS AGO before school got out for the summer. This is how these things work. The logistics of programs like this are overwhelming. And, the timeline they talk about is totally "un-do-able" (i.e. two weeks to register, one week of orientation). This leaves the kids approximately four weeks to actually "work" (IF this actually goes down). So, the city borrows money from itself that it already borrowed for four weeks of an actual "program". It makes no sense...and I don't even RUN a city or a business. As Donna stated above, you cannot throw an "at risk" teen into a professional situation where the employees have no training. Programs like this take time to implement. One of the main issues being training one staff at each place that takes a child in mentoring and behavior management. THEN, the city offers some sort of stipend or "break" to tbe business for hiring the teen (they do not "pay" the teen's salary). The teen should also attend at least a week or two of classes on preparing them for the work environment that include proper behavior, attire and the like. These programs work...and I love the IDEA. But, can we get a freaking person in office that actually KNOWS what a "planning" stage is? I know that people give crap to Harvey about "planning", but it's not always a dirty word. It usually saves you several million dollars in lawsuits.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-06-17T13:37:22-06:00

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