I received a copy this morning of the report that led to the firing of Shelly Ehenger as director of the Metropolitan Housing Alliance. The Little Rock Housing Authority Board voted to fire her earlier and then rejected her appeal yesterday. (NOTE: The report has not been officially released while the authority continues a process of notifying all mentioned there of the plans to release it. I obtained it by other means.)
The report, by Little Rock lawyer Arkie Byrd, details her examination of a list of complaints by Kim Travis, whom Ehenger suspended as human resources director. That led to Ehenger suspension and then her firing. Travis has been reinstated by the board.
The Byrd review didn’t substantiate all of Travis’ complaints. But she found cases in which personnel policies appeared to have been violated, particularly related to nepotism, where relatives were hired without the required review by the board of commissioners. She said, too, that Travis’ suspension could be viewed as retaliatory for her complaints, in violation of a whistleblower protection policy. Other reviews included allegations of preferential treatment — in pay, hiring and firing and in such matters as who received free parking in a private lot adjacent to the Alliance’s office on Arch Street. One employee also was initially allowed to participate in an agency home purchase program though she didn’t meet the requirement of being a first-time home owner. Also, an employee was hired who was a rental tenant of an Alliance employee. Ehenger also was responsible for holding a Good Friday religious service at the office, which drew a complaint from one employee. Attendance wasn’t mandatory, but the review noted that Ehenger hadn’t provided an opportunity during the work day for others to have any sort of observance related to their faiths.
The link includes both a preliminary report and then Byrd’s final updated report, which the commissioners reviewed before deciding to terminate Ehenger.
I have also filed an FOI request for an earlier evaluation of Ehenger by a former commission member.