|City Aide Quits Over
July 19, 1998
WEST COUNTY TIMES
* RICHMOND'S DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL PROGRAMS RESIGNS AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF LYING ABOUT A MASTER'S DEGREE
Sunday, July 19, 1998
RICHMOND The city's new, popular director of recreation and cultural services resigned Friday, after his bosses said he lied on his resume.
Bradley L. Baxter claimed to have a master's degree from the University of Utah when, in fact, he doesn't, said City Councilman Nat Bates.
The accusation was made last week after the Human Resources Department reviewed the credentials of all city department heads as part of City Hall's reorganization since Isiah Turner took over as city manager 45 days ago.
Baxter, reached at his Suisun City home Saturday, vehemently denied the charges, and said he was the scapegoat of employees who didn't like him investigating possible misappropriation of funds in the Recreation and Cultural Services Department.
"I absolutely did not falsify my application," he said. "They were looking for a reason to fire me because I was uncovering a lot of dirt."
Baxter said he never claimed to have a master's degree. Instead, on his resume and application he explained he completed everything necessary for a master's degree in public administration, except for his thesis.
"On my resume it clearly says that my thesis is still in the review process," he said. "It says I completed all the credits, my oral exams and my internship."
Henry Tingle, former deputy city manager, said he hired Baxter knowing he didn't have a master's degree.
"We discussed his education completely. I hired him because of his experience and his military background. A master's degree wasn't required for the job," Tingle said Saturday. "I'm confused by what's happened."
Turner wouldn't discuss the particulars of Baxter's resignation, only that a background check of his credentials caused some concern. In a meeting with Turner, the city attorney and the human resources director, Baxter was asked to resign from his $64,000-a-year job. He did and was given a three-month severance pay of $16,000.
Baxter said he resigned even though he felt wronged because he wants to fight his case as an outsider.
The news of his quick departure was a shock to City Council members, many of whom worked with him and praised his many accomplishments in only 10 months at his post. Baxter was responsible for a successful Fourth of July festival, for reviving the languishing farmers market, and ending the practice of loaning the city auditorium to civic groups for free.
His removal also raised questions about how job applicants are screened.
"What I don't understand is, why they don't check these things out when they bring someone in?" said Councilman Tom Butt. "It's regrettable that this kind of thing happened and it's embarrassing for me as a City Council person."
Turner said Baxter was hired by his predecessor, and he didn't know if any background checks were done at the time. He said anyone hired under his administration will be thoroughly checked before they get the job.
"This will not happen again," he said.
This is not the first time the city has questioned a resume.
In September 1996, city Housing Authority Director Richard Patterson said he had a bachelor's degree from UC-Berkeley when he didn't. University officials said Patterson went to school from September 1980 to May 1984, majored in mechanical engineering, but did not receive a degree. He was fired for falsifying his record.