Stoney aide’s resignation raises questions about city’s hiring process

RICHMOND, Va.  (WRIC) — After Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney toured an up-and-coming business on the city’s southside Wednesday, he was pressed on the hiring and resignation of his aide, Steven Hammond, Jr.

Hammond was convicted of embezzlement in 2015 and then violated the terms of his probation after sending threatening messages to the mother of his children, who filed an emergency protective order against him.

Hammond Jr.

Stoney admitted he knew of Hammond’s embezzlement conviction, but said he was unaware of the alleged threats.

“I always will continue to believe in second chances, but I do believe we have to be accountable for all of our actions,” Stoney said. “I’m disappointed, I’m saddened by the outcome but this administration is going to move forward.  Mr. Hammond is going to move forward as well.”

The City of Richmond does have a strict screening practice when it comes to hiring, although it is not clear if Hammond’s information slipped through the cracks. The ordinance states, in part:

“The Department of Human Resources shall require a criminal history record information investigation for finalists identified in the personnel selection and placement process for all applicants, including volunteers.”

Richmond City Council member Michael Jones said the city goes to great lengths to screen potential city employees.

“With anyone there’s going to be background checks,” Jones said. “For our interns — I’m bringing in two interns from VCU — it’s been about a week or so, we’re trying to get background checks back on the individuals, and they’re just in college.o it’s not something that is turnkey and people  just walk in the door there is a strict process that individuals go through,” said Jones.

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“So it’s not something that is turnkey and people just walk in the door,” Jones added. “There is a strict process that individuals go through.”

Jones said he did not know if Hammond’s entire record was revealed when he was hired, and the city will not comment any further or give specifics regarding Hammond’s employee record. The city also will not comment if anyone in the HR Department knew of the protection order that was taken out against him.

“The easy story is I don’t know,” Jones said. “That’s the easy answer: I don’t know.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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