Royer Trouble

I can't speak with any authority about his abilities, but City Hall folks have not generally given me a high impression of Dennis Royer, who Tom Menino recruited from Denver to head the city's public works department two years ago. His department is in all kinds of trouble over workers committing payroll fraud, and Royer hasn't exactly seemed to have gotten things under control. After he testified at a city council budget hearing last week, one aide told me that "Royer's a little over his head," and is "not cut out for the job."

Now we learn that Royer also allowed his senior systems analyst to telecommute from Venezuela for five months, apparently without bothering to check whether that would be A) in violation of union rules (yes) and B) embarrassing for a department accused of not knowing whether its people are really working for their pay (yes).

Menino has not asked for Royer's resignation, but has taken the unusual step of suspending him without pay for three weeks. That potentially leaves him in the tenuous position of running a key department while people in the building think he's incompetent.

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