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L.A. airport agency re-interviews candidates for supervisor position

Raymond Jack, operations manager at LAX, was accused of helping promote Jane Kinyanjuis, a co-worker with whom he had a personal relationship, and coaching her for an interview.

December 13, 2009|By Dan Weikel

Los Angeles World Airports is re-interviewing job candidates this month for a position that was at the center of a personnel investigation into whether one of the agency's top managers helped to promote a female co-worker with whom he had a personal relationship.

The investigation targeted Raymond Jack, the operations manager at Los Angeles International Airport, and Jane Kinyanjuis, an entry-level superintendent in the same division who was promoted to Superintendent II this year.

Entry-level superintendents are responsible for airfield inspections, and Superintendent IIs manage terminal gates, work on special assignments and deal with airport tenants.

Jack, who has worked for the city's airport department since 1993, said the investigation found the charges "to be specious." He referred further inquiries to the airport department's personnel division. Airport officials said, however, that they cannot comment on personnel matters.

The controversy began in April when the Engineers and Architects Assn., which represents managers and professionals at Los Angeles World Airports, complained about Jack to the city's Personnel Department after LAX officials refused to investigate the union's concerns.

The association accused Jack of improperly participating in the promotion of Kinyanjuis and coaching her for her interview -- a benefit not made available to other candidates. Though he removed himself from the interview panel, Jack remained active in the selection process and wrote questions for the interview, according to the union.

Robert Aquino, the association's executive director, declined to comment. But according to a July report on the organization's website, the complaint was lodged on behalf of 11 candidates who were vying for the position that Kinyanjuis got.

"A full investigation demonstrated that the complaint had merit," the association stated on its website. "None of the eleven affected EAA members could have pursued this issue individually due to their concern about retaliation. . . ."

According to the association, personal relationships in the LAX workplace are not prohibited unless they are disruptive or lead to discrimination by a supervisor who has a personal relationship with a subordinate. Also, city personnel policy forbids the coaching of job applicants unless it is offered to all candidates and conducted by impartial officials who do not make hiring decisions.

As a result of the investigation, Los Angeles World Airports agreed to re-interview candidates for Kinyanjuis' position and offer interview workshops for all interested applicants, according to the association.

The interviews are now being held, almost eight months after the personnel investigation concluded.

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