Appearance of nepotism in Bethlehem shows why new leadership is needed | Letter

In January 2018 Bob Donchez, the current mayor of Bethlehem, hired Eric Evans as Bethlehem’s business administrator. Mr. Evans at the time was an elected member of city council and a middle school teacher. He resigned his teaching and elected position to assume his new duties, with a current salary of $111,459.

In 2019, Bethlehem’s recreation director retired from her position with the city. Jodi Evans, wife of Eric Evans, was selected from a field of about 100 candidates for the new job in April 2019. Mr. Donchez went out his way to assure us that there was nothing unusual about her hiring.

Out of 100 candidates, we were publicly assured that there was nothing wrong with the hiring process. Really? All we heard was silence from city council. Crickets. Mrs. Evans’ starting salary was $65,000 as she resigned her position as a teacher to assume her new duties.

The 2021 Bethlehem city budget shows that she went from a 2020 salary of $69,469 to $77,262 in 2021. That’s a $7,793 increase in the middle of a pandemic when parks were forcibly closed. In that same two years, your city taxes have gone up even as you have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic.

This is the picture of nepotism, and a perfect example of why we need new leadership in Bethlehem. Vote John Kachmar for mayor!

Mike O’Hare

Bethlehem