Everyone knows the story of the Grinch. What is going on now in the City of Kingston is TRULY UNBELIEVABLE.
Jeanne Edwards, an employee of the Department of Public Works who filed a sexual harassment suit against the city last year has been laid off by Mayor James Sottile.
Ms. Edwards received the bad news in a letter on Friday from Kathleen Thomas, executive secretary in the city’s Civil Service Office stating that “Recent changes in the economy have forced us to make some difficult decisions here at the city of Kingston. “Therefore, it is with regret that I inform you that we are eliminating your position as code enforcement officer effective May 29, 2009.”
“I think that this is a disgraceful move coming from a mayor with a disgraceful history regarding his workforce,” said Troy Ashdown, the vice president of the CSEA local that represents city public works employees. “This mayor acts unstable at times, and once again we are seeing that.”
It sure looks like something is terribly wrong. If you have been following the history here - the Mayor tried to cut Edwards to part-time in his budget proposal last January.
The Common Council did the math and realized that the savings to taxpayers from cutting Edwards to part-time would amount to SAVING ONLY PENNIES.
Many residents spoke out in favor of keeping Edwards in a full time time position and in the end the Common Council voted to fund her position at full time in the budget they approved.
If the position was budgeted for - how can the Grinch steal Christmas again after the fact?? Something smells rotten here.
Edwards, Troy Ashdown and other union leaders of the CSEA are calling the action retaliatory and said that they will pursue legal action against Sottile for her being laid off.
Edwards is one of two city employees Sottile has laid off recently. The other was in the Parks and Recreation Department. A common practice in retaliatory layoffs is to combine or bundle the real victim in with another employee or employees.
“I am not looking at names,” Sottile said. “I am looking at positions. The task that she (Edwards) does will be done by somebody else.”
Ashdown said Edwards layoff may add fuel to the sexual harassment suit filed by her and two other women who worked for the Department of Public Works at the time. That is an additional cost that will far exceed the cost of the already budgeted position.
Does this really make any sense?
Oh and well,well,well - Sottile is on vacation this week, golfing in Florida.
According to the Kingston Freeman:
Alderman Thomas Hoffay said on Friday that he was not aware Edwards had been laid off and that he was under the impression the city’s retirement incentive and voluntary furlough programs had eliminated the need for job cuts.
“This gives their (union) argument some credibility when it is just one person getting something in the mail,” said Hoffay, D-Ward 2.
Sottile, a fellow Democrat, responded by saying Hoffay “doesn’t understand the finances of the city.
“Unfortunately, all indicators are ... that (what has been done so far) isn’t enough,” the mayor said.
Alderman Michael Madsen, D-Ward 9, described himself as “speechless” when told Edwards had been laid off. Asked if he thought the move was retaliatory, he said: “How could any conscientious person think otherwise?”
Alderwoman Ann Marie DiBella, one of two women on the Common Council, declined to comment about the layoff. “I just as soon stay out of it,” the Ward 5 Democrat said.
That is NOT an acceptable answer.
Her mouth is always going about everything else. Let's hear it now. Speak up, step up and be heard - even if it means you must- God forbid - question the Mayor Grinch.
It is very well known how hard that is for YOU to do.
Where too are the rest of the members of the Common Council on this issue? The people expect an answer. Is this how Ms. Edwards would have been treated if you were in charge? If this involved your own sisters? Wives? Mothers?
Your silence is deafening.