Monday, December 09, 2013
You're a Mean One, Mr. Kraft
Under the United States Constitution, the government cannot take our lives, liberty or property without due process of law. That's what sets government employees apart. They can't be fired or even be required to accept a significant pay cut without notice and an opportunity to be heard, unless it is an economic decision that affects everyone, as sometimes happens when people are laid off.
Before the government can shitcan or demote you, you have the right to what is sometimes called a Loudermill hearing, based on the Supreme Court decision recognizing that there is such a thing as due process for public employees..
When County Council on Thursday night defunded the mail room supervisor position, Ken Kraft's asserted there are "too many chiefs" and the position is redundant. He questioned this employee's qualifications as well. There is no position into which she can "bump". She was effectively fired. Kraft stated before the hearing that he was once fired at Christmastime, so I guess this is his payback.
Enclosed are some of my emails to Council, along with Kraft's replies.
Whatever savings you gained by defunding the mail room supervisor position on Thursday night, they will be more than offset by the money she is awarded when she sues you. It is clear to me, and I am sure your Solicitor will agree, that your mean-spirited action was a blatant violation of the procedural due process rights owed to the person you effectively fired. Merry Christmas.
I will refrain from getting into the obvious motives of a Council member who is also a union agent in advocating the elimination of a supervisory non-union position. I will not explore the attempts by Peg Ferraro to penalize the current mail room supervisor for the perceived sins of her predecessor. None of that matters. What does matter is that you fired a County employee at Christmas time without notice or an opportunity to be heard. In fact, when this 3-year employee attempted to defend herself, you told her to sit down, denying her the right to speak to a matter that directly affected her.
You were willing to engage in all kinds of back channel chatter about this person behind her back. But none of you had the basic integrity and decency to answer the insinuations and accusations you were making about her.
Instead of acting like a governing body, your actions are more akin to a star chamber that decides guilt or innocence without any evidentiary foundation. What you did to this person can be repeated against other employees who may rub you the wrong way.
Fortunately, the rights of this person and other citizens are protected under the United States Constitution. You, as the government, are prohibited from taking the life, liberty or property of a person without due process of law.
If you really are interested in saving money and wish to avoid a lawsuit, I suggest that you reverse course at your meeting this week.
You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I know I am ashamed and disgusted by each of you.
I do not like being falsely accused, we eliminated the funding of this position simply because it is no longer needed. I will not tolerate this accusatory type of email. It is our duty as a body to fund positions that are needed and to defund positions when they are no longer beneficial to the County. This is our job.
Really? It is your job as a union agent to make sure you have union work. If you were really interested in saving money, you would not have insisted on a PLA at the new human services building.
I'd like to know what money you saved by opening up the county to a civil rights lawsuit based on a flagrant violation of procedural due process rights. Your actions were so despicable that I could see punitive damages.
The county just settled a civil rights claim predicated on your treatment of another employee. I can see you have learned nothing.
As a union agent, it is your job to screw nonunion employees. You refused to even look at the memo she prepared, and were too much of a coward to let her address you, face to face, as you tried to fire her.
Your actions, and those of the eight council members who went along with refusing to even let this woman speak, are shameful. More importantly, they violated the Constitution. I hope you have a Merry Christmas knowing that you fired someone without even listening to her side of the story.
You should be embarrassed. You should. I am embarrassed that people like you speak for me.
Oh, and Merry Christmas.
There were a few more exchanges, but I think you get the point. Not one other Council member bothered to respond. They were probably Christmas shopping.
The three words that best describe Kraft
are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."