Intimidation at its best!

Dear Editor: I am quite disturbed about a news story that appeared in the July 16 issue of The Secaucus Reporter. I don’t know for a fact that Mayor Elwell actually threatened a municipal employee concerning the employee’s possible appearance as a witness in behalf of a fellow employee at a PERC hearing. However, according to the story, the mayor himself did admit to having had several conversations with the employee in question. The story then goes on to quote unnamed town officials who spoke about the employee possibly losing his job because of motor vehicle accidents the employee has had while driving town vehicles. If this is not intimidation it very definitely creates a chilling atmosphere among township employees. The result being that a township employee will have second thoughts before he or she is willing to testify for a fellow employee. I find it shameful that an unnamed official would describe the employee in question as being “gullible,” that he may have been drawn unwittingly into a conflict that could put his job at risk. This sounds not only like intimidation but telling other employees, “watch out, don’t speak out against any wrongdoing, don’t speak out against the administration, or your job may be at risk.” Look at what they said. If the employee in question had testified publicly, his driving record “could have” come out, then the insurance company “might have” demanded that he be removed as a town employee. Now to me, “could have” and “might have” is nothing more than speculation. Anything is possible and could happen, anything is probable and might happen. In life we deal with probabilities not possibilities. For township officials to publicly issue such irresponsible statements is shameful and a disgrace. Even the township administrator speculated publicly on this issue. One question that comes up is, have we in Secaucus ever had an insurance company tell us that we had to fire an employee? I don’t think so. Really, could an insurance company tell us to fire an employee? Again, don’t think so. The bottom line is as follows: 1. It appears that there was an intent to frighten the employee from testifying for a fellow employee. 2. It appears that the intent behind the discussions with the employee was to create a chilling atmosphere among township employees for the purpose of frightening them from speaking out against what they may believe to be unfair practices or an injustice. 3. We have township officials in Secaucus who are willing to make public statements but do not have courage to say who they are when they make these statements. 4. This is really frightening. An employee is publicly insulted and ridiculed and his right of privacy is violated by commenting on automobile accidents. Tom Troyer


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