Councilwoman Joan Cergol demanded answers Tuesday about the handling of an allegedly vulgar email sent by a town department head and referring to a female town employee.
The email, sent to two male employees by their male supervisor in November, includes sexual references to the woman. The man who allegedly sent it was just suspended this month.
Without naming anyone involved in the matter, Cergol said, “As a woman on the Huntington Town Board, I find this incident of especially great concern.”
She said that she only learned about the issue on Monday when a member of the press contacted her, and that she has contacted the town supervisor and the town attorney to learn what had happened.
She said she has the following questions:.
Had I as a Town Board member not learned of the incident from the press
how would I have been notified of this incident?
• Since the email was sent in November why wasn’t the department head
suspended immediately following its discovery?
• Why was such a severe matter concerning a Town director who is
appointed and serves at the pleasure of the Town Board not brought to
the Board’s attention for discussion and action?
• Following this incident was the department head’s town email account
reviewed to determine if other emails exist that violate the Town’s email
• If the incident occurred late last year, why is the two-week suspension
taking place in February?
• Who made the disciplinary decision suspending the department head for
two weeks and mandating sensitivity training?
• Who is paying for the sensitivity training and will it occur on town time?
• Did this incident follow the Town’s EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity)
policy as outlined to all employees at a recent mandated seminar on
proper employee conduct in the workplace? Was it reported to the EEO
• Did the male employees who received the vulgar email report it to the
EEO Officer as prescribed above?
• If the department head demonstrated a lack of judgment and
professionalism in sending this email on Town equipment, blatantly
violating TOH email policy, does this not undermine the Town Board’s faith
and confidence that he can supervise one of the most critical
departments serving Huntington residents without additional incident or
potential liability to the taxpayers?
• Have the staff of this department been interviewed to determine if they
have been subjected to a hostile work environment?
• Why is the Town refusing comment to the media about the inappropriate
behavior by a Town Board-appointed department head, deeming it a
“personnel matter” not subject to Freedom of Information (FOIL) access?
The manner in which this incident was handled, its lack of transparency and
apparent departure from Town of Huntington protocol demand further
investigation and satisfactory answers to the Town Board and the residents to
which we are accountable.
Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson also said, “I am equally appalled by what I have learned and share in the concerns and questions she has raised in her statement.”
No one else from the town administration was immediately available to comment.