March 16, 2008

Tiverton Harassment Suits

Justin Katz

And things just get worse for the town of Tiverton:

Three discrimination suits against the town filed by female employees in Police Department resurrect the controversy involving former Town Administrator W. Glenn Steckman 3rd and his failed attempt to fire Police Chief Thomas Blakey.

Blakey was reinstated by the Town Council nearly a year ago.

Both Steckman and Blakey are named as defendants in the civil rights complaints filed by two civilian dispatchers and a former patrolwoman during the past six months in U.S. District Court, Providence.

The dispatchers and the police officer all allege that Blakey subjected them to sexual harassment and, once they complained, varying degrees of retaliation. The police officer, Amy Barboza, was fired. ...

After Blakey's reinstatement, cracks emerged in the relationship between Steckman and the Town Council, which ultimately bought out about 11 months remaining on his contract for $40,000. ...

The terms of the agreement were sealed until after Steckman's last day, on Feb. 22. They include a stipulation that the town will pay Steckman's expenses in connection with his role as a defendant in any lawsuits brought against the town.

Normally, I'd be inclined to point out to the women that their lawsuits, which are based on incidents from some time ago, will likely have the effect of putting people who have absolutely nothing to do with any harassment out of work and costing others their homes. It's kind of hard to make that moral case, though, when the alleged perpetrator still holds his job — and that deliberately against the wishes of the town administrator.

(I should stress, however, that I wasn't paying attention to local politics when this controversy erupted, so I can't say but that the four council members who voted to reinstate Police Chief Thomas Blakey were in the right.)

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Why shouldn't any monetary judgements which arise out of these lawsuits be assessed against the men themselves as opposed to the town/the taxpayers?

Put it another way. Is taking a public job a good way to illegally harass people and then have someone else pick up the tab for your bad behavior?

Posted by: Monique at March 16, 2008 5:01 PM