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Menlo Park restores deleted public emails

Original post made on Mar 4, 2013

In the wake of outrage over the deletion of public emails sent to the City Council, the city of Menlo Park has now decided to restore comments sent about a popular gymnastics instructor to the city's public website.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 4, 2013, 11:30 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

apply enough heat and discontent and the city folds everytime. They knew they were wrong so they tried to hide behind the legal bull of personnel information!


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm

The city attorney needs to go back to law school if he has such a poor understanding of the first amendment and the fact that public statements by citizens are not to be suppressed. He may be confusing our constitution with Russia's


Posted by N.D. , a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

The City reversing it's decision on the emails is a good start. Now let's see how fast the City reverses it's decision to fire a respected and valued teacher.


Posted by Long Time Menlo Man, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I'm still waiting for the other side of the story to come out.


Posted by Jwalker, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I think this was more the assistant city manager, and the city attorney corrected her mistake.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Jwalker, I don't know what evidence you have that the assistant city manager made the decision to delete the emails, but if that's the case, I'm even more troubled. A decision of that importance needs to be made by the top dog (who by the time he/she is in that position should KNOW it's illegal to withhold public information from the public) and shouldn't be passed off to a subordinate. What on earth is going on at city hall?

And does anyone believe the Asst. CM's claim that there were only about a dozen emails to return to the website? Holy cow. I'm sorry I wasn't keeping a count, but "about a dozen"? Even in correcting an act of serious misjudgment the city adds insult to injury by understating the number of emails involved.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I'm all for civic involvement, and indeed the city may have acted hastily or incorrectly. But I have a hard time many of these comments due to the anger and disrespect shown towards city employees. I trust that these are public servants who are trying their best to balance all concerns Let's treat them with dignity, even as we ask them to reconsider a decision.


Posted by Carla, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

(Post removed. Personal attack.)


Posted by Long Time Menlo Man, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 6, 2013 at 11:32 am

If you had attended last nights City Council meeting, it was apparent the paper was NOT given accurate information about the firing. AND The City Council, City Manager, City Assist. Manager, and the HR Director have all been doing the legal thing by NOT revealing personnel matters in public. Part of me still wants to know the real story but I understand why I can't know.


Posted by N.D., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

The City Council, City Manager, City Assist. Manager, and the HR Director all may be doing the legal thing by NOT revealing personnel matters in public, however they if they continue to ignore the issues that led up to Michelle's firing they will have a wrongful termination suit on their hands. That much is clear, legally speaking. Ethically speaking, our City Manager needs do the right thing and work to resolve the problem in the Community Services Department and LISTEN to the community, and the staff in the Gymnastics program.. that is if the City is interested in actually getting to the truth of the matter - and intend to make amends. If mistakes were made, then ignoring them is the wrong approach and there will just be more issues of this type derailing an otherwise successful program and tarnishing out City's image. Transparency and leadership are desperately needed here; covering up failures in the Community Services Department is the wrong approach and will likely be very costly for the City and the City Manager.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

ND:

unfortunately, there will be no lawsuit for wrongful termination. She was an at-will employee in an at-will state. Unless she was fired because of her race, nationality, religion, sex or sexual orientation, the city can fire her for whatever reason they see fit. They could even fire her because they don't like the clothes she wears. It's one of the unfortunate side effects of living in an at will employment state.

Because of that, it is incumbant upon the people that support this teacher to keep up the pressure on the city. Like all bureaucrats they are hunkering down now and waiting to weather the current storm. They know that, typically, people will lose interest and their anger will die down over time and all they have to do is wait for it to "go away."


Posted by N.D. , a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm

FACT: Retaliation is a California labor law violation, when the employer terminates or retaliate against the employee who complained.

Retaliation can mean writing up a staff member for something inconsequential; subjecting them to a hostile work environment, firing them after a complaint has been lodged, or the intention of wearing them down until they quit.

The City may even have a Class Action suit on their hands if they don't get to work NOW to resolve the problems within the Community Services Department.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm

ND:

except that what has been reported and the rumours are the teacher had "inquired" about making a complaint. No retaliation with no actual complaint.


Posted by N.D., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm

The personnel department was aware that the teacher had complaints about the supervisor - and it is a fact that her supervisor fired her in retaliation. assuming that the fired teacher has witnesses to back up incidents of harassment in the workplace, and other teachers have been harassed by the same supervisor, she has a very strong case.


Posted by Paul, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 7, 2013 at 12:08 am

There is no law against retaliation except retaliation for exercising a right otherwise established by law.


Posted by Long Time Menlo Man, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 7, 2013 at 7:56 am

She's an at will employee. Here is a situation where she said, they said and they can't reveal the truth because the City must remain mute as required by confidentiality laws.


Posted by The Public, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2013 at 7:54 am

All this he said/she said stuff about the firing is interesting, but let's get back to the topic of the thread: another example of the city withholding public information from the public it's supposed to be serving. Who made this decision, and why isn't there more concern about this dangerous trend the city is exhibiting?


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