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Menlo Park: Letter sheds light on gymnastics teacher firing

Original post made on Jul 10, 2013

While the city said the public was not entitled to learn the outcome of an investigation into allegations of harassment and a toxic workplace environment in its gymnastics program, a letter from Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre to the former employee who made the accusations sheds some light.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 7:31 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Counsel This
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

Without sharing the contents of the investigator's report, the comments made by the City Manger cannot be verified. Who are these supervisors who acted inappropriately? Who was targeted in the investigation? Are these supervisors still working for the City? What sort of counseling did they receive and by whom? What role did the Community Services Director play in this debacle? Did she authorize the firing? Why? Way too many unanswered questions.


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Posted by Charles
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm

This is just a re-hashing of an old story. I don't see any new news here. What will be news is if the DFEH comes out in favor of Sutton.


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Posted by Counsel This
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

The DFEH investigation will be interesting, and if it contradicts the statement made by Cherise Brandell and the City Manager, they will have a lot of explaining to do. This story needs to be re-hashed until the facts are revealed. The investigation that the City commissioned was paid for with tax payer money needs to be shared with the public.
Close to twenty thousand dollars was spent on the investigation that was looking into the Karen Mihalek's behavior and Cherise Brandell - the two who fired Michelle Sutton and demonstrated "inappropriate behavior". The same supervisors who are giving statement to the press. No reason to believe someone who is trying to cover her arse.


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Posted by Anne
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

While this may not be news, I am grateful that the Almanac is following up. I wish Teacher Michelle and Teacher Chris were back. I still maintain that there was no good reason to fire Michelle and believe that my tax money will be paying for the bad behavior of city employees.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

First and foremost I want to go on record as believing that, indeed, personnel matters are and should be confidential. It matters not if the parties involved are paid with private or public funds; the source of their paycheck does not trump their rights to privacy. If it were any of you who have posted, I'll bet you would be first in line at a lawyer's office. Second, @Council This-You claim that Cherise Brandell is giving statements to the press. First, the article did not say who made the letter from the city manager available to the paper--my guess it was no one from the City and second, again according to the article the only statements Ms Brandell made to the paper were to confirm that counseling had been given and ongoing training is always being done--hardly statements I find hard to believe at all. Find another issue and a different rock to peek behind.


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Posted by Counsel This
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

@ Who R YOU: 'Community Services Director Cherise Brandell told the Almanac that the staff involved in the inappropriate behavior have been counseled. If you've been following this story or talked to any of the teachers who witnessed Michelle being fired inappropriately by two City employees you might just understand the irony of that statement. (Portion removed.)


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

@Counsel This: I have followed this story; in the newspaper. I never make it a practice to stick my nose in where it doesn't belong and then pay heed to hearsay comments made by people whom may have reasons of their own to put lipstick on the pig. As I said, first and foremost, I believe personnel issues are private matters, regardless of where the paycheck comes from.


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Posted by Counsel This
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

If you've been following this story then you know that the City was hiding behind that same it's a "personnel issue" and refusing to provide the reasons why a very popular and well liked teacher was fired - the same City employees who illegally removed emails from a public record and claimed they had a right to because it was a "personnel issue", and now the same City employees who refuse to allow public access to an investigation into the misconduct of the supervisors who fired Michelle Sutton because it's a "personnel issue". Personnel issues of PUBLIC EMPLOYEES are indeed something that is should be available to the public. And it's in the best interest of the public to know how our public employees are being treated, because ultimately in a case like this when there is a hostile workplace created at the City, we as tax payers are going to be on the hook for the abuses.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Counsel This, obviously you and I have differing views on the right of privacy when it comes to personnel issues. Thats fine, I respect your opinion, just disagree with it. I absolutely agree that the public should be interested in insuring that public employees are not being subjected to a hostile workplace, etc. However, I liken it to someone who is a stock holder in a publicly-held company. If there are abuses, the stockholders ultimately are on the hook. But I still believe the individual rights to privacy and due process need to be upheld. A preventive approach would certainly be in order. I know my company spends a lot of time and money providing training to employees at all levels of the organization so as to prevent harassment of any kind.


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Posted by Long Tme Menlo Man
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Counsel this, I agree with WhuRUpeople. and I wonder where you are getting your information and why you keep stirring the pot?


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Posted by Cousel this
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Michelle Sutton was the best gymnastics teacher, an outstanding employee and a kind and decent person. Ask anyone who knows her and has been in one of her classes, or ask any of her co-workers. If it takes stirring the pot to get the City to reinstate Ms. Sutton, I will continue to stir.


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