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Federal Court Of Appeals Sides With City In White’s Job Loss Complaint

February 2nd, 2017 · 28 Comments · City Council, News and Events

A three-panel federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that Tom White’s First Amendment rights were not violated when, he claimed, his position as Legislative Services Director was eliminated in 2012 for engaging in constitutionally protected speech.

Four years ago former Mayor Tom Bucci, a labor and employment discrimination specialist who has a mighty record representing city employees in claims against the city, filed a lawsuit in federal court declaring the city violated White’s First Amendment rights as the victim of retaliation because he “acted as the conscience and moral compass for the City Council.”

The lawsuit also claimed council members were “inappropriately diverting expense payments from their individual stipends to the general revenues of the city budget to fraudulently increase their individual expense accounts.”

White spoke out against the practices and found that his position had been whited out of the budget. Several council members were cited in Bucci’s complaint on behalf of White including Council President Tom McCarthy who was deposed in the case. White asserted he was the victim of a sham layoff. McCarthy stated publicly the case was without merit. The city countered that White lost his job due to budgetary reasons.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Meyer ruled against White last March writing “although some of the interactions plaintiff describes were undoubtedly unpleasant workplace events, he does not adduce sufficient facts to support a jury verdict that they caused the termination of his position.” The appeals court, in a ruling issued a few days ago, agreed.

Ironically, while the lower court decision was pending, Bucci represented McCarthy in his severance package agreement as deputy director of Labor Relations. The City Council approved the exit deal one year ago.

In a statement, Bucci writes, “I’m very disappointed for Mr. White. Unfortunately, the law on due process has evolved to the point that federal courts are deferring to state courts.”

The city was represented by Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon in both the lower court and appeals court rulings.

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28 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    Racism, right White?

  • Donald Day

    A great decision that put white privilege to rest, right Tom? So I guess the court essentially said what a lot of people on OIB have said, Shut The Fluck Up, Tom.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Great to hear from the OIB lawn jockeys.

      • Donald Day

        Thank you so very much Andy, you are so ignorant, you have no idea of the history of the lawn jockey so you use it just to try to racially ridicule me and Ron. Didn’t the Bridgeport Kid tell you to leave that beer in the basement?

        “The story begins the icy night in December 1776 when General George Washington decided to cross the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack on the British forces at Trenton. Jocko Graves, a twelve-year-old African-American, sought to fight the Redcoats, but Washington deemed him too young and ordered him to look after the horses, asking Jocko to keep a lantern blazing along the Delaware so the company would know where to return after battle. Many hours later, Washington and his men returned to their horses that were tied up to Graves, who had frozen to death with the lantern still clenched in his fist. Washington was so moved by the young boy’s devotion to the revolutionary cause he commissioned a statue of the ‘Faithful Groomsman’ to stand in Graves’s honor at the general’s estate in Mount Vernon.”

        • Ron Mackey

          Don, what in hell are you doing talking about American history? Don, you can’t expect Fardy to know anything you wrote about, it’s the same thing with Maria Pereira when she had the nerve to call a black woman an “Uncle Tom” in her effort ridicule her without knowing the true history of “Uncle Tom.”

        • Tom White

          Per David Pilgrim, Curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan:
          I have heard this account from many African Americans and it is frequently cited on Internet sites. It is a heroic tale and, like many such tales, its historical accuracy is questionable. In a 1987 letter to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Ellen McCallister Clark, a Mount Vernon librarian, concluded that “the story is apocryphal; conveying a message about heroism among blacks during the Revolutionary War and General Washington’s humanitarian concerns, but it is not based on an actual incident. Neither a person by the name of Jocko Graves, nor the account of any person freezing to death while holding Washington’s horses has been found in any of the extensive records of the period. Likewise, the Mount Vernon estate was inventoried and described by a multitude of visitors over the years and there has never been any indication of anything resembling a ‘jockey’ statue on the grounds. I have put the story in the category with the cherry tree and silver dollar, fictional tales that were designed to illustrate a particular point.”

          To read David Pilgrim’s entire footnoted (and very interesting!) research paper, see
          www .ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/question/july08/index.htm

          • Donald Day

            Well Tom White who’s known as an avowed bigot, who should I believe, you or the United States Museum of African American History? What am I thinking about, of course Tom White is correct because white males have never been wrong in the history of this country.

            White males were right when you killed hundreds of thousands of Native Americans when you stole their land, you were right about the enslavement of blacks to build a country that has never thought blacks were its equals, you were right when you killed thousands of Mexicans when you wanted a piece of their country and now you refer to them as illegals when all they want to do is come back to their part of the USA. You were right when you denied women the right to vote, you were right when you lynched thousands of blacks with impunity, you were right when you built a country that has as one of its main tenets the freedom of religion yet want to ban Muslims because of their religion.

            And now Tom you want to quote, get ready for it, a White Male to bolster your opinion. So as you can see Tom I don’t give a rat’s ass about who you quote or what you say because, well, you’re a White Male.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Black and white comments are off the mark in this situation, regardless of what OIB’s guardians of colored issues have to say.

    One or more City Council members saw Tom White’s raising of Stipend issues threatening and they figured out a way to rid themselves of a former Council person from an alternative party who blew a whistle on them. At the last moment of the budget year after all the hearings were held, someone(s) eliminated the Legislative Department staffing positions (2), only one of which was filled with a full-time employee, White. No Council discussion was part of the City Council record I have ever been able to discover. Perhaps it was done in caucus? It did not save the City one dime, as Tom McCarthy promptly countered that position savings by adding a new position to the City Clerk’s office, which City Clerk Hudson was heard to say she never asked for. Anyway, that position and employee are in a twilight land where Tom McCarthy on multiple occasions directed his activities (until White filed his case) and his Clerk office duties are??? Oh well. These things happen.

    But most importantly, the majority of the Council have found themselves in the past four years without anyone specifically tasked to get information for them, respond to constituent requests, and provide background education to the Council. The Council thus is even lamer, or less independent, than they were previously.

    And it was subsequent to that time 15 members of the Council made an illegal request of the City taxpayers by voting almost $30,000 to charitable causes in their districts without public notice. OIB? You bet.

    Oh, and Tom White, public servant so disposed of has suffered fiscal damage near the end of his career for blowing a whistle while McCarthy got severance. Makes you wonder where the courts have room for justice these days. Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee, I don’t tell you what to say so don’t tell me what to say.

      • John Marshall Lee

        I expressed an opinion you “were off the mark” on this issue. That is not a comment on your right to speak your mind, your opinion or whatever you wish to put in print. Neither of us is an editor for the other, or has claimed to be. Will we agree on responses to threads in the future, or disagree? Time will tell.

    • Donald Day

      Guardians of Colored Issues? I’ll be at the next NAACP meeting so you can explain to the other Colored people just what you meant.

      • John Marshall Lee

        I will welcome you to the next General Meeting of the Greater Bridgeport Branch of NAACP. It will be held on the fourth Thursday of the month at Burroughs Community Center, 2470 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport at 6:30 PM. This month the meeting falls on February 23, 2017.
        I am regularly in attendance at these meetings to fulfill responsibilities accepted with the position as Communications Director and have not seen you in attendance.
        Why wait for a meeting three weeks from now to comprehend what my words above mean? What part did you not understand or accept? The removal of the only “official administration assistance” to the City Council weakened that body immeasurably. The parties who set that removal in action while creating another position with another person (no savings to City while expressing that statement as a fact) to pick up Council support below the radar, did the City “dirty.” Perhaps the depositions that were part of the case should be examined as an exercise in local political science. Time will tell.

    • Tom White

      Well, Donald Day sure taught us a lesson.

      Hey Donald, don’t you have a lawn jockey meeting to got to?

  • Maria Pereira

    You NEVER kick someone when they are down. Tom, I am sorry for this news because I honestly believe you were retaliated against.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Imagine, waiting four years and expecting a cash reward that the city normally hands out and getting squat. I am sorry for Tom White. However, in the real world, people get fired every day for a myriad of reasons. Whether it was retaliation or budgetary constraints, Tom White is a professional and it was a loss to the city. I have never heard an unkind word spoken about Tom. Even when he voted to cut me out of the Moran budget. :-)

    Tom will survive! I am disappointed for him and grateful the city didn’t have to pay out another mistake.

    Andy Fardy, I am shocked you would say “Lawn Jockeys” referring to Day and Mackey. It is almost like you have become the epitome of the racist Trump supporter who feels emboldened to make a comment like that. Andy, it is really none of my business, but honestly, did you type that without thinking or did you put thought into that post? I am embarrassed for you. Whether you apologize or not is your business but a real man would plead ignorance or temporary insanity. Apologize.

    • Lisa Parziale

      WOW, I blogged a couple of weeks ago that if you read the views of some OIB participants, you will see that between the lines, we have more than expected bigots, racists and women-haters.

      • Ron Mackey

        Lisa, you did a great job and in pointing out something most people ignore or who really don’t care. Tim White has come out of the closet with his racist slick spin and then you have Andy Fardy who wants everybody to know he’s the so-called tough guy who will push back on anybody black if they say something he doesn’t like but as you see nobody who is black cares about what he writes or says. Between the lines, yes Lisa, that’s what they do, they want to hide how racist they are but it all comes out the more they talk.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Not a fucking chance. These two racists can say whatever they want and I can do the same. Don’t like it, tough.

  • Ron Mackey

    Don, now you know better. White is right, white is always right. Even when whites are wrong they are still right.

    On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its controversial decision on Scott v. Sandford, referred to as “the Dred Scott case.” The Supreme Court’s decision, written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, was current or former slaves and their descendants had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
    Well, there it is, white is always right, right?

  • John Marshall Lee

    The Supreme Court has had Justices named White and Black. It has had justices of those ‘colors’ as well. What can that teach us in February, as Black History Month annually, to keep in mind on the US Court System, rights of persons of color, and moving towards justice? Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      JML, a total of 112 Justices have served on the Supreme Court of the United States, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, now you call that progress? By the way, at your next NAACP meeting ask those who attend what they think about Justice Clarence Thomas, who has never spoken a single word during an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court during his 26 years on the Supreme Court.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Ron,
        Since my enrollment in the NAACP and service to its cause only goes back some 20 months, perhaps you can explain your dissatisfaction with that man of color? Perhaps you have done so in the past and will so inform us, if you think the subject is of importance.
        By the way when you reference upcoming NAACP general meetings you use the term “your,” referring to me, I believe. Does that mean you are not a member currently? Or perhaps a long-time member but disaffected in some way but not willing to discuss or express except to dispute the unsaid and unspoken? Time will tell.

        • Ron Mackey

          JML, as for Justice Thomas I’ll let his record speak and his lack of concern for blacks. I was a member of the NAACP but once they lost their charter I’ve never gotten back to being a member and I will not be a member. Now the Firebird Society of Bridgeport is a lifetime member. As I pointed out only two blacks out of 112 Supreme Court Justices speaks for itself.

  • Donald Day

    What don’t I understand you asked JML? How about “Black and white comments are off the mark in this situation, regardless of what OIB’s guardians of colored issues have to say.”
    So you make reference of Ron and myself as the guardians of Colored Issues so may I ask just what colored issues are we guardians of, Red issues, Green issues or maybe Blue issues?

    Now I’ll know you’ll try to clean up this response with some Ivy League white jargon, but the fact is your comment reeked of bigotry and was demeaning to every black person who reads its content. As much as you think you know about black people and our condition you still haven’t learned the basics, that which is offensive to us a people and what white people can’t say under any circumstances. Joking or otherwise JML, your characterization of Ron and myself as arbiters of Colored (Black) issues offends a large segment of Black America that fought long and hard not to be called Colored and now you are a white member of the NAACP in 21st century America still referring to two black males as Colored. Shame on you and if the NAACP doesn’t reprimand you, then shame on them too.

    I just found my membership card and I’ll be at that meeting demanding an apology to all those blacks, living and dead who find being referred to as Colored offensive, in the 21st century.

  • Donald Day

    You’re absolutely right Ron about JML. I’ve always wondered why he always came to the rescue of the hate-filled racist and vitriolic speech of Andy and Tom and now I know, birds of a feather flock together.

    For JML to characterize Black issues as Colored issues is an affront to all that is decent and moral and a supposedly intelligent educated man would never do that. I am writing a letter to the National NAACP office with a copy of this post and a copy of my NAACP membership card to express my outrage at his characterization of Colored issues.

    • Ron Mackey

      JML needs to ask George Mintz, the President of the Bridgeport Chapter of the NAACP if his organization is the guardian of Colored issues.

  • Donald Day

    What don’t I understand you asked JML? How about “Black and white comments are off the mark in this situation, regardless of what OIB’s guardians of colored issues have to say.”
    So you make reference to Ron and myself as the guardians of Colored Issues so may I ask just what colored issues are we guardians of, Red issues, Green issues or maybe Blue issues.

    Now I know you’ll try to clean up this response with some Ivy League white jargon, but the fact is your comment reeked of bigotry and was demeaning to every black person who read its content. As much as you think you know about black people and our condition you still haven’t learned the basics, that which is offensive to us as a people and what white people can’t say under any circumstances. Joking or otherwise JML, your characterization of Ron and myself as arbiters of Colored (Black) issues offends a large segment of Black America that fought long and hard not to be called Colored and now you are a white member of the NAACP in 21st century America still referring to two black males as Colored. Shame on you and if the NAACP doesn’t reprimand you, then shame on them too.

    I just found my membership card and I’ll be at that meeting demanding an apology for all those blacks, living and dead who find being referred to as Colored offensive, in the 21st century.

    I’ve always wondered why you always came to the rescue of the hate-filled racist and vitriolic speech of Andy and Tom and now I know, birds of a feather flock together.

    For you to characterize Black issues as Colored Issues is an affront to all that is decent and moral and a supposedly intelligent educated man would never do that. I am writing a letter to the National NAACP office with a copy of this post and a copy of my NAACP membership card to express my outrage at this characterization of Colored Issues. And now you take your racist rant one step further and refer to me as a minstrel show and by calling me Bones. You sir are a piece of crap and I find myself disappointed not in you but in me forever thinking you were a decent man. Fuck you, JML.

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