Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 103
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for September 6, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Well, Iíve been saying Warrensburg ought to do more to promote our town to Kansas City, and it appears we finally hit the news. A couple of TV trucks and some newspaper reporters paid us a visit; their reports contained a lot more information than weíve seen in certain local media. Iím talking about the Fire Department scandal, of course.

For those who missed it, it appears that a fire department member got a lawyer and went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to complain about, if rumor and the metro paper are to be believed, some pretty nasty harassment. The alleged victim claims to have complained to various persons in the supervisory chain and he claims his complaints were ignored. City management, we are told, naturally knew nothing about it.

The last time this city got media attention, it was also for an attempt by to cover something up. CMSU got all kinds of unwelcome attention when they gave Dr. Elliot that sweetheart retirement contract containing provisions in violation of state law, and tried to stonewall the investigating journalists. Then, they compounded the problem when they responded to an audit by attacking the State Auditor rather than trying to fix the contract. Theyíll be paying lawyers for years.

Now, with attorneys and the EEOC involved, the City will face possible civil fines and monetary settlements with injured firefighters, lawyer fees and more. The details will likely come out eventually anyway, in civil or maybe even criminal proceedings. Iíve never understood why a business or governmental body wouldnít immediately investigate and take some action if even a rumor of harassment was received; those that donít end up getting in trouble anyway.

As this plays out, eventually in the courts, Itíll be interesting to see where the ball was dropped Ė and what the City Council does about it.

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