george_edmunds__web.jpgcassandra_moyd__web.jpgDEERFIELD BEACH —  The manager who suspended a city worker without pay for failing to greet the mayor earlier this month has apologized and rescinded all disciplinary action against her.



The unpaid suspension of Cassandra Moye, which was later downgraded to a written counseling, resulted in a grievance filed by the employees union representing Moye.

To settle the grievance, Acting Parks & Recreation Director George Edmunds wrote in an Aug. 17 memo that he is also retracting the written counseling, and stated that Moye will be paid for the two days she was on suspension. “I believe this matter is best placed behind us and do sincerely apologize to you,’’ he said in the memo, which also stated that, “Because no Personnel/Payroll Action Form was ever processed for this suspension, you did not suffer a loss of pay.’’

The reversal on discipline against Moye followed widespread media attention after the South Florida Times first reported the story Aug. 4 on its Web site, SFLTimes.com.


Moye said she is not satisfied with Edmunds’ latest memo, but union officials said they now consider the matter resolved.

 

Moye also said she did not directly receive the memo, which was brought to her attention by the union.

 

“She said her attorney told her not to speak to anyone, and that’s why she wasn’t invited to the next step in the grievance procedure,” explained Joseph Metts, president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) union, which represents Moye.

 

“The union did its job. We got her suspension retracted, and got her counseling retracted and she got an apology. She is definitely not happy; not satisfied, so she will have to get with her attorney to proceed further.”

 

Moye said the memo does not explain or clarify what actually happened. She cited the differences in the detail and language Edmunds used about her in the disciplinary memos he issued to her, compared to the apology memo, which provides few specifics.

 

 

“The way he talked me, when he knew I had done nothing wrong, and then to have someone else send this to me is an insult,” Moye said. “I was called into his office and fussed at in front of people. He would not let me explain and I was told I could be fired, and had to sign something that was full of lies about me.”

 

Neither Edmunds nor City Manager Mike Mahaney responded to repeated emails and messages seeking comment.

 

“I have reviewed your grievance of August 10, 2009 and it is my decision to settle your grievance by meeting your requests for correcting the situation,’’ Edmunds wrote in the Aug. 17 memo. “I am retracting my August 4, 2009 memorandum or written counseling (copy attached). I have previously retracted my August 3, 2009 memorandum of suspension (copy attached)…This memorandum will be placed in your personnel file and will serve to make null void all disciplinary actions taken against you by me in this matter.”

 

Moye said she does not feel that she has been made whole in the situation.

 

“First of all, they violated my rights again,’’ she said. “I didn’t have anything to do with that settlement, and I am not accepting it. When he [Edmunds] suspended me, he talked down to me in front of other people to humiliate me. He said I was a disgrace to the department and a lot of other nasty things. Now, they get together with this memo, and I have not had any meetings, no hearing and this does not even explain what he is apologizing for, so I’m going forward with my grievance.”

 

This latest development comes after about 35 community leaders and local pastors held a meeting on Aug. 17 at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Deerfield Beach to discuss the issue.

 

At that meeting, Metts informed attendees that Moye had been made “whole,” but said he had yet to receive any documentation at that time.

 

After much discussion, some of it heated, the group reached a consensus to wait and see what unfolded before taking any further steps. They did stress, however, that they wanted to make sure Moye was paid for the time she was on suspension, and that she received a public apology.

 

The issue first unfolded on the morning of Monday, Aug. 3, after Moye walked past Deerfield Beach Mayor Peggy Noland, another city employee, and Edmunds, who were talking on a sidewalk.  Moye said neither she nor the mayor spoke to each other.

Less than an hour later, Edmunds summoned Moye into his office, which is located across town in the city’s maintenance facilities at 210 Goolsby Blvd. Edmunds gave her a stern counseling for not speaking to Noland, and issued the notice of suspension without pay.

Moye, 44, is a five-year maintenance worker in the city’s parks and recreation department.  She earns $12.33 an hour keeping the city’s beach area clean, including public restrooms and pavilions.

In his initial suspension notice, Edmunds wrote that he relied in part on remarks that Noland made about Moye as the basis for taking disciplinary action against her.

“The Mayor indicated that this was not the first time that you had not acknowledged her when you came into contact,’’ Edmunds’ Aug. 3 memo stated. “This type of behavior will not be tolerated and is detrimental to the department.’’

But after the South Florida Times published reports about the issue, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, Noland issued her own memo, denying she made any such comments to Edmunds. That led union officials to begin questioning whether Edmunds submitted false information in an official city document. If so, the union argued, he might have been in violation of city personnel rules.

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Edmunds issued a new memo, rescinding Moye’s suspension, denying that the mayor requested disciplinary action against Moye, and recommending that Moye’s punishment be downgraded to a written counseling.

By this time, Moye had already served her two-day suspension without pay—on Aug. 4 and 5.

Moye returned to work on Thursday, Aug 6. Amid increasing community outrage, Mahaney issued a written counseling to Edmunds, stating that Edmunds used “poor judgment’’ in issuing the suspension.

 

Edmunds was appointed to the $80,248.06-a-year job as acting parks and recreation director on Jan. 5, 2009. At the Aug. 17 pastors meeting, there were calls for his firing, and questions about whether he should remain in the temporary post.

 

Others at the meeting urged caution, and expressed a desire to wait for the outcome of Moye’s grievance before seeking action against him. They said, however, that they wanted an explanation about how the grievance has been handled.

 

“Not following procedures is what got all of this started in the first place. If procedures have not been followed again, that needs to be addressed,” said the Rev. Anthony Pelt, pastor of Radiant Living Worship Center, who organized the meeting.

 

“But if the memo clears her name, and he has apologized, I’m satisfied,’’ Pelt said. “But I have to get the facts, because I have not spoken to Cassandra or read the memo and it’s her decision.”

 

 

EJones@SFLTimes.com

Pictured above are George Edmunds, left, and Cassandra Moye, right.