DEERFIELD BEACH – A city maintenance worker has been suspended for two days without pay and threatened with termination for failing to greet the city’s mayor in the beach area where she works, according to the employee and an internal city memo.
“I didn’t speak to the mayor and so my supervisor suspended me for two days,” Cassandra Moye told the South Florida Times.
“On Monday, August 3, 2009 at approximately 9:00 AM at the North Pavilion the disrespectful attitude you displayed to the Mayor was unacceptable,” George Edmunds, the city’s acting director of Parks and Recreation, wrote in a Monday, Aug. 3 suspension notification memo issued to Moye. “The Mayor indicated that this was not the first time that you had not acknowledged her when you came into contact. This type of behavior will not be tolerated and is detrimental to the department. Your actions have caused irrevocable damage to the welfare of the department and your fellow workers.’’
In the memo, Edmunds also uses terms such as "insubordination" and "disgraceful" to describe Moye’s failure to greet Deerfield Beach Mayor Peggy Nolan.
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.
Moye said that on Monday, Aug. 3 at around 9 a.m., while on her way to a supply closet, she walked past Nolan, who was on a sidewalk on the beach, talking with another city employee and Edmunds, her supervisor.
Moye did not speak to them.
“She is the mayor, but I don’t know her personally and I didn’t think it was right for me to interrupt them, so I just kept about my work,” Moye explained.
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.
There, Moye said, Edmunds counseled her for not speaking to Nolan, and informed her she could face termination. He then issued a notice of suspension without pay.
Moye is a member of local 1010 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) union, which represents over 500 tradesman, maintenance and clerical workers employed by the city of Deerfield Beach.
Even though the memo states that Moye’s suspension was a recommendation, Moye was ordered to begin serving the days off without pay immediately. She said she was not given a hearing, an opportunity to explain herself, or an opportunity to have union representation.
“They handed me the memo as soon as I walked into the office,” she said.
Edmunds could not be immediately reached for comment, but staff at his office said he would be responding to questions soon. Attempts to reach Nolan about the incident have been unsuccessful.
Union officials, however, said they were unaware of the suspension until they were contacted by the South Florida Times.
“She was suspended for not speaking to the Mayor, and she is already on suspension?” asked local union President Joseph Metts, in response to a call from the newspaper.
“I was not aware of that. That is preposterous. I haven’t seen anything yet, but we intend to fight this. They are supposed to notify us of the suspension, and that didn’t happen. Many of the supervisors are not aware of the policies or our contract, and that is a large part of the problem here at the city of Deerfield.”
Moye is scheduled to return to work on Thursday, Aug. 6. Metts said the union is gathering information and will file grievances over the incident.
“When they called her in the office, and the conversation led to discipline, she could have requested union representation and we should have been notified,’’ Metts said. “But to suspend someone for not speaking is something I still can’t believe.”
When a reporter asked Moye why she signed the suspension notice, even though union representatives had not reviewed the matter or advised her, Moye replied, “Times are hard and I was scared. They were talking about firing me and I don’t have a million dollars in the bank and my family needs to eat.’’
Pictured above is Cassandra Moye.