At last Thursday’s Council meeting, Mayor Andy Gardner concluded his Mayor’s Report by denying bullying and wrong-doing, apparently in response to the resignation letter of outgoing Councilwoman Janet Majka. On the day before the Council meeting, Majka released her resignation letter which stated:
“Truthfully, the venom and nastiness in City Hall literally made me cry many times. I had hoped things would change with a new Mayor, because Mayor Andy Gardner and his ticket campaigned with the promise of ‘working together.’ Unfortunately, Mayor Gardner has continued his predecessor’s tradition of demeaning and threatening any Council Member who dares to disagree with him.”
Gardner told the audience to listen to tapes of prior Council meetings to judge for themselves whether he acted inappropriately.
On the heels of Gardner’s denial, Lake County politics website Lobbyists for Citizens reported on Saturday that a Willoughby Hills city employee, Gardner’s executive administrative assistant Gloria Majeski, threatened a public records requester. Majeski’s duties include handling public records and state law protects the rights of citizens to make public records requests. According to Brian Massie of Lobbyists for Citizens, Massie was threatened by city employee Majeski on social media after asking for public information. The Lobbyists for Citizens report includes Majeski’s Facebook post which says:
“Saw the public records request to yet attack me one more time. Lost no sleep. This time, however, someone will be spending their own money to defend themselves and not the City of WH. My salary and benefits are public record, approved by Council, or their lack to do their job. I certainly earn my pay and benefits and am glad the union exists so bad Council people don’t intimidate, harrass, bully or belittle hard-working public servants. The City has moved to a positive direction. Stop the negativity or be prepared to pay damages!”
It is unclear if Mayor Gardner’s administrative policy permits employees to threaten those who exercise their right to request public records. Willoughby Hills has never had an employee policy manual and efforts last year to require the administration to professionally draft a employee policy manual for city employees were unsuccessful.