Wednesday, February 21, 2007

McNeilly: Not About Money?

Our reading of the KDKA Jon Delano report on negotiations to settle the suit by Police Commander Catherine McNeilly against the Ravenstahl administration differs from the rest of the 'sphere.

We have heard much about the monetary aspect of the settlement. Conventional wisdom somehow placed a figure of $25,000 as indicative of a respectable non-embarrassment, an amicable burying of the hatchet. Reports that the buy-off could approach $100,000 have been interpreted as a costly indication of serious wrongdoing by the mayor.

However, McNeilly's lawyer seemed to indicate that the crux of the matter is an acknowledgement that city workers are protected under federal whistle blower protection. Mayoral challenger Bill Peduto has already seized upon this aspect, stating "It's obvious that her constitutional rights have been violated by Luke Ravenstahl."

Even if the McNeilly faction is being somewhat disingenuous in holding out for that kind of apologetic submission, this is not the ground on which Team Ravenstahl would wish to fight in the coming weeks.

2 comments:

  1. First of all Bram. it's nice to see you back. I hope everything is going as well as can be expected in your family. I've been thinking about you.

    As far as the McNeilly thing goes... I know that it's wrong to say this. I know that I would never say it about a man. But what in the hell is up with Cathy's hair? She'll need all the money she can get out of the city to pay someone to fix that permanent bed-head thing she's got going on. Hell, she should sue her current hairdresser for that, using whatever cash she gets from the city to pay for those legal fees.

    And she would probably get at least $35,000 just from the hairdresser. Sweet Lord! What was she thinking!?

    Now that that's out of the way, I think it's pretty fair to say that for Ms. McNeilly, it really isn't about the money in this case. From a legal standpoint, she wasn't harmed all that much. For about a month, she was demoted to Lt. During that time, she was receiving a salary that was $10K less than what she was making before. So she was out, at most, about $833 over that one-mont period of time.

    She's not suing over $833. She's suing over humiliation. Both the humiliation she received by being so publicly demoted (now she knows how poor Frank Rende must feel), and the humiliation she can give back by publicly forcing the mayor to "admit" his mistake.

    This being America, the way people admit their mistake is by paying money. Thus the amount of money is certainly important to Ms. McNeily -- who wouldn't want $70,000? -- but it's especially important because larger amounts serve to humiliate Ravenstahl even more.

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  2. Richmond,

    The monetary payment should also serve as a reminder to future politicians to NEVER punish someone for whistleblowing ever again.

    It's the real world version of hanging Morden's head on a pike to remind future generations that some favors come at just too high a price.

    Maybe if I'd sued for damages, McNeilly wouldn't have had to. My bad.

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