(WARNING TO CITY EMPLOYEES - READING THE
TOM BUTT E-FORUM MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH AND JOB)
In an unbelievable Richmondesque twilight zone turn of events, a letter
dated November 13, 2001, Dan Colvig, Business Agent for Richmond
Firefighters Local 188, requested that City Attorney Malcolm Hunter
investigate Tom Butt for:
- Distributing via email quotes from a
memo from City Manager Isiah Turner and Fire Chief Joe Robinson to
Local 188 President Jim Russey reminding him that he had broken the
law by appearing on a campaign mailer in uniform (See TOM BUTT E-FORUM
October 27, 2001, "CITY MANAGER BURNS FIRE CAPTAIN FOR CAMPAIGN
VIOLATION," and October 29, 2001, "STRIKE THREE FOR FIRE CAPTAIN IN
CAMPAIGN UNIFORM VIOLATION"). Colvig maintains that the memo was a
confidential personnel matter and that Russey's right to privacy was
- Using the city's email system to
solicit City of Richmond employees for campaign assistance. Colvig
claims that, by addressing emails to city employees using their
workplace email addresses, Butt violated the law.
letter from Colvig is attached
as a PDF file.
Let's look at the facts:
- The memo from City Manager Isiah
Turner and Fire Chief Joe Robinson to Local 188 President Jim Russey
was sent to me in my City Council packet along with agendas, staff
reports, newspapers and magazines. It was not marked "confidential,"
nor was there any other indication on it that is was restricted or
privileged. Colvig is dead wrong in maintaining that the memo was
marked "personal and confidential."
- The TOM BUTT E-FORUM is by
subscription only. It is only sent to those who request it or by those
who request it be sent to other specific individuals. If someone wants
to be taken off the list, all they have to do is reply "unsubscribe,"
I don't even enter the addresses; they are placed on the distribution
list by a third party. I believe that many City employees have
requested to have it sent to them, including the city manager. If City
employees shouldn't be reading the E-FORUM, perhaps it should be
censored by City Hall.
The Firefighters, being what they are,
apparently understand the concept of fighting fire with fire and have
used these specious claims to effectively intimidate the City's top
management, who have subsequently declined to pursue any disciplinary
action against Russey for his many appearances in uniform on various
campaign mailers and posters. What they recommend is yet another
warning. Local 188 now says that it is considering a lawsuit against the
City of Richmond and me.
Only in Richmond could a chronic violator of campaign-related laws
(Local 188) find a way to not only skate on its latest violation but at
the same time turn it into an investigation of the victim. Discretion
bars me from committing to writing my true feelings about this pitiful