Just when you thought it couldn't get any more silly, Mayor Bob Bratina managed to issue yet another meta-apology for his statement last Tuesday indicating that Human Resources had issued the $30,000 pay raise to Peggy Chapman, the mayor's chief of staff.
In an email sent this morning to Council and senior staff, including HR director Helen Hale Tomasik, Bratina wrote, "my comments were not well-worded and taken to mean unintentionally that the H.R. department initiated or directed the higher salary. For this, I take full responsibility."
He concluded: "I also apologize for any misunderstanding or discomfort caused by my words to the Human Resources staff, members of Council and the community."
Bratina had originally stated, "HR reviewed Peggy's employment status and found that she was vastly undercompensated based on job description and history. I didn't give a raise, she didn't ask for a raise."
Council met in camera on Thursday to consider whether the matter warranted a formal censure against the mayor for violating the Council Code of Conduct. They deferrred a decision until today, when they would have a chance to question Bratina directly.
On Friday, Bratina issued a statement in which he expressed "regret" for "any negative inference that my comments may have created" and called the incident an "unfortunate distraction".
So will today's statement satisfy Council's desire for the mayor to apologize? On Saturday, Councillor Terry Whitehead told the Spectator:
At the end of the day, the mayor used staff as a smokescreen for his own decision. That's not only not leadership, but that is, in fact, not taking responsibility for your own actions. I don't think anyone on this council believes that those comments - misleading the general public and the media - were unintentional.
Yet today's statement maintains that his original words were "unintentional". He apologized, but his apology was for using words that others might misunderstand.
Here is today's full statement:
I met personally with Helen Hale Tomasik yesterday, and this morning over the phone to personally and directly apologize to her. I also read to her the following statement which I am now forwarding to you, members of City Council.
"I recently answered a reporter's question about a pay increase to my chief of staff. The statement I made was very brief, with the intention of protecting the privacy of my employee as required by employment law.
Unfortunately my comments were not well-worded and taken to mean unintentionally that the H.R. department initiated or directed the higher salary. For this I take full responsibility.
This is not the practice of the department, and it was not the intent of my brief response to the reporter to suggest this. However since my statement caused discomfort I asked to meet with the director of Human Resources, and expressed to her my regret and made a personal apology.
I also apologize for any misunderstanding or discomfort caused by my words to the Human Resources staff, members of Council and the community."
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