Thursday, December 14, 2006

The “White Sergeant” Stands Firm

Editor’s Note: The writer, a Sergeant in the Westchester County Department of Corrections, has previously
responded to recent articles regarding problems at the Westchester County Jail. He now offers a detailed accounting which would seem to confirm many of the grievances which 250 fellow Correction officers protested at the County Office Building several weeks ago. The Westchester Guardian, in the interest of fairness, welcomes any reasonable contradictory or supportive responses.

“After the Klan meeting in September with the three Sergeants, I notified numerous Sergeants, Captains
and Wardens about what happened. To my knowledge no paperwork was generated at the time. In November me and an officer had a verbal disagreement. Sgt. Bizzarro heard about it and coerced the officer into filing an EEO complaint against me for sexual harassment. Because of this complaint I was suspended from the Emergency Services Unit and labeled a homosexual.

“There was no investigation from EEO. About two weeks later I was informed by a Warden that I dodged a bullet and that the EEO complaint had been withdrawn by the officer. In February I was ordered into the Captain’s office where I was ordered to leave Sgt. Bizzarro alone. According to Sgt. Bizzarro every
time I saw him I would call him a punk.

“In April, one day at approximately 2:45pm, I was paged in the jail to call the Captain’s office. The Captain that answered the phone said he was glad that I was still in the building. He went on to explain that Warden Gibson, who was Sgt. Bizzarro’s ex-fiance, claimed “you left at 2:15 and wants you written up and charged.”

“All this harassment and retaliation was because I did my job and duty as an employee of Westchester
County and a supervisor with the Department of Correction. I have been to numerous training days where EEO staff from White Plains has informed Dept. of Correction employees of their strict zerotolerance policies.

“I believed that because of the training I received from EEO that I was obligated to act on the racial slurs and Klan recruiting that took place in my presence. Because of my actions I have been labeled a nigger-loving whistle-blower by the Executive Staff of the Department of Correction.

“These three Sergeants have relentlessly pursued any supervisor that would listen to them and told them lies about me to discredit me. After the April incident with Warden Gibson I went to a Warden and explained to him what was being done to me in retaliation for my whistle-blowing. He told me to put everything in writing to protect myself because they are coming after you.

“I then wrote a two-page complaint about a hostile workplace to Warden Amicucci dated April 9, 2006. A short time later Warden Amicucci asked me if I had a problem with a Captain conducting the investigation
into my complaint, I told him no, and he ordered me to write that in a special report. As of the date of this letter
I have not received a response from the Department of Correction concerning my complaint.

“I contacted the EEO office in White Plains and they told me that when I wrote the special report allowing
the Department of Correction to conduct the investigation, I could not file a report with their of-fice. If the investigation into my complaint turned out to be unfounded I’m sure the Department of Correction would have notified me immediately. What are they hiding? THE TRUTH!!!!

“The real problem started after Joe Spano was promoted from Correction Officer to Deputy Commissioner.
My enemies saw an opportunity to manipulate and convince someone who is unqualified, uneducated and inexperienced as an administrator. They have told him lies about what a troublemaker and threat I am to the Department of Correction.

“In June 2006 I had a verbal altercation with an of-ficer who refused to obey my orders. Captain Battista
was present and filed a report on the incident. The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) conducted an investigation
into Captain Battista’s report. A few weeks later I was ordered to SIU by Captain Diaz who escorted me
to Westchester County Police where I was placed under arrest for harassment of the officer. Due to my arrest my firearm privileges were suspended and once again I was suspended from the Emergency Services Unit.

“The above officer told another Sergeant that Captain Diaz forced him to make statements against his will about me to substantiate Captain Battista’s report. On October 3, 2006 I went to court in Mount Pleasant, where the officer told the Judge that I never did anything to him and that he and I have never had a problem with each other. The Judge dismissed all charges against me.

“On August 31, 2006 I formally counseled an of- ficer for an incident that happened the previous day. The officer then tried to circumvent my counseling by filing false reports on the incident. A Captain then formally counseled the officer for numerous infractions pertaining to the false reports. On September 8, 2006 the officer wrote a letter to Warden Amicucci and SIU making false allegations against me in retaliation for his counseling from myself and the Captain. SIU then conducted a department-wide investigation into his letter, to try and find something that be used against me.

“On September 20, 2006 I was suspended by the Department of Correction with pay pending disciplinary
charges. My shield and identification card were confiscated by SIU. I had no proof to show that I was a
Sergeant with the Department of Correction. In all reality they made me a civilian. I asked the Union President
of SOA Robert Buckley the reason I was suspended. He told me as long as I was getting paid the Department of Correction doesn’t have to give me a reason.

“For the past 60 days I have been under house arrest by the Department of Correction during the hours of 9-5, Mon-Fri without any explanation as to why. During this time I made numerous inquiries to Robert Buckley and other Union officials as to the status of my suspension. Again the response was as long as they pay you they don’t have to give you a reason. Obviously SOA is controlled by the NINTH FLOOR of White Plains and has no intention of representing all of its members.

“On November 20, 2006, 60 days after I was suspended with pay, I was served with over 30 charges from the County Attorney’s Office. They range from a bounced check I wrote to using profanity inside the jail. It took the Department of Correction and White Plains 60 days to conjure up over 30 bogus charges that they have no documentation to support.

“I am now suspended for thirty days without pay. The County is asking for termination because I did my job. They waited until the holidays to suspend me without pay. I have four children that I have to support and explain to why I’ve been home since September 20, 2006. After thirty days off the payroll mine and my family’s benefits stop. Robert Buckley has not made any attempt to contact me. It’s me against the world.

“I have never been counseled in my 16 years with the Department of Correction. In my letter dated
April 9, 2006 I informed the Department of Correction that the ultimate goal of the individuals mentioned
is to slander, suspend and terminate me. “My hearing date is December 12, 2006 In the County Attorney’s Office. I hope all that read this will realize the racism, discrimination, corruption and hostile work environment within the Department of Correction. All allegations in this letter can be substantiated by dated and signed documentation. May God have mercy on my enemies. I will not!”

The White Sergeant

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