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Kosiur warned after workplace violence incident

Kosiur warned after workplace violence incident

He has since apologized for the incident
Kosiur warned after workplace violence incident
Schenectady council President Ed Koisur is seated second from left.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SCHENECTADY -- City Council President Ed Kosiur has been given a verbal warning for violating the city’s workplace violence policy, according to records obtained by The Daily Gazette.

Kosiur previously said he was not disciplined over the incident and never saw a copy of the original complaint filed against him by a female city employee.

According to the complaint, Kosiur became upset with the female employee over cuts to the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Kosiur previously said he went to the city’s Development Office, where he was “six to eight feet away” from two city employees. He did not name who the employees were.

The identity of the employee in question has not been publicly disclosed.

In explaining his version of the incident, Kosiur said his “speaking voice may be louder than that of many other people,” and that he apologized twice to the employees for “raising his voice."

The incident occurred just a week after Judy Versocki, president of the Civil Service Employees Association Local 886, and Adam Armour, president of AFSCME Local 1037, spoke during a March 12 City Council meeting, telling council members a culture of bullying by department supervisors exists and asking city officials to take action. 

According to a document obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request, Kosiur was found to have violated the city’s workplace violence policy when he berated the city employee.

The employee who filed the complaint has since left her job with the city.

A document -- provided by the city in response to a request for any documents related to actions taken against Kosiur in the wake of the city employee's complaint -- appears to have six pages of redacted copy, except for a single sentence. The header on the document indicates it was written by Scott Quesnel of the Albany-based law firm Girvin & Ferlazzo, the outside attorney that investigated the complaint. 

 

The sentence that was not redacted: “I recommend that the city advise Mr. Kosiur that workplace violence, as defined by the policy statement and policy, is strictly prohibited, and that his behavior during the event at issue violated the city’s policy statement and policy,” Quesnel wrote.

In an email exchange between Schenectady City Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico and Mayor Gary McCarthy -- also provided in response to the FOIL request -- Falotico gave his advice on how to handle Quesnel’s findings.

“I recommend we accept the conclusions and proceed as outlined in the report,” Falotico wrote. “Please let me know if you disagree.”

McCarthy's response: "Ok."

In an interview with The Daily Gazette on Tuesday, Falotico refused to comment on any actions taken against Kosiur.

“Our policy requires confidentiality,” he said. “There are no comments coming about this or any specifics of it.”

McCarthy did not return a call seeking comment.

Any records of discipline taken against a city employee must be made public, according to Bob Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government.

Falotico said the city provided all such documents.

Kosiur, through a cellphone text, refused to comment, saying only that he considered the matter “closed.”

Versocki said since Kosiur is an elected official, she understands he can’t really be punished.

“We have to respect what was done,” she said. “I just want to move onto the next thing and fight the next battle.”

City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo, who has previously requested anti-bullying provisions be included in the city’s workplace violence policy, said she was happy the city had an outside attorney look into the incident. But she said elected officials need to carry themselves with integrity.

“We have all the more responsibility to make sure we are treating people with respect and fairness,” Perazzo said. “Because the only person we really answer to is the voter and that only happens every four years.”

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