Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kempen Speaks with Projo


Projo's Meaghan Wims is reporting a short interview with Gerry Kempen regarding his Council letter to make public his separation agreement from Middletown's Town Admin. position.

I would be willing to say it all publicly, or in private,” Kempen said yesterday. “It’s all going to be up to the council. I will speak freely as long as they request it.
Ah, but there's the rub. Will they request it? Legally Kempen could be ruled in violation of the agreement if he spoke on it & sued. However, would the Council do this? The Council prez, Rodrigues, refused to comment until hearing from the town solicitor. Hmm, methinks this is the old get rid of the hot potato game. The pressure is on.

A reponse from Councilor Sylvia:

It’s fantastic. I applaud the man for doing it. I was shocked, pleasantly shocked. At least this guy is standing up and being honorable… I don’t care how you look at it, we were part of a cover-up. Whether we chose to or not, a majority voted on” the separation deal [all but Sylvia & Silveira].

I want the public to come and listen. It doesn’t have to be an interrogation of Gerry Kempen. Let him sit down and voice the reasons why he initiated this.For the citizens of our town and for government awareness and perception, we need this. We’re looked at terribly. The whole council’s been tainted by this. However you look at this, it was wrong.”

What does he mean by a cover-up? It means that basically the Council paid the former Town Administrator big bucks (speculation is over 6 mos. of his salary) to keep his mouth shut over why he felt that he was being pressured to exit- stage right. Do I blame Kempen? If your job & future were on the line what would you do? If he had complained sooner what would have happened? Probably much the same, but he would have exited with fewer $. The fate of whistleblowers isn't usually that pleasant.
“I think it’s the opportunity to clear the air and remove any speculation or doubts about what details are in the agreement,” Councilman Louis P. DiPalma said."
It is pointed out that DiPalma originally voted for this agreement as did Barrows who recently voted to make it public. Too bad the this realization didn't come a lot sooner or all this would already be history- the lipsticked pig still stunk.

“The community only stands to benefit from knowing the facts and understanding the total compensation to pay Gerry off,” [Councilman Ed] Silveira said. The council must be accountable for its deal with Kempen, and preventing the airing of those details is unacceptable.

“We are all accountable to the taxpayers and any and all inappropriate behavior [by council members] should be disclosed,” he said. “This open invitation should be acted upon immediately and proper measurements should be taken to insure the protection of both parties. Let the taxpayers of the community, who footed the bill for alleged bad behavior, be the judge.”

Strong words. Will we ever know what Mr. Kempen meant when his lawyer wrote regarding charges that “certain” officials had worked to “undermine his status and job effectiveness?” If this could be proven, the Charter could be invoked & the consequences could be serious.

We'll see if it shows up on the next Council agenda or not. If it gets buried through legalities or procedure, or even a councilor being absent-and I'm betting that it does, Kempen may well decide to speak up irregardless. He's not a happy man & as election time rolls around, he may regale us with his song. Which just goes to prove, money doesn't heal all wounds.

Wouldn't it be interesting if ex-Town Admin. Mike Embry also decided to sing? Perhaps they could find a few others & form a quartet.


Post a Comment