SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – August 13, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Jackie Biskupski is speaking out on the demotion of Mayor Ralph Becker’s spokesman Art Raymond.
Salt Lake Tribune identified Raymond last month after he posted comments on Tribune stories criticizing Becker’s campaign rivals under the pseudonym WhiskeyPete.
City officials investigated the comments he posted, which were sent from his city office on the desktop computer assigned to him.
According to Becker’s chief of staff, David Everitt, Raymond’s pay will be cut by $3,000 — reducing his yearly salary to $81,843 — and he will no longer speak on Becker’s behalf. He will also be placed on probation for six months.
Everitt said the comments entered a “gray area” that prohibits city employees from engaging in political campaigns. Everitt said there is no concrete definition of political campaigns.
“You don’t even wan’t to be in the [gray] area, let alone approaching or crossing the line,” Everitt said.
Biskupski said in her statement she is concerned about the message being sent that such behavior results in city employees in only a slap on the wrist.
“I am concerned about the consistent message sent by Mayor Becker to our hard working city employees, that unethical behavior results in a slap on the wrist,” she said.
“For the Becker administration to see no serious wrongdoing in the actions of Mr. Raymond is another example of a lack of accountability and leadership by the Mayor.
“Mr. Raymond is a high-ranking member of Mayor Becker’s administrative team. This ‘demotion’ is a minor reduction in pay yet he retains the majority of his duties to provide communications for the administration.
“This action by the Mayor mirrors the recommendation to demote a high-ranking police officer who had been sexually harassing three female officers over several years.
“This isn’t about Mr. Raymond, but the Mayor’s inability to recognize the seriousness of unethical behavior, and not setting a better example for those who work for him. As mayor, I will lead by example and hold my staff accountable to the highest ethical standards.”
Nichol Bourdeaux, deputy chief of staff, will be stepping in as the city’s interim public information officer for the next few months, Everitt said.