Skip to main content

Gee, why would ANYONE be offended by THAT?


Originally posted at Eclectablog.

After several years of rampant vandalism and arson on Devil's Night (the night before Halloween) in Detroit, Mayor Dennis Archer created "Angels' Night" in 1995 which enlisted the help of Detroit citizens in the evenings around Halloween to help law enforcement stem the tide. As part of Angels' Night, city officials have traditionally participated by riding around the city as part of the neighborhood patrols to help keep the peace.

When recently-appointed Detroit Chief Financial Officer Jim Bonsall learned of this and learned of his expected role, he had no interest. He asked his staff if he couldn't get a police escort, could he "shoot someone in a hoodie?"

Here's how it went down, as described in a letter of complaint (pdf) penned by Cheryl Johnson, an African American woman who was demoted from finance director to city treasurer by Bonsall who is white:

On September 18, in a meeting atttended by Jim Bonsall, Chief Compliance Officer Gary Brown, Deputy Finance Director Michael Jamison and myself, a discussion ensued about Angels' Night. I informed Jim, my immediate supervisor, of the fact that appointees patrol the three nights to help protect the City. He appeared smug as he made the comment that he shouldn't have to participate since he was an appointer and not an appointee. He then asked if could have three police officers ride with him if he had to patrol. I informed him that we ride with either a colleague, a family member or a friend. Jim stated that he wouldn't subject his family to that and then said, "can I shoot someone in a hoodie?"
This incident is just one of many described by Johnson her letter which is a riveting read. Bonsall has obviously assumed his position with a gigantic chip on his shoulder and an assumption that everyone in the Detroit city government is incompetent and deserving of his derision. He has, according to Johnson, exhibited a pattern of disrespectful behavior that she says amounts to harassment.

It's clear that Bonsall, who is the Chief Financial Officer for the largest city ever to go through a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, does not view City workers as people who should be treated with dignity and respect. He has come in from the outside and, in classic Snyder administration style, acted in a way that is not only counter to forming a true partnership, but actually creates an antagonistic relationship between City workers and the outsiders sent in to "fix things" for them.

Bonsall has now been suspended with pay by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr who appointed him to the position in July.

Bonsall released this statement:

I apologize and am sorry for having offended coworkers over comments I made during a recent meeting. Regardless of the outcome of the internal investigation or whether I keep my job as a result of it, it was never my intention to offend anyone.
If it wasn't his intention to offend anyone, then he is simply too insensitive to be in the position of power he's in as the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan try to work together to move forward resolving the city's financial crisis. The last thing they need is someone with this attitude and this profound lack of understanding about working together.

Jim Bonsall should be fired.

[Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 07:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks, Your Government at Work, State & Local ACTION Group, Michigan, My Michigan, and Barriers and Bridges.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Pat K California, Thumb, Sylv, filkertom, murphy, Gooserock, Shockwave, Troutfishing, Mlle L, 88kathy, undercovercalico, ask, mrblifil, jalbert, Bill Roberts, Cedwyn, fluffy, Damnit Janet, Catte Nappe, riverlover, zerelda, NapaJulie, jcrit, sawgrass727, historys mysteries, ichibon, LakeSuperior, schumann, dewtx, ChemBob, viral, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, cris0000, ladybug53, Sandino, sodalis, kerplunk, begone, myboo, profundo, ruleoflaw, aloevera, happy camper, ER Doc, Turbonerd, kurt, Johnathan Ivan, Aaa T Tudeattack, Thinking Fella, FlamingoGrrl, pgm 01, tgypsy, camlbacker, Mary Mike, leonard145b, madgranny, Empower Ink, mconvente, TX Freethinker, Sixty Something, Youffraita, dadadata, Its any one guess, moose67, Lujane, tofumagoo, catly, codairem, GrannyOPhilly, maggiejean, Throw The Bums Out, Norm in Chicago, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, earicicle, glitterlust, Denise Oliver Velez, sfarkash, Larsstephens, Amber6541, Just Bob, awcomeon, serendipityisabitch, gramofsam1, Crabby Abbey, alguien, dagnome, dlemex, DiegoUK, Yasuragi, rja, Betty Pinson, ericlewis0, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, kerflooey, BlueJessamine, mrsgoo, blw, peregrine kate, VTCC73, Vatexia, Hayate Yagami, Mentatmark, Davui, anodnhajo, sow hat, IndieGuy, Trevin, rustypatina, surelyujest, a2nite, 2thanks, FloridaSNMOM, Horace Boothroyd III, joeschmeaux, belinda ridgewood, BusyinCA, MartyM, doroma, tytalus, avsp, George3, wasatch, Chaddiwicker, GwenM, howabout, bob152, Smoh, Jim Domenico, oslyn7, TheDuckManCometh, Bartskid1, Darwinian Detritus, Here since 02

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site