Vail Daily letter: Neighborhood bully
Vail, CO, Colorado
School districts across the country have struggled with issues related bullying among their students. Even for these closely guarded environments many districts are at a loss as to how to deal with bullies.
What do you do if residents of a town are at risk of being threatened by a bully who is an employee of the town in which you live? Such is the question I pose to the town of Eagle, its mayor and town manager.
Two incidents occurred in Eagle last July and October. Complaints to the mayor and the town manager seemingly went unanswered for months despite promises of a meeting with the complaining residents that never took place.
Both incidents involved a town employee accosting residents, shouting at them, threatening them and then when the residents submitted the above referenced complaints for this unacceptable behavior, the employee sent a cadre of police charging into the neighborhood in four vehicles led by the chief of police. The tirade by this town bully was precipitated by some non-specific concern for his perception of an open space violation. I happened to witness this employee’s outrageous behavior toward other residents.
When the convoy of police vehicles came speeding into the residential area in Eagle Ranch, mothers were concerned. Is there a rapist in the area? Are we safe? Are our children safe? Is there a criminal on the loose?
The response to the complaints to town officials was baffling. None from the town manager. The mayor seemed perturbed at the audacity of town residents to complain about this town employee’s unacceptable behavior.
One of the incidents was further exacerbated by this employee showing up in a private vehicle, trespassing on private property and then refusing to identify himself. The police were called, but the officer answering the phone laughed and said, “I know who it is and I can’t get involved.”
Months went by with no indication from the mayor or town manager as to when the promised meeting to resolve the matter would be convened. When contacted recently, the mayor indicated he thought the matter was no longer an issue. He added in an e-mail that the employee had been reprimanded for not using a town of Eagle vehicle or wearing a town shirt. What do residents do when town officials minimize and marginalize complaints from residents regarding egregious and inappropriate behavior by town employees?
Robert F. Hickey