'Enough is enough'
City clerical workers unhappy with Walsh’s severance package
By André Coleman 05/28/2014
Disgruntled employees at Pasadena City Hall told the Pasadena Weekly they plan to take their complaints before the City Council.
The workers — members of Laborers International Union of North America 777 — were shocked to hear that former Public Health Director Eric Walsh received a separation agreement from the city worth $115,480 after resigning last week. Walsh quit after negative comments he made about Muslims, Catholics and homosexuals touched off a firestorm of controversy that spread across the country.
The employees, who have not received a raise since 2008, are unhappy that Walsh received the money despite the negative attention he brought on the city.
“We are the backbone of the city,” said one employee who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal. “We are clerical, we make sure people get paid on time ... we do all of the administrative reports. We make sure the city keeps running. We are the workers behind the scenes. To be treated as second-class citizens is insulting. We are predominately women and minorities. In many cases we are the primary breadwinners for our families, yet we continue to show up day after day and in essence are told that the city is doing us a favor by keeping us employed. Enough is enough.”
Union officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
In the sermons posted on YouTube and other social media sites, Walsh called homosexuality sinful, evolution a satanic belief and the prophet Mohammad a Satanist. He also said condoms helped spread AIDS and attacked several celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé and Jay-Z and television shows depicting homosexuality in a positive way.
The comments shocked city officials due to Walsh’s outstanding record in Pasadena. Walsh helped start the city’s HIV/AIDS dental clinic and improved services provided by the AIDS Service Center.
Walsh was paid a yearly base salary of $186,688. An entry level staff assistant makes $31,200.
“Believe it or not, we do have staff assistants feeding families on that salary,” the employee said.