New Albany's Mayor responded to the Courier-Journal editorial with this letter, titled "New Albany's Mayor offended."
I take great offense to your Sept. 16 editorial "Garner's spiteful act." Your newspaper does not give you or anyone in your organization the right to be disrespectful. Your poor choice of comment and opinion in the editorial was rude, unmannerly and disrespectful. I do not use the phrase "shut up" in my family or outside my family. It shows total disrespect for the intended person. I would hope that this phrase is not common for you or your family. Not only adults read your newspaper, children also read, and they need to see your newspaper as a pillar in this community, not as a disrespectful tabloid.
My father taught me to respect all people. Respect is something that can easily be afforded to all people, even when they disagree. I am not asking you to agree with me, but you should show respect to me and everyone else you might choose to berate in your paper. I will not, and the citizens of New Albany will not, stand for this lack of common decency.
Statements in your editorial are not correct. First of all, I did not demote Steve Broadus; he is still an inspector for the City of New Albany, and his hours were reduced to part time.
Second, it was not budgetary sense; it was fiscal sense due to the lack of work. It is true that New Albany had three full-time inspectors in early 2004. However, with a change in management, sometimes efficiencies can be found. New Albany does not have the volume of inspections to keep three full-time inspectors. We are in the process of reorganizing the Building Commissions Office and creating new ordinances in the city to increase our inspection of properties. I have said that if the work increases for Broadus' area of expertise, he will be offered the right to return to full-time employment.
Third, you did not seem to want the other side of the story. If you had, you might have contacted me for more information.
Any time an employer has to terminate, demote or reduce an employee's hours, it is a tough decision. However, these tough decisions are made every day by managers in our metropolitan area. The chief executive of a government entity is not the same as in private business, but you do not write editorials about private businesses when they reduce an individual to part-time status, and you should not for the government sector either.
I request that you give me a personal apology and a public apology for your rude and disrespectful comments. Your organization should be a friend to the community and not burn bridges with government officials with your personal comments.
JAMES E. GARNER