Opinion

Editorial | Motives for mailings

What are the motives behind the mailings sent to Islanders regarding the firing of former city official Londi Lindell and allegations of secrecy and deception at City Hall?

In a letter sent to thousands of Island households, Islander Ira Appelman, with the assistance of documents and likely the urging of Ms. Lindell, warns citizens of mismanagement and secrecy at City Hall. Ms. Lindell has filed in federal court asking for monetary damages alleging, among other things, sexual harassment, lack of due process and retaliation by city leaders who fired her last year.

Our story on page 1 attempts to describe the events that led to the firing of Ms. Lindell. Yet facts are not always helpful when trying to describe the complex interactions of human beings in the workplace.

After talking to many, reading hundreds of pages of e-mails, memos and other documents, it is clear that no one is completely without some blame here. But is the fuss about bad behavior, some poor judgment or criminal intent?

What is troubling is the way that Ms. Lindell may be using her access to what would ordinarily be privileged and protected communications to build her case — at least in the public’s eye. But the letter goes beyond the particulars of Lindell’s dismissal to address a much broader range of alleged abuses by the city. It appears that the real mission is to sow mistrust and animosity toward City Manager Rich Conrad, the City Council and City Hall itself.

Mr. Appelman has been long associated with campaigns of this type. Mr. Appelman, who has attended all but a handful of City Council meetings over the past decade, is more than eager, it appears, to find any way he can to discredit the city.

And what of the City Council’s role in all of this? Elected by us, it is ultimately their charge to determine how City Hall is run and to make changes when they feel it is necessary. City Councilmembers did so in late December of 2007 when they decided to support Mr. Conrad and remove Ms. Lindell.

As citizens, we cannot and will not tolerate sexual harassment or secrecy within our city government. We welcome the efforts of individuals who ask hard questions and probe a bit further to find out the truth. But in this instance, we are not sure whether the motivation behind these actions is for better government, a more personal agenda or simply revenge.

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