This one is interesting I know, but they are all three of the same situation…if it really is three. Let me explain. Last week, Hillsborough, FL, County Commissioner and conservative firebrand, Stacy White (who I will note claims to be a Methodist), supposedly got a report of an anonymous employee who found flying the Rainbow Flag in memory and honor of the victims in Orlando created a hostile work environment for her. White was quick to call the flag a, “divisive, politically-charged symbol.”
White didn’t attend the last meeting of the Commission where the display was voted on, so I guess his particular brand of Christianity was left out of the discussion, and he was feeling all butt-hurt. I’ll prove that with the internal memo he sent around about the issue. So, we have a three-way tie on this one. Commissioner Stacy White, his condescending and dishonest legislative assistant, David Garcia, and the supposedly anonymous Hillsborough County Employee.
And just to set the stage, Ybor City Stogie describes Stacy White this way:
“He is a strong supporter of local bigots Terry Kemple, David Caton and former Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms. He spoke at the 9/11 anniversary protest in downtown Tampa which also included Terry Kemple, He has also said he would have voted against a domestic partner registry to give unmarried couples, gay or straight, certain rights when it comes to their partners. Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times has called him ‘A dimpled David Caton, he of the extreme causes, a less stormy Ronda Storms.'”
So let’s lay out the timeline of events here, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, and based on my conversations with Garcia this morning.
Thursday morning, Legislative Aide Garcia comes in to find this voicemail on the office phone, where some mysterious and anonymous person claims to be a County Employee. This person, according to an email from White to “Peggy,” the Human Resources Director, stated the following: “because of her strong Christian beliefs, it will be nearly unbearable for her pass the “pride” flag each morning as she enters the workplace. She clearly indicated that the display of that flag, for her, has created a hostile work environment.”
Oh, this sounds serious…I mean she claims it is unbearable for her to even walk past a sign of satan like the pride flag…”hostile work environment,” and all that. Of course, LGBT people have never faced that working for Hillsborough County. But despite the horror being experienced by this woman, it’s not until late Thursday afternoon that White gets around to writing the HR Director.
But here’s what qualifies Commissioner White for Douche-bag status, he uses the opportunity to take out his butt-hurt and not getting to rant and rave at the Commission meeting, by flinging all sorts of hateful bullshit at the County Administrator. Never mind, the other County Commissioners voted to display the flag, not the Administrator…but according to White, the Administrator should have warned the Commissioners that many employees would be offended at this show of respect and empathy for the folks in Orlando.
“If the display of this flag exposes the county any liability whatsoever, I request that it be taken down on the basis that the board’s action has violated the workplace rights of some of our employees.”
Because of course, “Christian hate” outranks basic human respect and empathy, in all cases. And he goes on:
“I would like to request a special called meeting of the county commission in order to discuss the unforeseen consequences of this display and allow for the board to take another vote on the display given the information now at its disposal.”
“I wish to state for the record that, even if there is deemed to be zero liability from an HR perspective, it is still – in my view – unconscionable that the county administrator didn’t express to the board that this divisive symbol might create an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees.”
So, now, suddenly, just because he wasn’t there to vote against this, he wants a do-over. But the real tell about what a lying sack of shit this guy is, is the last line there. Somehow, he went from supposedly a single person too cowardly to show their face in HR, despite how absolutely awful the situation is, to “an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees.” From one to many…just like that.
His aide, Garcia, makes the cut because he’s not telling the truth. His first comment to me was that the he listened to the voicemail. No one reported the complaint came in via voicemail, so I assumed someone approached the Commissioner (or he made it up whole cloth). So I noted, “Did you consider the possibility that someone, not an employee, called your office number and left the message?” His first response was, “No, because I couldn’t imagine why someone would do that.”
My response to that was, “Well you’re obviously not very familiar with the treatment of the LGBT community here in Florida, and Hillsborough County, particularly by the Commission.” I know you’ll be glad to know, as is so often the case with the bigots, he has a gay uncle who he loves very much, and so he knows exactly how we’re treated.
Of course, later in conversation he reveals that he verified it was an employee. You know, he had to do that even though he couldn’t imagine any reason the person on the voicemail wasn’t an employee. I can’t for the life of me figure how you square that circle. He didn’t need to verify it because no one would do such a thing, but he did verify it. Oh, and how he verified it is apparently a state secret….national security. He refused to disclose that. So Garcia wins for being a condescending asshole who is clearly lying and covering something up.
Then, if she even actually exists, there is this county employee. A person whose Christ-inspired hatred for the LGBT community won’t even let the rest of Hillsborough County acknowledge the horrible event happened in Orlando, and respect those killed and injured. Also, for being too cowardly to own her own bigotry, and sneaking around to complain. My belief is this, the lady no longer enjoys any confidentially protection that would be afforded a “personnel matter.” By not going to the HR department, and following the standard complaint procedures, this hateful little shit made this a political matter. Even Mr. Garcia acknowledged that Commissioners are elected political officials, and not County Employees. So, I think a public records request should result in the handing over of the identity of the employee…she made it a public matter by making it a political matter.
On a side note, as you might have gathered, I question whether or not the complaint was made by an employee. As noted by Ybor City Stogie, White and David Caton, a local anti-gay activist and professional Christianist, had used public comment at the meeting where the Flag Issue was voted on, to make almost exactly these comments about “a hostile work environment, ” and tried to compare it to the Commission removing a plaque at the County Center which honored the Confederate Flag (because of course, the flag representing a group of traitors who left the union is comparable to a flag which symbolized equality). So, my suspicion is that Caton and White conspired to have someone like Caton’s wife leave the voice mail. The language just seemed a little too inflammatory to be the kind of things an employee might say, even if they felt that way.
So, because Stacy White is a conservative anti-gay bigot of the worst sort, capitalizing on a massive hate crime; because his legislative aide is a condescending lying twit covering up something; and because the supposed employee is a cowardly bigot (or the person who conspired with White to leave the message), we’re going to award all three our Douche-Bag of The Day award.