To the Editor:
The recent “Toolgate” episode is almost one for the ages in our city. As reported by the Beacon and the Journal, Mr. Naylor acknowledges that he had borrowed city-owned property in the past after securing permission, but in this specific instance he did not ask for permission. In the simplest of terms, this is theft.
Mr. Picozzi acknowledges that there has been a practice of allowing employees to borrow city-owned property after securing permission, though no one over the years ever thought to put such a policy in writing. I wonder why; could it be because the very idea of such a policy was just plain dumb?
As the Acting Director of Public Works and a longtime city employee, I’m sure he doesn’t need to be reminded that the property in question is taxpayer-owned property. The fact that, over the years, people in the administration saw no problem with this practice is staggering. And the fact that Mr. Naylor’s union chose not to grieve this is irrelevant, especially since Mr. Naylor told police that he was going to use the city-owned equipment to complete the cleaning of his and his neighbor’s yard by calling in sick the next day.
So if I understand this correctly, on Wednesday Mr. Naylor would “borrow” the taxpayer-owned equipment. On Thursday, he’d call in sick (though he really wouldn’t be sick) and complete his and his neighbor’s yard cleanup and still have his weekend free? Nice work, if you can get it.
The termination of Mr. Naylor was the right thing to do, but this episode illustrates on so many levels what is wrong with the operation of municipal government and all of the criticism that the mayor and his administration receive because of it is well earned. Our system of government will only be as good as those who serve in it.