School Committee at large candidate David Linsey’s mistreatment by city officials who botched the electoral process wreaks of a flagrant civil rights violation.
Linsey says he is going to sue the city claiming his civil rights were violated if he does not receive an apology.
Linsey, who is African American, a descendant from ancestors who were slaves in Mississippi, claims he was humiliated by election officials when he arrived at city hall to challenge School Commiteeman Bernie D’Onofrio’s signatures and was rebuffed by officials who said he had it wrong.
But Linsey didn’t have it wrong.
City officials had it wrong in one of the more discouraging incidents to occur at city hall since accusations of alleged sexual harassment were made against the mayor by a city employee some years back.
The Election Department had the wrong date for signatures to be challenged.
The Election Commission told Linsey, and the Leader Herald that the last possible moment to challenge signatures was July 23 at 5:00p.m.
Upon review, the City Charter deadline of August 6 is ironclad. August 6 was the final date for a challenge.
City hall officials basically told Linsey to take a hike in no uncertain terms. Officials said he was too late to file a challenge on July 23, when in fact, he was well within the City Charter’s August 6 deadline. What ensued is an obscenity for the DeMaria Administration and a black mark against the city.
On August 1, Linsey was told in no uncertain terms that three outside opinions by experts proved Linsey was wrong and the city was right.
This is typical of the DeMaria Administration to line up experts and city officials to humiliate those challenging the city.
The only problem in this instance – the city was dead wrong.
Linsey said he was insulted, belittled, harangued and made to feel extremely uncomfortable by the Assistant City Clerks Lattanzi and Keith Slattery. City Clerk Sergio Cornelio he said was made to look foolish by siding with Lattanzi and Slattery.
He claims, and rightly so, that the city was not fair or objective and that if he didn’t know better, he was being treated poorly because of the color of his skin.
He says he is prepared to sue the city.
He said he will be filing separate complaints with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers against Lattanzi and Slattery who frankly should have known better than to belittle a resident and a candidate for public office who was in the right when they were in the wrong.
If the city issues an apology to Mr. Linsey as it should, it will admit it wronged him – which is why the city is hesitant to issue an apology.
Mr. Linsey has asked and quite rightly, “What is going on here?”
We ask the same question.
It is one thing for the city to make a critical error as to the date and time for certifying signatures. It is quite another for the city to treat candidates challenging the system like second class citizens.
Why was Mr. Linsey treated this way?
Why would any resident, voter, or candidate for public office be treated as he was?
And if his treatment by city officials doing the mayor’s bidding was about the color of his skin or his wife’s national origin, the DeMaria Administration should hang its collective head in shame.