FOX 29 Investigates: City Manager Email Controversy - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

FOX 29 Investigates: City Manager Email Controversy

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -

Claims of racial bias are being tossed around a city agency.

City health officials are struggling to tamp down a growing controversy over a manager's e-mail widely seen as racially insensitive.

The department says it'll react, but angry workers are pushing back. Jeff Cole and FOX 29 Investigates have this report on a highly questionable e-mail.

The sign on the chain link fence states it bluntly: "Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health Rat Control." It's the West Hunting Park Avenue city office charged with eliminating rats, insects and other varmints.

Its official name is Vector Control, and Raymond Delaney is the boss. He's a veteran city worker who earns $91,000.

FOX 29 Investigates has learned Delaney touched off outrage among some Vector Control workers when he sent an email seen as racially insensitive and demeaning to North Philadelphia and its residents.

In that e-mail, thanking workers for cards and well-wishes sent after he'd had neck surgery, Delaney wrote: "I'm telling folks that I was attacked by a gang in North Philly and they slit my throat," adding "(I seldom mention Temple Orthopedics) it sounds more exciting that way!"

FOX 29 Investigates approached Raymond Delaney outside Vector Control, and Cole said, "Hey, I've got to ask you something. I want to ask you about your email."

"I want to ask you about your email in which you said you were attacked by a gang in North Philly. Can I ask you about that?" Cole asked. "You can, come on, answer that question. Do you see why that might be seen as racially insensitive? Explain it to me."

"Mr.Cole, I'll talk to you later," Delaney said.

Delaney's email drew angry reaction. A city worker, who asked that we not name her fearing she'd become a target, responded to Delaney and his bosses by email writing, "I was extremely appalled by his story of being attacked in North Philly and having his neck slit."

She said it set "the vision for his tale" of the "African American low income Caucasians and Latinos residing in that Location."

Union Representative Evon Sutton told FOX 29, "I read it as if the only thing he left out was a group of black people."

Sutton represents Local 488's unionized workers at Vector. She obtained a copy of Delaney's e-mail and fired off this letter to city health warning e-mails like Delaney's "create a hostile work environment."

She also wrote that she met with Raymond Delaney and Department officials several months ago concerning employees' complaints about how Delaney deals with them.

She says Delaney claimed back then his intent was never to be inappropriate, but now the email with the reference to the North Philly gang attack surfaces.

The health department did not respond to our question about that meeting.

"It was unbelievable to me that a seasoned manager like himself would send something out to everybody and think it was ok," Sutton said.

Rue Landau is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

She would not speak specifically about this case, but did say in similar situations her agency could come in and get people talking again or, if it's a severe and ongoing problem, investigate and level fines.

"Our staff of investigators would investigate those cases as discrimination claims. And if they did have a finding of probable cause – that it was more likely or not that discrimination occurred – then it would go to a hearing in front of our commissioners, who sit as judges."

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Health refused to provide anyone to speak on camera.

It did release this letter to FOX 29 Investigates which has been given to Vector workers.

Health Director Palak Raval-Nelson wrote "Mr. Delaney expressed a negative stereotype about a predominately African American and Hispanic neighborhood where many of you have grown up and still live."

She added the department will retain a consultant to address stereotyping, biases and improve communication.

We pressed Delaney, "Can you see why that would be seen as racially insensitive for a city official of your stature?"

"Thank you," Delaney said.

"Can you tell me why?" Cole asked.

"Thank you," Delaney said.

"Does it seem racist, sir?" Cole followed-up, as Delaney got into a vehicle and shut the door.

"I got it right, right?" Cole asked. "I was attacked by a gang in North Philly, and they slit my throat?"

"Thank you," Delaney said.

"No, thank you. I'd like to know why you wrote it. You're a city official, you're paid well, you're a manager."

Delaney replied, "Thank you, sir."

"Well, thank me what? Why'd you write it?" Cole asked.

"Have a good evening," Delaney said.

"Why did you write it?" Cole asked.

"Have a good evening," Delaney said again from inside the vehicle.

"Did you mean to be racially insensitive?" Cole asked.

"Absolutely not," Delaney said.

Cole asked, "Now, do you think that you offended racial minorities who work within the city?" Cole asked.

"I didn't realize I did and when I did, I apologized," Delaney said.

In an email to workers, Delaney wrote he could not apologize enough and added the reference to North Philly was made because he was treated at Temple.

As for that consultant, union leader Sutton says she'll urge her members not to take part because they didn't do anything wrong.

  • Send A Tip To FOX 29 Investigates

    Have a tip for Investigative Reporter Jeff Cole and the FOX 29 Investigates team? Send it now!

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for submitting your tip!

  • Jeff Cole ReportsMore>>

  • Ex-top aide to Congressman Fattah pleads guilty

    Ex-top aide to Congressman Fattah pleads guilty

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:40:57 GMT
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A political consultant and former chief of staff to Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah has pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in a pair of campaign finance schemes.Gregory Naylor pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to the FBI, concealing a felony and falsifying documents.Court documents say Naylor issued a phony invoice of more than $193,000 to a candidate in the 2007 mayor's race. Court documents don't name the candidate, but Naylor was a top adviser to Fatta...
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A political consultant and former chief of staff to Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah has pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in a pair of campaign finance schemes.Gregory Naylor pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to the FBI, concealing a felony and falsifying documents.Court documents say Naylor issued a phony invoice of more than $193,000 to a candidate in the 2007 mayor's race. Court documents don't name the candidate, but Naylor was a top adviser to Fatta...
  • Police: Thieves Posed As Cops, Stole $100K From Distribution Center

    Police: Thieves Posed As Cops, Stole $100K From Distribution Center

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-08-27 21:50:10 GMT
    Police are investigating a six-figure robbery at a distribution center in the city's Fishtown section. They say two thieves made their way in posing as cops.It appears the suspects knew where the place was, and knew how the operation was once they got inside.Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters that police were called to the Kawa Food Distribution Center in the Fishtown section north of the city center shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday.Investigators said the center was preparing to open wh...
    Police are investigating a six-figure robbery at a distribution center in the city's Fishtown section. They say two thieves made their way in posing as cops.It appears the suspects knew where the place was, and knew how the operation was once they got inside.Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters that police were called to the Kawa Food Distribution Center in the Fishtown section north of the city center shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday.Investigators said the center was preparing to open wh...
  • FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse

    FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:36 AM EDT2014-07-25 05:36:56 GMT
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • PECO Investigating Gas Odor in Phila Region

    PECO Investigating Gas Odor in Phila Region

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:15:46 GMT
    A spokesperson for PECO confirms to Fox 29 News that crews are trying to find the source of a gas odor that has resulted in hundreds of calls to PECO on Saturday.About 400 calls have been placedto PECO as of 4pm Saturday; that is an elevated number of calls than a normal day, the spokesperson says. Crews that are trained in gas odor response are spread throughout the area to try to pinpoint the source of the odor. Reports of gas odors have been made by customers in Delaware, Montgomery, Chest...
    A spokesperson for PECO confirms to Fox 29 News that crews are trying to find the source of a gas odor that has resulted in hundreds of calls to PECO on Saturday.About 400 calls have been placedto PECO as of 4pm Saturday; that is an elevated number of calls than a normal day, the spokesperson says. Crews that are trained in gas odor response are spread throughout the area to try to pinpoint the source of the odor. Reports of gas odors have been made by customers in Delaware, Montgomery, Chest...
  • Students Prepare To Return To School With Free Supplies

    Students Prepare To Return To School With Free Supplies

    Saturday, August 30 2014 6:15 PM EDT2014-08-30 22:15:25 GMT
    We all know Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial end of summer, but it also mean something else...back to school.
    We all know Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial end of summer, but it also mean something else...back to school.
  • Summer Heat Returns

    Saturday, August 30 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-30 20:11:25 GMT

    The rest of the holiday weekend continues to look warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increase late Sunday and Labor Day.

    The heat and humidity will continue to expand Sunday into Labor Day. There is a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both day.  Best chance will be in the afternoon and evening. 

    Sunday (88/69): Clouds/Storm

    Monday (90/71): Clouds/Storm

    Tuesday (92/72): Clouds/Storm

     

     

Powered by WorldNow

KTBC FOX 7
119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7777
Fax: (512) 495-7001

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices