A Department of Public Works employee has filed a grievance against DPW Commissioner Daniel Raymondi for allegedly saying a derogatory remark after the employee lost a local primary election.
According to an incident report filed with the DPW on Sept. 21, Steven Kozlowski alleged that after losing the primary election for Ward 2 city councilor the day before, Raymondi saw him in the hall of a city building, shook his hand, and said, “200 votes, huh? I would have went home and put a bullet in my head.”
Kozlowski alleges he said, “I did good,” to which Raymondi allegedly responded, “What is that? 25 [votes] in each district?” and walked away.
Kozlowski, who has clashed with DPW supervisors before, filed the report that same day, but says nothing has yet to come out of the complaint.
“They suspended a girl for, she supported [former Mayor William] Phelan, and some guy came down and bought a platter [of food] and said it was only for [Mayor Thomas] Koch supporters, and she said [expletive] and they suspended her for that. But he’s telling me to commit suicide, and nothing happens to him? He’s my boss, he shouldn’t be talking like that,” Kozlowski said in a phone interview.
According to Kozlowski, Union Local 1139 is currently processing the complaint and will take it up with City Hall. A representative could not be reached for comment.
In an interview, Raymondi neither confirmed nor denied making the comment to Kozlowski, but acknowledged that the pair did have a conversation relative to the election.
“We have a brief conversation, shook hands in the beginning, I indicated some thoughts in regards to the election, and didn’t think anything of it,” Raymondi said.
Although Raymondi would not specifically address the comment, he said the conversation was not meant to be malicious.
“It’s some language I use on occasion. It shouldn’t have been taken in that vein,” Raymondi said. “Mr. Kozowski is a public person, has been on the ballot a few times…those of us who put ourselves out to the public process, people have a right to talk to us.”
Raymondi said he wasn’t concerned about the complaint, as typically grievances are only acted upon when there is a violation of the contract within the allegations.
“There is no contract violation that the employee refers to. So if this was a violation of a grievance in relation to the contract, it would emanate from the employee through employee ranks and come to management. And if it proceeds along, it would go to human resources and ultimately the mayor. But there is no violation being alleged,” Raymondi said.
City officials said that the grievance was “nonsense,” and that they were not concerned.
“Per union rules, they are allowed to file a grievance and that process plays out. [But] generally, nonsense complaints like these don’t get much attention,” Mayoral spokesman Christopher Walker said.
This isn’t the first time Raymondi and Kozlowski have butted heads.
When Raymondi was hired as the city’s DPW Commissioner, Kozlowski publicly said that it was a “made up position”.
Since then, Kozlowski has faced a one-day suspension after allegedly leaving the street sweeper running and unattended – a complaint filed the day Kozlwoski took out his election papers.
He will have a Civil Service hearing on Monday over the suspension.
Kozlowski also said he was put on “second shift” at the DPW on purpose so that he wouldn’t be able to make city council meetings without taking time off work.
“They are suspending people left and right, and they think they own the whole city. We’ve never had a problem like this until [the Koch administration] took over a couple of years ago,” Kozlowski said.