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Tim Paine

Gerace: Local Republicans not involved in release of Christian e-mail

By Howard B. Owens

Local Republicans want nothing to do with Tim Paine's release of a Rose Mary Christian e-mail in which Christian tells fellow council members about her termination from Wal-Mart 20 months ago.

Joe Gerace, chairman of the City Republicans, called this morning and was adamant that The Batavian publish a statement from him saying that neither City nor County Republicans had anything to do with Paine's decision to release the e-mail.

"It's personal," Gerace said. "This is between Rose Mary and Tim Paine and we have nothing to do with it."

"I don't like her philosophy, but Rose Mary and I are good friends," Gerace said. "Why would I get involved in a thing like this?"

Gerace said he doesn't like mudslinging and doesn't like to see local Republicans involved with such tactics.

"I don't condone dirty politics, dirty tricks," Gerace said.

When contacted this morning, Christian's Republican opponent Bob Radley was unaware yet of the issue. He said he had heard rumors, but it really wasn't something he was interested in pursuing.

"I'm not into talking about people's personal lives," Radley said. "That's not the way I want win an election. I want to win an election on the issues, not based on what my opponent has done."

Former Democrat releases potentially damaging Christian e-mail because 'It's personal'

By Howard B. Owens

Tim Paine, who lost a Ward 4 council race to Bob Bialkowski two years ago, thinks Rose Mary Christian is personally responsible for him not being part of the Democratic slate this year.

He blames Christian for bringing candidate Julie Wallace into the fold and promoting her to other committee members, thereby costing him a chance to win a council seat. He believes he would've gotten more votes than Wallace, and more than the Republican with the fewest votes, too.

"I honestly feel I might have been the top of the ticket," Paine said, "and as hard as I work, I think I could have grabbed that third spot."

So tonight, he made no bones about seeking some payback and released to The Batavian and the Daily News a 20-month-old e-mail written by Christian and sent to her fellow City Council members. The Feb. 16, 2008 missive explained why she was fired from Wal-Mart.

The gist of it is that she and two other workers ate pieces of coffee cake from a damaged box that was going to wind up in the trash.

Christian was accused of violating store policy by opening the coffee cake package for another employee and then eating a small portion of it along with that employee and another worker.

When confronted by a store manager, Christian refused to give up the names of the other employees involved and she was terminated on the spot.

Here's the e-mail Rose Mary sent to all eight of her council colleagues, as well as City Attorney George Van Nest:

I want you to know that I was terminated by Wal-Mart for the following reason. I with two other girls ate a piece of coffee cake that was damaged. I opened the side of it and pulled it out. The girl who also ate some of it told on me. Almost a week later, my boss was told about it. When confronted, I would not tell who the other girls were. I was guilty of eating a piece of it, and was terminated. In case you hear it from someone else, I did it. Ro

(This e-mail was edited for typos only.)

For his part, Paine says flatly, releasing the e-mail "is personal. This is strictly a personal thing."

He takes umbrage with those who might minimize the importance of the issue.

"I can't tell you how much it pisses me off when people say, 'it was just a piece of coffee cake,'" Paine said. "How much will it be next time? Well, it was big enough that Wal-Mart fired her."

Large national retailers routinely terminate employees for even the most petty of infractions. There's no opportunity for appeal and no explanation will suffice. It's simply a zero-tolerance policy.

As the e-mail above indicates, Christian has no problem admitting she broke a rule -- though she says she was unaware of the policy at the time.

She said a girl who worked at the store came in to start her shift and said she was hungry, and Christian told her, "there's a damaged coffee cake over there." The girl started to stick her finger into the package and Christian said, "Don't do it like that. You don't know who's fingers have been in there." Christian then opened the package for her. At that point, they each took a small piece of the coffee cake as did a third employee.

Christian (electronically) scanned the package so the coffee cake would be reported as damaged inventory before it was thrown away.

Christian is the Democratic candidate for the District 7 County Legislature seat, running against Republican Bob Radley. She has represented Ward 6 for 18 years, and remains -- by all accounts very popular in her ward. We are told her nickname in that neighborhood is "Mayor of Ward 6."

Political observers we've spoken to suspect that in Ward 6, her unwillingness to "rat out" her co-workers will play well with voters. But in the more conservative Ward 1, the idea that she stole anything whatsoever may be all voters remember at the polls.

Christian said she doesn't want to be seen as a hero for not telling managers the names of the two other employees. She broke policy and was terminated. That's that.

She did say, however, that when Wal-Mart tried to fight her eligibility for unemployment, a judge ruled that she had been unfairly terminated and awarded her unemployment benefits, which she did receive for a time. She plans to make a letter confirming that decision public as soon as she obtains a copy.

Christian was taken aback to learn that Paine had a personal issue with her. She said she had no idea until this came up today that Paine was mad at her. She said although she introduced Wallace to the Democrat Committee, she had nothing to do with Wallace getting the nod over Paine.

"This is a figment of his imagination," Christian said.

She also noted that Paine dropped out of contention on his own, which Paine confirms.

Two weeks ago, Paine re-registered as a Republican.

Christian accused City Council President Charlie Mallow and Paine of conspiring to leak her old e-mail to the media -- even though she admits she had no expectation that it would remain private when she sent it. She said Paine must have gotten the e-mail from Mallow.

It's unclear how Paine obtained the e-mail. He initially said he got it from Mallow, but later denied it and said -- and Mallow concurs -- that the e-mail was shared with all City Democrat Committee members and discussed extensively at the time by the committee.

"We were trying to decide what we should do about it," Mallow said.

He said earlier that he wants nothing to do with the spat between Paine and Christian, calling them both friends.

"It's personal and it's why I don't want to have anything to do with politics," Mallow said. "It's one person against another person and they both happen to be my friends. It's like watching two friends fight in a schoolyard. What are you supposed to do?"

Hopefully this ends the "Mallgame"

By Timothy Paine

           Hopefully last night settles the issue of me being removed from the MOC. A thinly veiled attempt to remove me was made at last nights Council meeting. Frank Ferrando tried to come up with several different scenarios that could be used to kick someone off a committee. My favorite was being likened to a "community window decorator that hates windows". In the end after all of Frank, Bob and Bill's arguments for removal, intelligent reason prevailed. Thanks to Charlie, Cathy and Marianne it will remain that you can't throw someone off because they don't agree with you. Bob Bialkowski and Bill Cox tried to orchestrate a scheme that would have me removed. Bob asked Frank to implement this sorry attempt to try and hide him as the ring leader. Anyone present at the last Council meeting was a witness to Bob setting this in motion. Through out our campaign against each other a year ago and even until now I've never bad-mouthed Bob. At some point enough is enough. If no one has told you yet, you won Bob! I guess my biggest suprise is Bill. I worked along side Bill a lot last year and even helped him with his campaign. At the time I took him for an intelligent guy. I also thought Frank was above being used in such a way. We do live and learn.

         A couple of weeks ago Joanne Beck ran an article in The Daily News about this whole Mall thing. A week ago I met with Philip and discussed the same issue. We spoke for over an hour and he asked me to go ahead and submit my own article. I figured I'd wait till after last weeks MOC meeting and see how things went last night. I thought I would give you the e-mail I submitted to Joanne and let you all decide your own views. She asked me four questions, these were my answers:

         1.Q; Why did you start recording the meetings? I started recording meetings when I felt the minutes seemed inaccurate. I found things were being glossed over or omitted. When I would bring up these problems during the approval of the minutes it became apparent that these things were omitted for a reason. Dr. Chess would propose to remove the things before and after the missing statements instead of inserting what was really said. All I was asking for was the truth. When a City Council member would say something that isn't allowed due to ongoing negotiations I felt it should be included. Fortunately, they voted to close the meetings. Council members attending meetings should be less frequent now permitting a much less likely chance a verbal mistake can jeopardize Jason's ongoing negotiations.

         2.)Q; Did it involve a disability, and are you willing to elaborate at all?   As far as my disability, that's now a non-issue. They all voted against me recording meetings. Madeline is the only one who is allowed to record now. All I wanted was to have access to the recording. Dr. Chess asked Jason if they kept recordings of Council meetings and he said they did. The board agreed to keep recordings for 60 days and that I could review them at Madeline's office if I needed to. All I wanted was the
ability to check the minutes if I felt something was wrong, and they granted me that. Had they not let me have access to any type of recording, I would have pursued the disability case against them. Since I have access, all is fine. However, if I'm ever denied access or the recording is "lost" then I will have to get my lawyer involved as well as contact the media.

         3.)Q; Why do you think the Board wants you off the MOC?  The reason they want me off the board is unknown to me. My job is to be on the side of the taxpayer. That's a conflict of what they want. I don't know what past city-appointed members did, and I don't really care. I know what my position is:  it's to keep as much of the people of Batavia's money where they want or  don't want it to go. The people have made it clear to me, (very, very clear to me) that they don't want one more dime spent on the Mall. I've told them that's not going to happen. Whether it's an expensive roof, selling it for a dollar, or ten years worth of tax concessions, it's going to cost us something. The board has told me they want all three. I've told everybody that what ever the cost is, I feel the best thing is to make sure we sever all ties between the City and the Mall. Let's make sure this deal is the last deal. Everybody has agreed with me on that point. The public WILL NOT STAND  for the MOC getting all three requests. My job is to give the MOC as little as possible. Again, my job is to give the Mall as little as possible. I'm standing my ground. I guess we know why they want me gone.

         4.)Q; Do you feel you've been "antagonistic" in any way?  Am I being antagonistic? I'm sure they feel that way. I know they didn't like it when I wrote my opinion in the paper several months back. In the next meeting I was told I was now viewed as a "Hostile" and would be treated as such. I'm fine with that. They have their objective and I have mine. After that article in the paper, we as a board all agreed to keep everything at the meetings and not in the paper. I have kept my word on that. I think they feel I'm being antagonistic because I want the truth all the time, not just when it suits some of them. Whenever Dr. Chess has been less than honest, I point it out. When Bill Cox was caught in a contradiction it upset both of them. Bob Bialkowski must still think we're running against each other. To this day, he likes to try and mess with me when he can. I don't dislike anyone on the board. We're all there for a reason, but not for the same outcome. When opposing views are present there is no way it's all going to be lovey-dovey. I understand that, and that's why I sit there as the lone person on the side of the City taxpayers. I'm fine with that. Whether it's a meeting that's 6 against one, or ten against one, it's no problem for me. Apparently they feel the need to have a "yes man" there too. It's too bad for them that I'm not one. I wonder how Dr. Chess would do in my shoes? I think the answer is obvious, he doesn't like being on a team against one opponent. Wow, how would he handle being in my position?

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