Employee Accuses Middletown Mayor Of Preventing Raises, Promotions

A city employee who recently filed a grievance over the job description review process has also filed a complaint accusing Mayor Daniel Drew of personally intervening.

Michele DiMauro, human resources manager for the school district, filed the complaint last week with the city’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management and provided copies to the majority leader and minority leader on the common council.

DiMauro said she has been treated unfairly in the city’s process to review and update job descriptions, which resulted in pay increases for three other employees but didn’t recommend an upgrade for her job description.

According to the latest complaint, she also believes the mayor’s interference was a reason she didn’t get a raise.

“It has come to her attention that the mayor has made specific disparaging comments about her and has involved himself in the labor management process,” said management union President Geen Thazhampallath.

Drew denied having anything to do with the review of her job description or influencing the process. He said DiMauro has already received multiple pay increases in the last five years, plus cost-of-living increases required in the union contract.

Drew said DiMauro’s complaint is a “pay dispute” through a process he wasn’t involved in.

When her job was evaluated through the process specified in the contract, the result was no recommended raise, Drew said.

“I didn’t have any decision-making role in that process,” Drew said. “I had nothing to do with it. I welcome a review and I’m confident that the facts of this case will show that Ms. DiMauro’s position was classified in the appropriate pay grade by an objective classification system.”

Council Republican Minority Leader Sebastian Giuliano characterized the letter he received from DiMauro as “more or less a notice that she’s making a complaint.”

He said it doesn’t appear to be a specific demand or request for a council investigation, and said it will be up to the council to determine whether there’s a reason to get involved. Typically the city attorneys or the mayor’s office would review such a complaint, but those offices are parties to the complaint so it might require outside review, he said.

“From our standpoint, if the council were to take any action, it would be invoking our power to investigate an officer or department,” Giuliano said. “Anyone in city hall that would do it is probably disqualified. Anyone who could hear it is involved in the activities she’s complaining about.”

He said the council could seek to hire an outside consultant or law firm to review DiMauro’s complaint, but council members will need to discuss the complaint before determining if it is worth pursuing.

The union grievance filed in November accuses the city of gender discrimination, contesting the difference in pay between DiMauro and city hall HR director Thomas Tokarz. The union said the jobs are substantially the same, but city General Counsel Brigham Smith said the jobs aren’t comparable despite their similar name.

Drew said DiMauro demanded a two-grade increase in pay when the other job descriptions reviewed in the labor management study received one-grade increases.

He said her claim is “without merit.”

Thazhampallath said DiMauro “followed the contractually laid-out process and made a compelling case” that was supported by the participants in the labor management study, but still did not receive a pay increase.

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