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Resolve Dispute Over Employees

Weirton City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo and members of City Council clearly need to have a talk — in public — about boundaries.

Last week, as we noted in a Monday editorial, council voted 7-0 to order DiBartolomeo to rescind a policy regarding municipal employees. Council members believed the policy was an attempt to keep employees from discussing concerns with and answering questions from council.

But in an email to Mayor Harold Miller, council members and city department heads, DiBartolomeo insisted that was not his intention. Instead, he meant to prevent the mayor and council members from assigning specific tasks to municipal employees, the city manager emphasized.

Only the city manager can assign work to employees, DiBartolomeo contends. In his email, however, he added that if the mayor or council members “have any questions, they can contact (employees) for information.”

And, DiBartolomeo pointed out, employees are free to have whatever interactions they desire after work hours.

DiBartolomeo made a disturbing allegation in his email, telling recipients he is investigating a council member for “inappropriate discussions with one of my employees.” He added that, “I will not tolerate any intimidation nor disrespectful behavior towards ANY of my employees.”

As we pointed out Monday, DiBartolomeo is right to insist on a chain of command. Allowing each of the seven council members and the mayor to act as job supervisors of city employees would be absurd. When it comes to specific tasks, orders for them need to originate with the city manager.

And if anyone is attempting to intimidate one or more municipal employees, DiBartolomeo is right to put a stop to it.

Whatever the situation is, it needs to be discussed and resolved. And

Weirton residents should be informed of what happened and what corrective measures have been or are being taken.

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