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Local View: Fosle a hypocrite, must resign

During a recent discussion on earned safe and sick time, Duluth City Council member Jay Fosle belittled a local resident who had come to a council meeting to tell her personal story and to demonstrate why she supports earned safe and sick time in...

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Denfeld’s 1947 boys basketball team is the only Denfeld basketball team to win a state title. The team’s head coach was Lloyd Holm. Team members were Rudy Monson, Larry Tessier, Paul Nace, Kenneth Sunnarborg, Eugene Norlander, Howard Tucker, Tony Skull, Jerry Walczak, Bruce Budge, Keith Stolen and student manager Bob Scott.

During a recent discussion on earned safe and sick time, Duluth City Council member Jay Fosle belittled a local resident who had come to a council meeting to tell her personal story and to demonstrate why she supports earned safe and sick time in the city of Duluth ("Duluth sick time policy placed on hold," March 13).

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Allen Killian Moore

The resident, Christina St. Germaine, shared her story of becoming pregnant at the age of 19 and subsequently working during her pregnancy despite her doctor ordering her to stay home. She miscarried after she was prevented by her employer from taking paid time off.

Demonstrating zero sympathy for her, and disregarding her story entirely, Councilor Fosle verbally attacked St. Germaine, stating, "People make choices in life. If you got pregnant at 19, you did that on your own. ... You made those choices. That's what life is. Life is a choice."

In addition to being a public servant who apparently felt it was a good use of his paid time to speak in a condescending way to a constituent during an official public meeting, Fosle also was hypocritical.

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Two Thursdays a month, the Duluth City Council holds an agenda meeting, or session, as part of its paid time. Councilors use these meetings to address things coming up for votes and to organize their agendas. Fosle has been notorious for abdicating his duties by not attending agenda meetings. In March 2016 the News Tribune reported that Fosle had failed to attend a single agenda meeting that year, and his reason for not doing his duty as a paid representative was that he had medical issues he needed to take care of. Specifically, Fosle said he had to skip the work meetings so he could deal with his diabetes and a thyroid that was removed.

So, Fosle has the nerve to belittle others for wanting time off from work to deal with their health while at the same time he himself skipped work meetings on the taxpayers' dime. I'll say it: Fosle is a hypocrite. He's like a parent who tells a kid, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Fosle made the choice to abdicate his duties and belittle sincere citizens simply trying to participate in the democratic process. He does not embody the kind of honest representation we need in Duluth. We need city councilors who do not demean their constituents during public meetings, even when they disagree. And we need councilors who don't tell others they shouldn't desire paid time off for medical reasons while hypocritically taking time away from their own work for medical reasons.

Fosle seems to love to talk about taking responsibility and making choices - that is, apparently, until it comes to himself. In his own case, he seemed to have no problem missing agenda sessions for medical reasons.

Maybe we should stop paying him.

If Fosle has any courage left, or any decency buried in his psyche, he will take personal responsibility for his harsh words against Christina St. Germaine, and he will publicly apologize. He also will look deep into his mind, recognize that he has done the very thing he claimed to oppose and publicly acknowledge the hypocrisy. Then, with a courageous and admirable owning of his own mistakes, he will step down from the City Council.

If he does not possess the courage or moral fortitude to step down, it may be a long road ahead for Jay Fosle, as he'll have to live forever with the shame of being an uncannily poor steward of our city's precious money and time.

 

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Allen Killian-Moore of Duluth is an author and film artist with a history in community organizing around issues relating to homelessness, food justice, and access to social services.

Related Topics: DULUTH CITY COUNCIL
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