Monday, December 26, 2011

Email threat deserves stern rebuke

Tuesday's Observer editorial:

Tracy Montross, special assistant to Mayor Anthony Foxx, embarrassed her boss and demeaned his office when she threatened leaders of Charlotte’s International Cabinet in November for failing to upgrade the mayor to first-class on a trip to China.

Montross told CIC officials in an email from China on Nov. 14 to “please expect hell” with upcoming budgets after she requested in vain that the CIC reimburse Foxx for the cost of his first-class ticket, the Observer reported last week. Foxx, who apologized to CIC’s executive director Sharon Reed in an email Friday, was apparently aware of the reimbursement requests, but not the threat that accompanied them.

Foxx led an 11-member delegation to China to meet with business and political leaders. The trip came two days after Foxx’s mayoral re-election campaign, and he understandably wanted to fly business class during the lengthy flight so as to be more physically and mentally ready for the 20 or so meetings he faced with Chinese leaders. The International Cabinet, which receives city funding, was not bound by city policy that reimburses only economy airline tickets, but CIC declined the requests, anyway.

Foxx paid for his upgraded flight out of his pocket before the trip. On Dec. 15, CIC’s executive board voted to reimburse Foxx $2,321, the difference between an economy and first-class ticket. When asked by the Observer if Montross’ threat had resulted in the reimbursement, CIC vice chair Charles Lansden said: “I can’t comment on that.”

In a letter to Foxx last Thursday, Montross was appropriately regretful that her actions “could bring into question your leadership and commitment to our community.” She neglected to add that those actions could undermine the public’s trust that city business isn’t conducted amid a culture of coercion.

We’re also skeptical about the depth of regret Montross feels, given that she sent her apologetic letter to Foxx more than a month after threatening the International Cabinet but shortly before a report on her actions was scheduled to air on a Charlotte TV station.

While Montross works for Foxx, she technically reports to City Manager Curt Walton. In an email to the Observer, Walton said he would not discuss an employee’s performance issues in public. He did say, however, that Montross “is an extremely talented employee that I look forward to working with for years to come.”

That seems to indicate that Montross will not be fired over this mistake. Fair enough - a singular error in judgment shouldn’t cost an otherwise valuable employee a job, unless that mistake is a whopper. Montross came close, in our opinion, and we hope the discipline she gets sends that message.


Wiley Coyote said...

Mayor Fixxit planned the trip BEFORE he even knew he was to be re-elected, yet you give us some sob story about how he "deserved" to fly business class?

IF I want to fly first class with my company, I have to do what Fixxit did - pay for it out of my own pocket.

If I had done what Montross did with my company? I would immediately be terminated.

The political correctness in this city and county has no bounds.

The Observer issues its opinion: send her to timeout and don't let her have recess for a week.

Cedar Posts said...

"a singular error in judgment shouldn’t cost an otherwise valuable employee a job, unless that mistake is a whopper"

Oh come on now this was hardly a "singular error" rather a pattern abuse that escalated over a period of weeks and this is certainly a "whopper", one that would even make the Burger King proud.

Rather than side with Curt Walton and the elitist clique that runs our City County Government why doesn't the Editorial Board close ranks with the taxpayers of Charlotte and stand, just once on the side of ethics and transparency?

Were are the emails? Where are the copies of correspondence leading up to the "hell to pay" email.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Fox is a criminal as is his assistant. Anyone who believes that this dimwitted assistant did this on her own is not thinking clearly.

Mayor Fox (like all politicians) forgets that he is serving the people not fleecing them. He is the one who is behind this. He feels entitled to fly first class due to his ego.

This is an example of how our money, our states, and our country have been sold down the river by filthy criminals pretending to be public servants.

Fire them both and run their filthy rear ends out of town.

Anonymous said...

Democrat politicians, doing what democrat politicians do..ride on the tails of their voter base they think is to stupid to know and do any better .....whats the beef?

Skippy said...

This is the whole entitlement thing we are witnessing and where is the accountability? Forget it, she is black, a female and a Democrat. Welcome to Charlotte, the home of white flight.

Cedar Posts said...

Skippy - Just for fun, she's a white girl, not that it makes a difference.

The truth is she should be fired, and will be if Mayor Foxx has his sights on higher office.

Tracy has always been known as "bull dog" by those who are her few friends and by everyone else she's discribed with words the start with B or C.

She should and will resign, if she doesn't she should be fired. No question about it.

I wouldn't accept a cal or an email from someone who treats people like that, so it is pretty hard to have her as a pointman for the Mayor.

skilletjohansen said...

One hand washing the other isnt unusual in business esp. when one party controls funding and budgets. But this isnt the private sector. Both are playing with public $$$. Maybe Tim Newman should give Foxx and co. a tutorial.

jenifer daniels - the friendraiser said...

wow deduced that she was AfAm from what? Google perhaps?

and if she was, why the vitriol?

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...

At least we have learned one thing from the posts here, is that stupidity knows no skin color.

oberswester said...

Anyone who is representing a government official needs to understand one thing--the power belongs to the government official, NOT the assistant. I feel that this youngster was playing around with a double-expresso-fueled power-shot and feeling very omnipotnet because of who she worked for. The kid needs to either grow up REALLY fast and diffuse this, or get out of politics all together. Immature, unexperienced aides have lost more than one elected official their posts.

BTW--the trip on an overseas flight is equally miserable, whether you are in "Business Class" or coach, the difference being a hot towel on arrival and two free drinks. Mayor Foxx should have had the grace to bite the bullet and go with what the CIC had designated. Now, there is LOTS of dung for him to wade thru...

misswhit said...

Last poster said "The kid needs to either grow up REALLY fast and diffuse this, or get out of politics all together. Immature, unexperienced aides have lost more than one elected official their posts."

"The kid" does not appear to be unexperienced. In a 2009 online profile she wrote: I believe:I am an outgoing and resourceful professional woman currently attending UNC-Charlotte for my Masters in Public Administration. I spent the last four years in Washington D.C. working for Senator Max Baucus as his Executive Assistant" She goes on to say she wants a career in local (Charlotte) government and Democratic politics.

She has since earned her masters. Is this an example of what UNCC is teaching its public administration students? Apparently they don't have courses in ethics.