More MS news articles for Sep 2001

Complaint filed over promotion

Complaint filed over promotion

September 06, 2001
By ROB VARNON, Middletown Press Staff

MIDDLETOWN -- A sewer department employee claims he was overlooked for a promotion because he has Multiple Sclerosis.

Tim Pawlak has been employed by the sewer department for seven years as a utility worker II. On Dec. 11 he applied for a promotion to utility worker III but was passed over in April.

As a result, Pawlak filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Aug. 31.

"I'm usually a quiet person," Pawlak said Wednesday. "I feel I'm the one who deserved this job and I'm going to fight for what I believe in."

Pawlak said he holds five or six certificates for sewer waste treatment and was more qualified than the applicant who filled the position.

Pawlak said he believes he didn't get the job because of his disability and because the man who did get it has political connections to department Director Guy Russo and Mayor Domenique Thornton.

Russo said he could not say much about the matter because the issue is under investigation.

"I think it's fair to say we had two candidates that were clearly eligible to do the job and Tim was one of them," Russo said. "He was not denied an opportunity."

Neither Pawlak nor Russo would reveal the name of the man who got the position.

Pawlak said he filed a grievance with the union over the matter but the union denied his claim. He is also pursuing the matter with the labor board.

Pawlak said he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago but it has only been this year that the department has asked for medical evaluations on his fitness. He said he was cleared by a doctor all three times.

"I've been cooperative but after the third one I told them I wouldn't do another one," he said. He said he was asked by deputy director Mike Guarini for the evaluations and that the department has known about his Multiple Sclerosis since he was diagnosed with it.