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Warren treasurer recommends anger management for Mayor Fouts

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WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) -

In a detailed e-mail sent to Warren's Human resources Director, Treasurer Carolyn Moceri recommends anger management counseling for Mayor Jim Fouts after a "frightening encounter."

Moceri claims Fouts was aggressive towards her and threatened her physically when he "lunged" across a table at her. She says he also threatened to cut her department's budget. She says this happened because of a past spat in which she publicly called the mayor's taped comments about her "gross and disgusting."

She says his face was "beat red, [his] eyes were bulging and he was blood curdling scream[ing]."

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more from Moceri in a report from FOX 2's Andrea Isom

Mayor Fouts has responded to the e-mail, saying she misrepresented what occurred at the budget meeting. He also says "releasing the letter to the media was premature and clearly meant to embarrass me politically."

Human resources is investigating the allegations. 

READ BOTH OF THEIR CORRESPONDANCE BELOW

Statement by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts on City Treasurer Carolyn Moceri's February 27 Letter to Phil Easter, Human Resources Director

"I have received a copy of Treasurer Moceri's letter to Mr. Easter and clearly she misrepresented what occurred at the February 21, 2014 budget meeting. Here are the facts about that meeting:
·    I never "bullied or threatened" Ms. Moceri in any way.
·    I never "lunged" at her during our meeting.
·    I have never "bullied or berated" any city employee.
·    I never threatened to "cut" her department's  budget.
·    The reason we met privately with Ms. Moceri was to establish a harmonious relationship between her and me and between our departments because of past disagreements.
·    There was no reason "to fear for her safety," and she left the meeting on a friendly note.

"I received the letter about 4 p.m. on February 27 and to say I am surprised by it is an understatement. Curiously, she did not allow Mr. Easter enough time to respond to this letter. Her releasing the letter to the media was premature and clearly meant to embarrass me politically.

"I do feel very passionate about my job as I hope Treasurer Moceri does as well. That passion sometimes is expressed in heated arguments that do no require any anger management help." 

ORIGINAL E-MAIL FROM TREASURER MOCERI TO WHICH MAYOR FOUTS WAS RESPONDING:

February 27, 2014

To:   Phil Easter, Human Resources Director

From: Carolyn Moceri, Treasurer

Subject: Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Referral for Mayor James R. Fouts for Anger Management Counceling

Dear Mr. Easter,

    I am reporting a very frightening encounter I had with Mayor James R. Fouts, at his office, on Friday, February 21, 2014. As a result of the Mayor's aggressive and physically threatening conduct toward me, I feared for my safety. Due to this encounter and a growing pattern of verbal tirades and threats against co-workers, I am requesting that Mayor Fouts be referred to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for anger management counseling. Any other city employee, who engaged in this conduct, would be referred for counseling assistance. The Mayor's ongoing behavior of bullying, threatening and intimidating should not be allowed in the work place, and as Human Resource Director/Risk Manager I feel you have an obligation to do something about it.
    
    On February 21, 2014, I arrived in the Mayor's office for a schedule budget hearing for my department. About 15 minutes into the meeting, Richard Sabaugh, (Public Service Director) excused people from the room and requested I remain behind to have a "quick discussion" among the Mayor, himself, and I. At that time, the Mayor began a verbal tirade toward me about public comments I made last year. You may recall that I started to a news reporter that the comments of the Mayor were "gross and disgusting" in response to the tapes that were released that caught him making extremely lewd remarks about me. Mayor Fouts became so enraged and out of control that he lunged across the conference table at me,  and I fear for my safety. I thought he was going to strike me. As you know, I am battling an autoimmune disorder and I have work very hard through my health struggles. In spite of my health issues, I have been very responsible custodian of taxpayer dollars and run efficient and professional department on limited resources. Yet, in the Mayor's tirade, he threatened cutting my department's budget affecting the livelihood of innocent, hardworking employees just because he's angry with me. I was very shaken by this incident and trembled from the stress of the event, hours after the meeting ended.

    I do not take this matter lightly and my complaint is being done with the utmost concern for employee safety and morale, as well as protecting the taxpayers from another costly lawsuit. I have known Mayor Fouts for over decade and was his friend and supporter as a citizen activist and a fellow councilperson. Over the past few years, I have noticed a growing pattern of the Mayor losing his temper and engaging in aggressive and verbally threatening language. Over the last year, there have been numerous documentations/recordings of the Mayor being verbally abusive to City employees which has resulted in union grievances and costly lawsuits that have cost the taxpayers in excess of $300,000,00 on account of the Mayor's unprofessional workplace behavior, going into tirades, making death threats and bombastic statements.

    As a citywide elected official, I am directly accountable to the voters and taxpayers just like the Mayor. This however does not make us above the law or above the expectation of professional workplace etiquette. I believe you and I have the responsibility to ensure city business can occur without a hostile work environment or the denial of individual rights, for all employees. I am requesting that he be referred to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through the non-profit CARE of Southeast Michigan. Anger management counseling and other counseling services can be provided at no additional cost to the Mayor of the taxpayers, as this agency is contracted to provide these services to city employees. I have done my part in reporting this incident to whom, I believe to be the proper authority and request that corrective actions be taken.

    I am requesting a written response to this complaint by Monday, March 3, 2014 informing me of the course of action that will be taken regarding this serious matter. I reserve the right to seek other remedies to this problem if you fail to act upon my request.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Sincerely,
    Carolyn KurKowski Moceri
    Treasurer

cc: Mayor James R. Fouts

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