How Many Chances Should a Racist Get?

In the view of a lot of people, one would be the limit. Mayor Susan Menard appears to be more forgiving.
The civil lawsuit filed in 2000 by Bennie Koffa outlines the treatment to which he was subjected by certain employees of the Woonsocket Highway Department including, notably, Robert Harnois. It came to light last week that Mr. Harnois, now Superintendent of that department, is the subject of a second, similar complaint by certain current highway department employees. The behavior described in the 2000 lawsuit, directed solely at Mr. Koffa as the only black person in the department, was disgusting and brutish.
Mayor Menard, who last year promoted Mr. Harnois to Superintendent of the Woonsocket Highway Department, has stated that she did not and does not believe the allegations in Mr. Koffa’s lawsuit. The frequency, duration and number of witnesses – daily/over a year/many – of the verbal abuse considerably detracts from the credibility of her assertion.
Or, if we were to take her at her word, we would need to ask a couple of questions. In her capacity as mayor, how many other meritless lawsuits did she settle for six figures on behalf of the taxpayers of Woonsocket (and of the state)? How often in her capacity as mayor has she settled lawsuits sight unseen, without reviewing the substance of the case?
It is inexplicable that the mayor would promote a person who had been the subject not only of such accusations but of a taxpayer funded settlement involving such accusations. In doing so, she has exposed the city to a considerable financial liability. More importantly, she has condoned such rancid behavior.

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0ldTimeLefty
12 years ago

A hypocritical question for this blog considering the tolerence it shows for blogger Mike who has written in Destroying Rhode Island No Joke:

you brain-addled, pedophile apoligist, government teat-sucker.
Please stop slandering me saying I have “Latin King pals”.
I assurre you I have no black or brown “pals.”

OldTimeLefty

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Except, of course, that Mike is a voice in the crowd, not a paid (and promoted) official representative.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

I am shocked, shocked! at Manolo’s behavior.
She has her political gifts, though. A few years ago, she went after a swingers’ club, which had been operating for quite awhile, at a politically opportune time, enabling her to present herself as the moral guardian of A City on the Move.
Remember, she still has powerful friends who enable her.

Harold
Harold
12 years ago

Old Time Lefty
Mike’s comments are the gift,that keeps on giving.
He speaks for many,or most,of the right wingers that I know.
Justin PLEASE do not ban Mike’s comments
Mike could be the next Chairman of the RI Republican Party

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

“Mike’s comments are the gift,that keeps on giving.
He speaks for many,or most,of the right wingers that I know.”
You have that right. Most just don’t have the nuts to say it.
Oh-most of the ruling parties of Europe openly do-blacks and browns-OUT!
America as a Third World country-how progressive.
RI DESERVES THE WORST
LIZ ROBERTS FOR GOVERNOR

Matt Jerzyk
Matt Jerzyk
12 years ago

Monique –
Very good post. And important questions.
Does Mr. Harnois serve at the pleasure of the Mayor or is he in a collective bargaining unit?
These allegations – if true – certainly provide at least just cause.
-Matt

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Justin,
your comment that “Mike is a voice in the crowd, not a paid (and promoted) official representative” might have some validity if you hadn’t gone through the process of banning certain people from the blog while continually looking past mike’s racist remarks.
You are an enabler, a Pilate washing his hands of the incident. You couldn’t seem to extend the same blind eye towards David, to name one whom you have banned in the past. David “is a voice in the crowd, not a paid (and promoted) official representative” and you banned him.
Justice is blind, Justin peeks through the folds to see who is there before pronouncing judgment.
OldTimeLefty

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

I’m not sure I believe in banning, but any sane person who reads Mike’s remarks can come to the same conclusion Lefty and I do.
It’s Justin’s forum. He who sponsors the bandwidth makes the rules. If he can shoulder the burden of defending Mike, more power to him.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

rhody,
I don’t favor banning. I am opposed to hypocritical posturing.
OldTimeLefty

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

Monique
Thank you for bringing this to light. I am a reader of the incredible shrinking Providence Journal and had not heard the news from up north. The sort of behavior alleged here by a supervisor towards workers should not be condoned.

Jake
Jake
12 years ago

The latest on Mr. Harnois is that he hates just about everyone. Anyone he views as more stupid, fatter, uglier, he mocks to no end. Even the mayor, when she’s not around, “she needs to go to the body shop.”
Warns guys in the department not to go to the authorities on his many indiscretions or he’ll see them outside later.

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