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Document: Haselkamp has history of ‘outlandish and inappropriate’ behavior

Hamilton Hasselkamp 006-20130312
Norwalk Finance Director Thomas Hamilton, left, and Personnel Director James Haselkamp, right, have been friendly since working in Stamford together, court documents say. Hamilton recommended Haselkamp for the job, documents say.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s personnel director, accused of aggressive behavior last week by city employees, once destroyed a police union sign, according to court documents. He resigned his position as Stamford’s director of labor relations shortly after that incident, in 2000.

The information about James Haselkamp comes from the statement of material facts in the case of Oswald Lewis vs. the city of Norwalk.

Lewis, Norwalk’s former director of management and budgets, sued Hamilton, Haselkamp and the city in 2011, alleging sexual harassment. The suit was dismissed in May by U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill. The sworn statement of material facts is attached below.

Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) named Haselkamp last week as the reason Norwalk firefighters did not endorse Moccia for re-election.

“For me, this is a person most city employees have problems with,” Watts said. “Maybe he’s negotiating on the best behalf of the city but it’s definitely a difficult relation between the city’s personnel director and city employees, no matter where they work in the city. That’s where most of my complaints come from. They don’t feel he is negotiating in fairness to them.”

The firefighters cited “unfair” treatment. Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said they endorsed him because they were looking for “civility, respect and inclusiveness.”

Department of Public Works employees say Haselkamp became verbally abusive with them Wednesday, shoving a table at one of them and pointing a finger close to that man’s face. Haselkamp confirmed there was an incident.

DPW employee Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) lodged a formal complaint against Norwalk in June with the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, saying the DPW employee Scott Shular was being retaliated against for filing a grievance.

Lewis, in sex harassment his suit, also felt Haselkamp discharged his duties in an “unfair, retaliatory, and arbitrary manner,” according to the statement. Lewis “had heard comments about Haselkamp that he was ‘loud’ and ‘used lots of profanity,’” the statement says.

Haselkamp was Stamford’s director of human resources from 1995 to 2000, according to his resume. He was director of labor relations for Connecticut Construction Industries Association from 2000 to 2002, the resume says. He was director of human resources for Waterbury for four years and seven months, from January 2002 to July 2006, the resume says, and was previously director of labor relations for Bridgeport.

Haselkamp’s history is described in the plaintiff’s disputed issues of material fact, in paragraphs 62-66, beginning on page 21 of the document attached below:

“During a golfing event in the Summer of 2000, organized in honor of (then-Mayor Dannel) Malloy’s cousin, the late James Malloy, Haselkamp engaged in outlandish and inappropriate behavior; he ‘destroyed a police union sponsorship sign out of ‘stupidity’ by hitting it two or three times …”

“Haselkamp denies that (then-Mayor Dannel) Malloy forced him out of his position at Stamford after this incident. Haselkamp subsequently resigned from his position in or about December 2000, without another job lined up and having a wife and three children aged ten and younger at the time.”

“Haselkamp left his position at Stamford because the social aspect of his job and the amount of time he spent away from home was negatively affecting his marriage. Haselkamp and his wife eventually got divorced after 19 years of marriage in 2006, although he does not remember who filed for divorce or on what grounds.”

“Haselkamp eventually took a position at the City of Waterbury as Director of Personnel or the Director of Human Resources, throughout which he maintained regular contact with Hamilton through their membership in the Connecticut Public Sector Purchasing Coalition. Haselkamp left his position at Waterbury because the Mayor’s Chief of Staff told him that they were ‘contemplating non-renewing [his] contract.’”

The statement then goes on to describe how Haselkamp came to Norwalk. He had known Hamilton since 1996 or 1997 as they both worked in Stamford, according to the statement. Moccia had asked the former personnel director to leave, according to the statement. Personnel Administrator John Schlosser was involved in finding a new personnel director but did not know whether Haselkamp had “submitted his interest” in the position through a resume and did not recall reviewing his resume, the statement says.

On page 23, paragraphs 67 and 68 say:

“Before Haselkamp was hired, Hamilton gave the Mayor positive feedback about Haselkamp. Moccia interviewed other candidates for Haselkamp’s position who Hamilton did not know or recommend to Moccia.  Haselkamp did not apply for any other position, and started the position within just 2 or 3 weeks of hearing that Waterbury may not renew his contract.”

“Moccia knew Haselkamp had worked at Stamford, but was unaware that Haselkamp destroyed a police union sign at the golfing event prior to his hire. Moccia later learned of the incident through an anonymous letter enclosing a newspaper article about the incident that stated police officers took ‘this as a personal slight’ and ‘are not always happy about what happens in contract negotiations’ and that this ‘makes it hard to negotiate.’” The Vice-President of the union is quoted as saying, ‘For the city’s head negotiator to do something like this at a city function as we are going into a contract year makes us wonder if they are going to deal with us in good faith.’ Moccia spoke to Haselkamp after receiving the letter with the article and Haselkamp ‘basically [said] it was true and said the article spoke for itself.’”

Moccia has always rated Haselkamp’s performance positively, the statement says. Moccia had never disciplined any employee for poor performance during his role as mayor, the statement says.

Moccia did not return a request for comment.

Lewis v City of Norwalk et al Statement of Material Fact(1)

Comments

17 responses to “Document: Haselkamp has history of ‘outlandish and inappropriate’ behavior”

  1. Norwalk Lifer

    I started to read the deposition in this case, so Haselkemp would show up uninvited to budget meetings and massage the neck and shoulders of the person who cited sexual harassment, stating “I know how to relax him”? This Hamilton person took unfinished drafts of this man’s work and presented it as complete citing “errors” in an effort to build a case? And this because this man brought sexual harassment charges against Hamilton? Hamilton made advantages towards Lewis and when he was rebuffed, suddenly found fault with his work? Hamilton recommended Lewis for the job but one year later, wanted him on disciplinary watch?

    Haselkemp gave Lewis 3 days to review a leave or fire offer, when federal law states that anyone over the age of 40 gets a 21 day period?

    Additionally, the city paid for EAP services, but the representative from EAP could not attend a meeting with the personnel director Haselkemp and this man Hamilton?

    The mayor upon hearing Lewis’ complaint, called it “dubious”, without knowing first hand any of the details?

    The mayor states in this deposition that he is not familiar with changes to the harassment policies from when he took office in 2005 to 2010 when the policy changed, BUT he “thinks” the policies are adequate?

    How can you “think” something is adequate when you don’t know about them?

    Why would the head of personnel “touch” another employee, being the supposed expert in harassment and what it means? it’s clear, you do not touch another employee. Haselkemp should be fired for this.

    But Haselkemp was hired after he was interviewed by a “friend” and Fred Wilms, there was no recommendation for hire? only an informative meeting with the Mayor to “tell him Haselkemp was being hired”????

    Are you kidding me? this is not an important position? or is this yet again, another one of Moccia’s “Ken Lay” imitations? I didn’t know, so I am not part of the problem.

    This man’s life was made miserable by the unwanted advances of another during work hours; you have to be a complete idiot not to understand that.

    And the investigative attorney, never handled a sexual harassment investigation before, and when information was provided to her by the plaintiff’s attorneys, she dismissed as “not relevant”. It’s not relevant that someone came into a professional meeting and “massaged” your shoulders?

    Are you serious? this whole administration needs a broom taken to their incompetent butts and swept out of city hall.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  2. M Allen

    Norwalk Lifer – There may be issues here with this gentleman, but let’s not go too overboard on the sexual harassment case, which was dismissed. There is obviously a lot more to it than what you’re limited and biased interpretation is reflecting. Or perhaps there isn’t more to it and that is why it was dismissed. Not a finding of guilt or innocence, but dimissed. Sexual harassment is a serious matter. Why don’t we avoid trying to find a man guilty of it when it seems to have taken its due course and a court determined there wasn’t enough of a case to proceed. It seems there are enough other issues you could focus on without delving into the sexual harassment angle because its so juicy.

  3. Oldtimer

    Norwalk Lifer pretty much says it all. Haselkamp and his buddy Hamilton should go. I won’t speculate on Haselkamp’s basic problem, but he doesn’t belong in that job. Moccia needs to consult with Maslan to limit City liability on this one, but they should not waste any time. Hamilton screams at people who disagree with his opinion in much the same manner.

  4. Union worker

    Haselkamp is a bully!

  5. Norwalk Lifer

    Dear Mr. Allen:

    Please do not patronize me, this article is about the history of misconduct by an individual who, ironically, IS responsible for setting the standard for behavior in a professional environment.

    The deposition clearly shows that the investigative attorney for the defense, did indeed dismiss statements as she did not find them “relevant” HOWEVER, it’s also clear in the deposition that she did not have the skills sets previously honed to do an investigation like this.

    Mr. Allen, I have over thirty years experience working for Fortune 100 Corporations; this kind of behavior has a direct impact on the health and financial wellbeing of an institution. If Norwalk truly had shareholders, instead of tax payers, then the discussion would take a different tone; and that would be shareholder negligence thru the actions taken by the board of management.

    And that, sir is a punishable offense, under the law.

    Now, if you wish to have commentary on salacious or lascivious inclinations, I would argue you are at the wrong place; this case was about sexual harassment, sexual harassment in the workplace is very real, and it’s very damaging to companies.

    Maybe if the good people of City hall had to answer to a board of directors or a major shareholder consortium, the behavioural patterns might be different.

    So in conclusion, since the article focused on the history of misconduct of this individual, then the commentary and questions I bring up about knowledge and the law, understanding the requirements for sexual harassment put forth in 2010 (which clearly now states all employees MUST receive sexual harassment training, which leads to the consequences of this action, relative to the individual and the entity in question itself) I would say that this Mayor cannot “run with the hounds and ride with the horses”, he clearly states he does not know what the particulars of the 2010 changes are, BUT he is sure that they are adequate.

    Sir, you cannot know if something is “adequate” unless you understand what it is.

    That’s impossible and illogical.

    So with regards to your cavalier attitude, I would suggest you read the deposition and THEN, and ONLY THEN, have a conversation with me about it.

    I read it, at 5:00 AM this morning.

    What say you?

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  6. EastNorwalkChick

    Like attracts like, Hamilton probably told Moccia that Haselkamp was a ball-buster, a great guy, one of us….not surprised at this type of aggressive behavior from one of Moccia’s hires.

  7. Tim T

    Union worker
    We need more bullies and less overpaid union “workers”.
    The municipal unions serve no purpose other than to pick the pockets of the taxpayer.

    (Comment has been edited to conform with our policy)

  8. BFD about nothing

    If the claim had any merit, there would have been some settlement. The fact that it was dismissed tells you there was absolutely no basis. … Frivolous suits and claims like these to great damage to those who are actually violated. Further, it is hard to believe that this could be true and not have other charges from other individuals. Like the case with the mayor in San Diego, these types of criminals usually have more than one skeleton in the closet. Let’s move on from this non-issue.

    (This comment has been edited to conform with our policy.)

  9. M Allen

    Anonymous Lifer – What in the hell are you talking about? “Now, if you wish to have commentary on salacious or lascivious inclinations, I would argue you are at the wrong place;”
    .
    As to your 30 year career, it matters not one iota. It is about as verifiable, credible and relevant as your identity allows. Look, I’m not white knighting for Mr. Haselkamp. I don’t know him and frankly couldn’t care less what happens to him. But anonymously attacking a city employee over a case that got dismissed by a judge is just the height of partisan nonsense. It’s par for the course, but still partisna nonsense. And don’t bother givng me the PC crap about how significant sexual harassment is. That isnt the debate. We all know its real and significant. And in this case it went to a judge and he dismissed it. So move on. Feel less patronized now?

  10. Suzanne

    M Allen, I regret that this thread has taken on a negative life of its own but I think that was going to become an inherent quality given the subject matter. While sexual harassment suits/claims are often hard to prove often being a proverbial or actual he said/she said situation, I don’t think this is why we should be concerned about this employee, Mr. Haselkamp. According to the article, it looks as though Mr. Haselkamp is a serial employee serving two to five years in any position then moving on. If I were someone hiring a very senior employee as he is in the City of Norwalk for a government position, I would want to know the why of such frequent changes. I am also concerned about his behavior in actual fact and recently reported: if he is the one negotiating health benefits for the unions on behalf of the Town, certainly his behavior has not exhibited exceptional skill in negotiation tactics. If he were there to secure the best, most efficacious deal for both sides on behalf of the taxpayers, he certainly wouldn’t be, 1. yelling, 2. pushing tables around, and 3. pointing his finger aggressively in the union representative’s face. I would say these behaviors do not meet the goals of not only the Town but the taxpayer because they will not lead to the best end result. I mean, when does the Town of Norwalk get excellent staff? I mean, the kind we can be proud of and say, “Hey look! There is the Director of Human Resources! He’s really good at what he does!” Right now, except for the Town Clerk who seems to have a sense of service and excellence, we are getting none of that. As a taxpayer, Mr. Hasekamp and his ilk? Enough. We deserve better.

  11. Norwalk Lifer

    My first reaction to your posting Mr. Allen is the wonderment of why it wasn’t in caps. You got my message, you ended your little missive with “juicy”, I didn’t take kindly to that, and will remind you you are posting in a public place.

    That being said, I can see full well why this behavior or rather this individual’s behavior, ironically with regards to the position he holds in City Hall is of no consequence to you. You are just as rude and arrogant, and that’s a fact.

    Now, you may find this kind of behavior acceptable, I do not. And if you want to call it partisan, you can do whatever the hell you please, it’s time to get rid of these people.

    We don’t need people like this in public service.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  12. LWitherspoon

    @Norwalk Lifer
    .
    It appears that you are the same Norwalk Lifer who posted on the Daily Voice that certain members of Harry Rilling’s Norwalk PD were rude to you and certain others engaged in racial profiling in an incident involving your nephew. You also posted that Harry Rilling himself reacted with indifference to your request to learn who the sex offenders were in your neighborhood. Elsewhere you posted you were glad Rilling is no longer Police Chief, in part because you felt the Norwalk PD’s approach to gun violence was a failure.
    .
    Now that same Harry Rilling is running for Mayor as a Democrat, and based on your comments, you support voting for Rilling’s ‘promotion’ to Norwalk’s highest elected office.
    .
    Would you be so kind as to explain what appears to be a 180-degree turn in your opinion of Harry Rilling? Could it be that you’re more interested in playing partisan political games than in doing the hard work of sorting out which candidate would best serve all of Norwalk’s taxpayers?

  13. M Allen

    @Suzanne – I agree. I think there are questionable issues that can be raised regarding his behavior here and elsewhere. Of course, not many people seem to be pointing out the fact that the person across the table called him a liar. I’m not sure that is entirely acceptable either. Now whether that rose to the occasion of his actions, I would say, no, probably not. Self control is something one would expect out of a city official. I haven’t seen how the table was moved so its it hard to comment. Did he intentionally shove the table? Move quickly to face the accuser and bump the table inadvertently? Different sides could possibly disagree on what happened based on their emotional perspective.

  14. Don’t Panic

    @LWitherspoon,

    Ther are two people posting under Norwalk Lifer, one with a space and one without. Noticed the difference a while ago.

  15. Suzanne

    M Allen, while I once again appreciate your perspective, whatever the circumstances in detail, I am inclined to go with the reported history of behavior and say, enough is enough. It’s not just that administratively he should have taken the “high road” no matter what the union rep said by ameliorating through words, calmly, with information, with humor even, anything but the physical reaction, even pointing his finger in anger and yelling is too much, but Mr. Haselkamp’s collective record indicts him for far too much poor behavior to qualify him as an excellent administrator for this City. And I want excellent. No more half measures, nepotism, the guy that knows a guy (although I have nothing against networking) and just because he knows that guy, he gets the job. No. I want the best candidates for the job interviewed thoroughly, apparently Moccia didn’t think it was necessary this time around, and I want good references. Didn’t you have to have that when you applied for your job? When I have either hired or been hired it was a requirement and I respected the organization more for it. I think the bar has been set far too low with his government – on BOTH sides, e.g., the DTC debacle, and the voters need to demand more of their government, elected and appointed officials. This is just another example of someone who just doesn’t measure up. I think it is disrespectful to us, the hard work that we do to be good citizens and the taxes that we pay, to expect anything less than excellent.

  16. Norwalk Lifer

    Dear L Witherspoon:

    Yes, I did post that, and since that time, I’ve seen other incidents where this administration has shown indifference.

    Is possible that Rilling would make a better mayor than Police Chief? yes it is.

    I read what was offered here in the form of a deposition, and I also weighed the comments of others. And what I see here is the rationalization of behavior for a person who holds a position of leadership in the most of ironic of all positions, human resources.

    You can’t possibly tell me that you find this person’s behavior acceptable, and to be frank, if you do, then would you say that the hard work of managing a city like Norwalk is in the best of hands?

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  17. Mr. Real

    This message is for Tim T and others that feel municipal workers are over paid union workers. I would like for to tell that to the officer that responds to the call of someone breaking in to home, to that firefighter rescuing your family while your house is on fire or that publics work worker fighting the snow, blizzard, or hurricane to make things safe for you and your family. While you are at home comfortable these guys are putting themselves in harms way whenever needed to protect and serve the city. While they have familys at home praying that make it home. So have some respect.

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