(Updated 3:10 p.m. Nov. 5 with additional information.)
NORWALK, Conn. – A Norwalk employee has filed an affirmative action complaint against the city, a reliable source said.
Torre is of Hispanic descent, the source said. His complaint alleges that he is being discriminated against because he is Hispanic, the source said.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr confirmed that a complaint has been filed by acting Department of Public Works Superintendent of Operations Chris Torre. The city responded Oct. 28 to an Oct. 21 Freedom on Information Act request to see the documents in the case. FOIA requires the city to respond within four business days.“I just wanted to update you on the status of your FOI request,” Spahr wrote. “I put in an inquiry to Chris Torre to see if he objects to the release of a copy of his claim to you. His auto-reply indicates that he is out until Wednesday of this week. I will let you know what his response is. ….”
Tuesday, Nov. 5, Spahr forwarded a letter from Mr. Torre dated Nov. 1 in which Torre said he wished for the details of his filing to remain confidential until a resolution is reached.
“I do not think that all claims may be public,” Spahr wrote on the 29th. “I believe that some claims may contain sensitive or confidential material that the claimant might not want publicized. For example, if you were to file a claim against the city alleging that you were discriminated against as the result of a personal and confidential medical, psychiatric or emotional condition or disability, I would imagine that you might not want to have this information made public.”
FOIA provides for requesting the permission of the employee if a request for information concerning them is made, he said.
Torre has applied for the permanent job of superintendent of operations, DPW director Hal Alvord said. He is “absolutely” qualified, Alvord said.
“We have been without a superintendent since October of last year,” Alvord said. “We split the responsibilities up amongst several people until we could fill that position so he’s picked up a good chunk of the superintendent’s responsibilities. Another part of the responsibilities were picked up by Ralph Kolb. So they’ve been sharing some of those responsibilities to get a variety of the work done last year.”
The job pays between $103,297 and $122,073 a year, according to the city’s website. Alvord said he had no idea how many applicants there are.
“I don’t control that process. The advertising and all of that is done by the personnel department. I have two key vacant positions right now, superintendent of operations and waste programs manager. We’ve struggled to get stuff done.”
The personnel department is led by James Haselkamp. Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) said many city workers have complaints about Haselkamp.
Alvord could not answer questions about a complaint.
“I’m not involved in that,” he said.
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