My name is Amy Lowell, 1353 Lilac Street, Bloomington. I work in the secretarial pool at the Department of Human Resources for the City of Bloomington. I have worked for the city for almost five years as a secretary, and been workflow coordinator for the past two years. Before that, I worked as a secretary and a bookkeeper in my parents' family business, which is a paint and wallpaper store in Niles, Michigan. I moved to Bloomington with my husband, Robert, who had family and a small construction business in Bloomington. We met in Niles, when he was there on a construction job and he came into the store several times to buy paint.
The office of the Department of Human Resources is set up with three secretaries and a desk for student interns in the middle of a large common working area. We do secretarial and other miscellaneous work from our desks, and we answer questions from city employees who come to an information window and counter that adjoins the area in which we work. As the head secretary and workflow coordinator, I have the desk closest to the information counter. My job is to be the primary person who answers the telephone, deals with people requesting information forms, and resolve work distribution loads among the secretaries if they arise. The fact is that we are a small office and the three secretaries all get along well and communicate well with each other, so that I almost never have to resolve any disputes. People naturally share their work with each other.
Elinor Wylie is one of the other secretaries. She has been there longer than I have. The third secretarial slot has rotated among four different people while I have been there: Mary Robinson until the end of 1998, Marianne Moore in the first half of 1999, and Ed Cummings who has worked there since the middle of 1999. He's the first man that has worked here as a secretary. Also, a secretary named Phyllis McGinley had quit before I started. I got her job.
The head of the department is William Hunt who occupies the large office in the back left corner of the Human Resources Department. Next to him is the insurance benefits office, occupied by Louis Untermeyer, and next to him is the employment office, occupied by Dottie Parker. The secretarial pool does secretarial and data processing work for the three of them. I would describe them all as being relatively good people to work for. In general, they treat us with respect, and give us a fair amount of autonomy to do our jobs as we see fit. Indeed, Mr. Hunt has nominated me two years in a row for the city's secretary of the year award. This year, I finished second and won a free executive parking pass for a year.
I worked for Mr. Hunt for the four years that I have been in this office until he resigned in December 1999. I know him reasonably well, although I would not say we are friends. Mr. Hunt always socialized with more important officials in city government. However, he made a good effort to maintain good relations with his staff. We went out to lunch together approximately once a week. Once in awhile we would go out for drinks to celebrate somebody's birthday.
In my observation, Mr. Hunt has always acted professionally with the staff, especially the female staff. I have never seen him do anything inappropriate. There has been some gossip over the last few years about Mr. Hunt flirting with the younger female secretaries and staff. Some of that gossip has contained innuendo that he has made sexual advances. However, I know of no facts to back up any of these allegations. I worked side-by-side with Elinor Wylie and Mary Robinson, and none of them ever complained to me about Mr. Hunt, nor did I ever witness anything inappropriate between him and them. In my opinion, Mr. Hunt is not the kind of man who would make sexual advances on a secretary or female staff person in his department.
Marianne Moore came to work in January 1999, taking Mary Robinson's place. I do not know the reasons why Mary quit. Marianne struck me as being bright and a nice person, although a bit inexperienced in secretarial work. She had a fair amount of trouble mastering WordPerfect for Windows and our data processing system. She admitted to me at one point when she was having trouble that she had exaggerated her competence on word processing and computer skills because she really needed the job. Overall, however, I would call her a competent secretary, and she was in the process of learning the computer skills that she lacked.
In her first month of work, Marianne generally was included in and participated in our weekly lunches and other social functions of the department. She seemed a bit nervous at times, but generally fit in well, and was pleasant company. She got off to a rocky start in the office when she broke her leg or had some kind of leg injury -- I cannot remember what kind. I know that during her first month there she missed substantial amounts of work time for medical reasons. There were a couple of occasions during January where Mr. Hunt would come out of his office and look for Marianne, not see her, and ask whether anyone knew where she was. Marianne had always informed me when she was not going to be at work so I would tell him. I would describe him as looking irritated when Marianne was not there. I don't know the reason why he was looking for her specifically, because I remember on those occasions that he did not simply give work to me or Elinor, but he walked off muttering to himself.
Shortly after she had begun to work there, Marianne started taking several computer skills improvement courses. I don't know where she was taking them, but sometimes she would be gone from work for an afternoon for that reason. Again, she always cleared it with me, and told me that if the work was backing up she could always skip the training sessions. Every time I told her, no, it was fine for her to go to the training sessions -- that I thought that would be better for her.
In early 1999 we advertised for the position of Assistant Director of Human Resources. This was a new position authorized by the City budget for 1999. The fact that we were hiring someone for this job was common knowledge and we all talked about it. I never actually saw the job description, but the job was clearly one for a person who had prior personnel, insurance or other human resources experience. I think that Mr. Hunt knew that he was getting ready to leave as Director, and wanted to train someone to take his place. This was not the kind of job that one of the secretaries could move up to, because it involved a different set of administrative skills. Mr. Hunt never said anything directly to me nor to the secretarial pool in general about our eligibility for this position.
During March I had sensed that Marianne Moore was unhappy with her job. I know that Mr. Hunt gave her a bad review in March on her two-month review, so I assumed her unhappiness with the job was related to that evaluation. Marianne never said anything to me, nor did she give any outward indication, that she was having any personal problem with Mr. Hunt.
I don't know anything about the incident in the hotel room in Indianapolis other than what I read in the Bloomington Choice. I remember the article in the paper reporting that Mr. Hunt had grabbed her and kissed her and had propositioned her, and that she had complained to the City, but that no one was doing anything about it, but I have no other knowledge of any of those events. I do know that Marianne was fired almost immediately after the story came out.
I vividly recall the day after the story came out. Nothing exciting like this had happened before. The office was all abuzz about the newspaper story. Everybody was avoiding talking
to Marianne like she had a disease or something. We were talking among ourselves and wondering what would happen. I specifically recall Deputy Mayor James Riley storming into the office, going into Hunt's office and slamming the door behind him. I heard them talking very loudly and occasionally yelling at each other. I went over to the copying machine, which is near his office door, and pretended to do some copying so that I could listen to what was going on. I didn't hear all of it, but they were definitely talking about whether Marianne should be fired. I do not remember specific details, but I definitely heard the word "fired" a couple of times. I heard Marianne's name mentioned a couple of times and I heard newspapers and publicity mentioned. It was hard to hear through the door. I also heard them referring to Mayor Sara Teasdale. Then the door opened and Riley went walking rapidly out of it. As he did so I heard him say was "The Mayor herself." When he said this he was pointing his finger at Mr. Hunt. Within 24 hours, Marianne Moore had been fired. She was crying when she left, but I did not talk to her, and I do not know what they told her.
Following Marianne's firing, there was a lot of gossip in the office about her and Mr. Hunt. However, the gossip was inconsistent and provided no details, and got sillier and sillier, so I stopped paying attention to it.