STATEMENT OF ELINOR WYLIE
My name is Elinor Wylie, Box 154, Route 3, Bloomington. I am a secretary in the Department of Human Resources. I have worked here since 1990, and I like
my job. There is a lot of variation in the work. You work for several different people and you deal with the public all day long. It is part of my job to answer
inquiries from other city employees and staff and from the general public with questions about benefits and job openings, and things like that. They come to an
information window just inside the door of the department. There are three secretaries who sit at tables in the center of an open work area behind that
information counter, and whoever is free will go to the counter to see if they can help the person get the right forms, or talk to the right person. Often, we can
answer their questions about the various things that human resources does ourselves. In addition we do word processing and data processing. We also
sometimes have to sit in on city government meetings and take notes. The job also pays well and has good benefits and good job security. I have been here ten
years now and I am earning just over $27,000 a year. That's excellent money for a secretary in this town. In addition I have retirement and health benefits. As
far as I can tell, once you have been at the job for about a year, you have a sort of tenure here. I've never heard of any secretary who gets past her probationary
period being fired.
I was working when Marianne Moore was hired in January 1999. We became friends. I got to know her pretty well and I think she got a bad deal here. She told me several times during January and February that Mr. Hunt was making advances towards her. I don't remember any specific date or conversation, but I remember that she mentioned it several times. I suggested to her that if it continued, she should go see Deputy Mayor Riley, who was in charge of sexual harassment issues. I knew that because this was not the first time this had happened in our department. I am pretty sure that the reason that the two previous secretaries quit that job
was to avoid Mr. Hunt. When he took over this office in 1994, I already worked here. However, since he has been in charge of hiring, up until this incident, he had only hired young, attractive women for the secretarial positions that have been open. It has always appeared to me that he has flirted with them and made veiled sexual jokes. It was only after Marianne Moore sued him that he hired a male secretary.
There are two secretaries I remember in particular who previously worked here but quit because of Mr. Hunt. Mary Robinson quit in December 1998, just before Marianne was hired. She told me on several occasions, although I cannot remember specific dates and times, that Mr. Hunt had propositioned her and made sexual advances. She finally quit because Mr. Hunt had gotten drunk at the office Christmas Party, grabbed her, and tried to kiss her. She told me this the day after the Christmas party and told me she was quitting, that she just couldn't take anymore. I could tell that she was mad and upset. She said she was going to complain to the E.E.O.C. because she had previously gone to see Mr. Riley to make a sexual harassment complaint, but the problem had not stopped. About in October, 1998, Mary had asked me if I knew anything about sexual harassment policies or who she should go see. I told her I would ask around. That's how I found out that it was Mr. Riley that you were supposed to see. I've been here ten years, and as far as I know, there has never been any kind of official instructions or policy anywhere that said who you were supposed to go see. I had to ask around.
The other secretary was named Phyllis McGinley. She was secretary here from approximately 1993 to 1996. She was a real earthy sort of girl, with a great sense of humor. She was the kind of person who if you gave her grief would just give it right back. I recall many times when Mr. Hunt would come by her desk and jokingly say things like "So we goin' to a hotel this weekend?" and she would always come back with something like "in your dreams maybe." She did not seem to get offended by it, and I thought that there was some sort of flirting going back and forth both ways. However, I knew that Phyllis was married and she was faithful to her husband and that for her it was just joking, that she was not interested in Mr. Hunt. I know this because she told me several times that she thought Mr. Hunt was a pig and that she didn't like him bothering her all the time and making all of these sexual advances and sexual jokes all the time. Secretaries naturally tend to stick together and talk together and become friends, so there were things that Phyllis told me that she probably didn't tell anyone else about concerning what Mr. Hunt said to her. Phyllis said that she quit to get a better job. She moved to the Finance Department and took a job as an accounts manager. I know that that involved a raise. However, I know her well enough to know that one of the reasons that she was looking for a new job was because she resented Mr. Hunt's advances and was afraid that they might increase.
Mr. Hunt has never been anything but professional in his interactions with me personally. I do a substantial portion of his secretarial work and he has always treated me with respect. He has never done any sexual joking or made any sexual advances towards me. However, I am considerably older than the young secretaries that he has hired.
Marianne Moore seemed to me to be young and inexperienced as a secretary, but otherwise competent on the job. She was smart and was learning the computer skills necessary for the job rapidly. At my suggestion, she enrolled in several additional computer courses. I am aware that one of the reasons they said that they fired her was for absenteeism. Personally, I never noticed excessive absences. She was gone several times for a couple of days because of illness. She missed some work when we had that really bad snow storm the first week of spring, 1999. We all missed at least one day. Also, she took time off from work for training courses. However, we have always been told that training courses approved by the City are legitimate reasons to take off work as long as there are other secretaries to handle your work while you are gone. It never imposed a burden on the office to have her out a couple hours a day every once in awhile, taking a course. When Mr. Hunt first started making advances to Marianne, I warned her that he had done this with previous secretaries, and she should keep her distance. I think she listened to what I had to say, because she stopped going out to lunch when Mr. Hunt was along.
The office had a practice of at least once a week getting us all together to go out to lunch, which was started by Mr. Hunt. I know that he invited Marianne to go with us on those occasions. He also invited the rest of us. Sometimes everyone would go and sometimes only a few people would go. In the time that I was there, I was never asked to be part of a group going out for drinks after work, as far as I can recall.
I recall when the new assistant director was hired in April 1999. Mr. Hunt never asked me if I wanted to apply for that job. No memo came around to secretaries as far as I can recall. I do remember the job being posted, and it clearly called for prior experience working in administration and personnel issues dealing in human resources. My desk was next to Marianne's, and I certainly never heard any conversations between Mr. Hunt and her about her applying for that job.
In March, 1999, I got a phone call from Marianne one Monday morning saying that she was not going to be in to work for a couple of days and that I had to cover for her. That was when she told me over the telephone about what had happened at the Radisson Hotel. She said that Mr. Hunt had come to her room at night, had forced his way in, had grabbed her and kissed her, and tried to fondle her. She said she was extremely upset, and didn't know what to do about it. I told her she should go and file a sexual harassment complaint with Mr. Riley. I told her I would check to make sure that was still the proper procedure. I told her that I was there to talk to her if she needed anybody to talk to. She said no, that nothing had happened. She said Mr. Hunt had been drunk at the time and would probably be too embarrassed to admit it the next day. I told her that he had done this sort of thing before. She told me she wasn't sure she wanted to make a big deal about it. I told her that if she decided she did want to press the issue, that I was in her corner all the way.
Marianne did return to work after a couple of days. Apparently the first thing that happened was that Hunt gave her a really bad performance review, calling her incompetent, hostile and not very good at her job. That was ridiculous, she was a perfectly good secretary, just as good as any of the other young secretaries he had hired over the last few years. When she got that evaluation, she started crying. That's when I told her that she had to go and file a sexual harassment complaint because now her job was threatened. She agreed to do this and she went to see Deputy Mayor Riley.
After that, I'm not sure exactly what happened. Apparently nothing happened. I would ask her every once in awhile what was happening on her complaint and she kept saying she hadn't heard anything. The next thing that I knew was that somebody came into the office with a newspaper story in a paper called the Bloomington Choice, which I don't usually read. It said that Mr. Hunt had been sexually harassing her, giving the details of the incident at the hotel room. It reported that he had done this sort of thing before. And it contained a statement by someone from the City essentially admitting that the City wasn't doing anything about it. Shortly after that, Riley came storming into the office, slamming the door when he went into Hunt's office. I could hear the two of them yelling. I am sure they were talking about the article because I heard words I could make out. I heard them refer to "Marianne" and "Moore" and I definitely heard somebody use the word "Bitch" more than once. Almost immediately thereafter Mr. Hunt fired her.
That's all I know about this incident. My husband became ill shortly after that and I took a one-month family medical leave. During that time, I would have missed any of the gossip about what was happening. When I got back to work in June, as far as I can recall I never heard anyone mention Marianne again. Things had definitely changed in the office, however. It was like everyone was on edge. As far as I know we never went out to lunch as a group after that.
I live on a farm about 7 miles west of Bloomington. I was born in 1945. I graduated from high school in 1963. I attended the Bloomington city schools. I wouldn't say that I was a very good student. Following my graduation from high school I took a secretarial course at Ivy Technical College. I have worked on and off as a secretary ever since.
My first job was at the University Library. I was one of several secretaries in the main administrative office. I worked there until 1966. I got married in 1966 and moved with my husband to Chicago. He started a restaurant supply business and I helped him do secretarial and bookkeeping work but did not work regularly until we divorced in 1990. I moved back to Bloomington then and got the job as a secretary at the Department of Human Resources of the City of Bloomington and I have worked there ever since. I remarried in 1992 and have been happily married ever since.