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Pa. city councilman reprimanded for calling friend ‘gay’ in citywide email alert

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A city council member in Washington, Pa., has been reprimanded for calling a friend gay in an email to test a citywide transit alert system.

Matt Staniszewski

The email, sent by councilman Matt Staniszewski read, “Alert: This is an (sic) test. Brian is gay.”

At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Brenda Davis said the email was unprofessional and reflected poorly on the city, according to the Observer-Reporter.

“This is inappropriate for the city of Washington,” she said, noting an individual who had signed up to receive such alerts was offended and contacted the city.

During the meeting Staniszeweski reportedly said the comment referred to a college friend, and said it would be wrong to assume he was attaching an insulting connotation to the word.

“We all know that the word means happy,” he said.

“It’s offensive and unprofessional for the Mayor to assume one definition of the word when there are multiple definitions,” Staniszeweski said, in a statement.

The incident has also brought to light Staniszewski’s position on the board of directors for nTouch Inc. — the company contracted to provide the city’s transit authority with IT services.

Davis said she was not aware of his involvement in with inTouch, and Staniszewski’s stake in the company’s financial success is worth looking into.

She said she was unaware he had access to the website.

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9 more reader comments:

  1. Douche bag

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:19am
  2. Reprimanded????

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:20am
  3. Should lose his job

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:21am
  4. The issue not mentioned is that he had no authority to use that emergency email system. He broke in. He also has 2 previous DUIs while in his position. He needs to go.

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:21am
  5. It’s his fault to begin with.

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:22am
  6. I can’t believe he’s trying to weasel his way out of this and try to turn the tables. What an ass!

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:25am
  7. Anyone who is still offended by being called gay is living in the 18th Century and shouldn’t be in public service.

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:38am
  8. This case seems to be giving me the message that, being gay is something that should continue to be something to be actively ostracized and that one should remain actively, detached from all of this, at all costs. He may have meant to have said this thing in jest, but, he should also know about his particular chosen words, the ones that are currently being used in some particularly touchy, political situations, that this was not acceptable. Sure, there were many other choices available but, instead, he chose, unfortunately, to zero in on this one, specifically, due to its overall, negative effect, on the community.

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:50am
  9. Michael, it’s offensive to be called gay if the term is being used in a derogatory way to mean something other than being attracted to the same sex. Being gay isn’t an offensive thing at all, but having someone use the word to mean stupid or anything else is.

    Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:57am