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

Thursday, March 7, 2013
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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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