To the Editor,

At the last City Council meeting Jane Cook, Co-Director of the ambulance department, read a statement regarding a disturbing meeting she had with Councilman Jim Haberer. In her statement to the City Council last week, Jane said Jim asked for her resignation as a director or she could possibly be terminated. She also contended he told her she could possibly lose her pension and attorneys may be involved. Coming from a city of Henning superior, this was extremely threatening to Jane.

Jane questioned why that would be and what she had done to justify the threat. According to her statement to the council last week, Jane said Jim mentioned several topics all of which she had reasonable answers for from her perspective as Director with more knowledge than he had about these accusations. Jane soon understood that this was not a fact finding mission or any offer to be of help, so she sought to end the meeting.

Jane called me, Reggie Thiel, and ask to meet which we did soon after the meeting with Jim. My wife joined us and Jane told us what happened. I was quite angered at what must be a certain breach of protocol; the threats to her position; and the potential loss of her pension earned from 22 years on the ambulance team. She questioned if she was going to need an attorney.

The next two weeks were emotionally charged for Jane and her husband  Kevin, living with unfounded charges for two weeks until the next City Council meeting where she could tell of her experience. Determined, with courage and a refusal to be a victim by suffering in silence, Jane presented a statement about what happened to the City Council.

Following, Councilman Haberer initially denied he met with Jane but then said it was only as a friend. He then denied Jane’s allegation that he told Jane she needed to resign or face termination; that attorneys could be involved, and that she faced possible loss of pension. These four threats are the very and the only reasons Jane brought this before the Council.

I am angered at the brief consideration the council members gave this serious issue regarding the conduct of a fellow council member. I’m further angered that a motion by Councilman Wes Johnson to investigate this conduct further could not get a second by the other members. 

This dismissive treatment by a credible and devoted Department Head is not going to be so easily swept under the rug. I trust the community at large will not allow this to stand. It needs to be fully investigated and a reasoned conclusion made.

If this meeting had just been about some concerns then that is to believe Jane was so offended that in a matter of a few hours she concocted a scheme of lies about what Councilman Haberer said. Instead, Jane immediately documented what was said and she told a couple trusted friends who would believe her and offer some needed emotional support. 

I am calling for the Mayor and the Council to convene and conduct a full investigation to arrive at the reasoned truth. That should include possible motivation for Jane to be removed and if there were others of like mind involved behind the scenes. I am also encouraging the public at large to read Jane’s statement and contact the Mayor and Council members. A copy of Co-Director Jane’s statement that was written from her documentation is a matter of public record and is available at the city office. 

Reggie Thiel,