A Hatch Action violation has been filed against Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, being accused of using female City Hall workers “as political props” in Women’s History Month posts with accompanying photos taken during the course of the work day.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The violation was filed after an anonymous letter, signed by the Female Workers of the City of Bayonne, was sent to the mayor, city council, law director, business administrator, and director of human resources complaining about Davis’ Women’s History Month posts on his “politician” Facebook page.
“Mayor Davis has taken and posted photos of various female workers on his personal political social media pages. The photos are only of female employees and were taken during the course of the workday in city hall and in other city buildings,” the letter says.
“Female workers are intimated and unable to refuse the request for fear of reprisals. City workers, male and female, are being forced to voice their political support for the mayor. The photos of the female workers are being used to promote the mayor’s political agenda.”
The caption on the accompanying photo above provides an example of the mayor’s posts, which were switched to the City of Bayonne page on Friday, throughout the month.
“In honor of Women’s History Month, each day we are featuring the amazing women that make Bayonne great,” he wrote.
“Today, we honor the awesome ladies who serve as Firefighters in the Bayonne Fire Department. (Pictured are; FF Shannon Hester, FF Olivia Whitney, and FF Maria Guzman. Not pictured is Captain Cailen Brodel). Thank you for making us #BayonneStrong!
While the posts appear to be well-intention at a glance, 3rd Ward council candidate Maria Valado, also the board of education president, argues otherwise.
“Once again Mayor Davis takes advantage of female employees for his own gain, the purpose of Women’s History Month is to honor women and not use them as political props,” she said.
Council President Sharon-Ashe Nadrowski, Davis’ main competition in the May 10th municipal elections, also unloaded on the mayor.
“The residents of Bayonne deserve a Mayor who is always going to prioritize working to solve the important issues in our city like improving our trash collection services, parking concerns, affordability, and crime,” she said.
“Not focused on photo opps that raise his political profile with political outsiders at the expense of our city employee’s.”
In response, Davis spokesman called the attack “a ridiculous stunt” since the Hatch Act applies to federal employees and defended the Women’s History Month posts.
“This ridiculous stunt by the failing Nadrowski campaign shows how incompetent they really are by citing a federal statute that does not even apply to municipal employees,” he said.
“Mayor Davis is proud of the fact that he has hired and promoted women to numerous key positions in City Hall and will not apologize for celebrating their many excellent contributions to the community during Women’s History Month. Nadrowski should spend less time making up fake issues and come clean about what big developers are bankrolling her dark money campaign.”
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Hatch Act applies to a number of entities who receive federal funding.
“The following list offers examples of the types of programs that frequently receive financial assistance from the federal government: public health, public welfare, housing, urban renewal and area redevelopment, employment security, labor and industry training, public works, conservation, agricultural, civil defense, transportation, anti-poverty, and law enforcement programs,” their website says.
“Hatch Act provisions also may apply to employees of private, nonprofit organizations that receive federal Head Start or Community Service Block Grant funds.”
Earlier today, the Davis campaign hit Ashe-Nadrowski over another super PAC aiding her in the race.