Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election
Mayoral candidate Grubb’s response on the topic of a City Hall fight given at the North West/Kaywin Block Watch meeting April 26 at the Church of the Manger.
In 2003, I received phone calls that a city employee who reported to me was taking bribes. I immediately went to the HR director and she called the assistant city solicitor into the meeting. I was told later that a criminal investigation was started.
The city was transitioning at that time from the Delgrosso administration to the Callahan administration, so the outgoing solicitor met with me, told me how he thought it should be pursued by the incoming administration, and outlined how he felt I should proceed. I don’t know if the person under investigation was aware of any of this, but I suspect he may have been, because my immediate supervisor, the DCED director, was his cousin.
When the new administration came in, I followed the advice I had been given. I felt that Bethlehem residents deserved to have something like this resolved because they deserved better; plus, it did not reflect well on city government.
The morning of the episode in question, I went up to the health bureau on an unrelated matter. When I arrived there the employee who was going to hit me in the face was seated in the reception area. He kept interfering with my interaction with the health bureau secretary, which did not involve him at all, and I finally told him to mind his own business.
At this point, that individual got up from his chair and came across the health bureau office, and got into my face/space. I sensed that he was going to get physical, and felt threatened. I reached out to move him out of my space by putting my hands on his shoulders and applying pressure. As I did that, he swung over my extended hands and arms as I was moving him back, and his fist connected with my nose.
I then grabbed him by the shoulders to hold onto him because he was swinging wildly, and even biting and scratching at me: I needed both to de-fuse the situation and defend myself. I ended up with scratch marks on my neck in addition to a fractured nose.
The entire encounter lasted about 15 seconds until a couple or three other co-workers pulled us apart. My right hand came off his left shoulder but he continued to attack getting within inches of biting me. I his left shoulder again, but a second or two later, the other workers had got my assailant under control.
I left the health bureau office and went back downstairs to my office to let my secretary know I was heading up to HR to report the incident, which I did.
It was at the advice of the HR director that I went to the hospital to be examined.
I never swung or hit my assailant, and he has admitted that to others.
Months before this occurred, I had reported a MC journalist to my superior because a number of us had noticed that he seemed to be under the influence of alcohol whenever he came to city hall: the odor of alcohol was easily detectable on him. I threatened to go Editor-in-Chief Susan Hunt if the matter wasn’t addressed. The MC was made aware of the situation, and it is entirely possible that my name became known to the reporter. He was later terminated by the MC after Councilwoman Jean Belinski complained to the paper about him misrepresenting her statements in his coverage of Council meetings. When my episode happened, he was still with the MC and wrote the articles about it, which were not only not factual, but sensationalized.
Edward J. Gallagher, Bethlehem immigrant, retired, nearly 50 years as Professor of American Literature at Lehigh University, known as "Dr. G" and "Conan the Grammarian" to students, whose virtual world avatar "EdwardScholarhands" stares at you here, has reinvented himself as the Bethlehem Gadfly.
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