ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city’s Parks and Recreation Department will suspend a mechanic for three to five days without pay following allegations that he put a co-worker in a choke hold.
Terry Williams, 43, is to serve a five-day suspension, but the city will reduce it by two days if he goes to counseling to ensure “he understands the mistake that he made,” said Barbara Baca, Albuquerque’s director of parks and recreation.
Williams contends the incident was merely horseplay — a bear hug not intended to be hurtful — and a witness offered a similar opinion, Baca said.
Baca said she is also launching department-wide training on “non-violent communication and conflict resolution.” Employees, she said, should feel comfortable reporting inappropriate behavior, a response to criticism outlined in a recent inspector general’s report.
The IG report said the city had failed to provide “responsible supervision” of a worker accused of putting someone else in a choke hold. The report didn’t identify Williams by name, but his identify was disclosed in a police report on the matter.
Inspector General Neftali Carrasquillo Jr. concluded that the employee, Williams, inappropriately walked up behind one of his colleagues in October and put his arms around him for several seconds.
Carrasquillo said in the report that Williams had “acted inappropriately, both verbally and physically, on at least four prior occasions, some of which had been reported to management.”
He added that “there has been a lack of responsible supervision of this employee and the OIG found minimal action taken, most of which was undocumented.”
Baca said past allegations against Williams couldn’t be substantiated.
You can find my earlier story on the IG report here.