Gardner: ‘This may be getting deeper...’

Gardner: ‘This may be getting deeper...’

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Among those ready to read a secret report that Watertown has been ordered to make public - the city employee who filed the initial complaint.

Erin Gardner told us in May that she was only allowed to read a few pages of the report, not all of it.

The report was done by a company the city hired to investigate Gardner’s claim that former city manager Rick Finn created a “hostile work environment” directed at Gardner, who is the city’s Parks and Recreation superintendent.

In January, the Watertown city council determined Finn’s actions weren’t hostile, yet Finn resigned anyway.

In state Supreme Court Justice James McClusky’s decision, released Monday after 7 News sued the city to get the report, the judge ruled the report must be made public.

“I think it’s important for the taxpayers to know what the truth is,” Gardner said Tuesday. “It’s my reputation, so I feel vindicated.

“I have been telling the truth the whole time and I hope the release of this report will back up what I have been saying.”

Gardner says the report may not just be damning to the former city manager.

“When this report comes public, this may be getting deeper than just the city manager,” she said. “And hopefully what arises from this is policy change, a better environment for employees and in turn the city taxpayer will be getting a better product.”

City council is expected to discuss whether to release the report or appeal the judge’s decision during a closed door meeting next Monday.

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