Tags: councilmans | gay | message | draws | flak

Councilman's 'Gay' Test Message on City Alert System Draws Flak

By Alexandra Ward   |   Thursday, 07 Mar 2013 01:46 PM

A city councilman claims he didn’t know the citywide emergency alert system was live when he used it Monday to send out a test email calling his friend "gay."

"Alert: This is a test. Bryan is gay," read the email, sent out by Councilman Matt Staniszewski of Washington, Penn. The message went out to all city residents who had signed up to receive the alerts, and one of them contacted city officials to say they were offended.

Mayor Brenda Davis confronted Staniszewski at Monday night's council meeting, calling his conduct "completely inappropriate and unprofessional coming from an elected official." Staniszewski reportedly tried to excuse his use of the word "gay" by telling his fellow council members "we all know that the word means happy."

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"His response was that he sent it out and it wasn't him saying Bryan is gay. He said gay means happy," Davis told WPXI. "Maybe in the 1950s that's what it meant, but we are in a new era now and that doesn't represent the City of Washington."

Staniszewski stood by his excuse in a statement he released about the incident: "It's offensive and unprofessional for the mayor to automatically assume one definition of the word when there are multiple definitions."

The bizarre story got national attention on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Tuesday. "Nice try," the TV host said of Staniszewski's defense, adding that it would have been great "if you're in fourth grade."

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Davis also grilled Staniszewski Monday about bids for eight storm water inlet replacement projects that he reportedly priced out without running it by the council or the mayor. The councilman's position on the board of directors for nTouch Inc. — the company contracted to provide the city's transit authority with IT services — is also being questioned.

Related stories:

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Gay and Pedophilia Issues to be Reconciled by Boy Scouts

Obama Urges Court to Overturn Gay Marriage Ban

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Sending out a test email on the citywide emergency alert system that called his friend "gay" wasn't such a good idea for a city councilman who didn't know the system was alive.

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