Tag Archives: supervisor

College shooting possible hate crime, victim was gay

A former community college student dismissed from a work-study program for too many absences is accused of fatally shooting his former supervisor, who was gay, and police are investigating the campus slaying as a possible hate crime.

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III, 20, was arrested without incident early on April 14 while sleeping on a Florida beach, about 500 miles from Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Stancil made his first court appearance later in the day, saying in a profanity-laced and unsubstantiated tirade that the man he killed had molested a relative.

Police say Stancil shot 44-year-old Ron Lane on April 13 at the college. Lane, the school’s print shop director, had been Stancil’s supervisor in a work-study program before Stancil was let go in early March. It wasn’t clear how long they had worked together.

Police have not released a motive in the shooting. Stancil’s mother told The Associated Press that Lane “was verbally inappropriate with Morgan at school. Very much verbally inappropriate. He would tell him to stop and he kept on.”

College spokeswoman Tara Humphries said she did not know whether any complaints had been lodged against Lane. Classes were canceled on April 13, but the school re-opened on April 14.

“It’s a day of healing. We will be paying personal tributes to Ron Lane,” Humphries said.

Experts who track hate groups said Stancil’s facial tattoo with the number “88” is a clear indication of a neo-Nazi — a group that has been accused of attacking gays. However, police have not said whether Stancil held white supremacist beliefs or what hate crime they are investigating.

Stancil’s mother said he gave himself the facial tattoo over the weekend and it marked a wannabe rather than someone who expressed neo-Nazi views.

Stancil entered the print shop on the third-floor of a campus building and fired once with a pistol-grip shotgun, police said. The shooting sparked a campus-wide lockdown and officers stormed the building looking for Stancil, who fled on a motorcycle.

“Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan,” Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said.

He left behind a six-page letter explaining his actions and a video, which have been turned over to police, his mother said.

Police found the motorcycle abandoned in a median on Interstate 95, about 80 miles south of Goldsboro. They are not sure how he got to Florida.

The manhunt lasted for nearly a day, ending with Stancil’s arrest in Daytona Beach. He had a knife on him but was apprehended without incident. Police have not found the 12-gauge shotgun they believe was used to kill Lane.

A booking photo from Florida showed Stancil with the number “88” on his left cheek, a number used by racist extremists, said Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor and director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. Because “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, 88 equates to HH or “Heil Hitler,” Levin said.

“Those who get facial tattoos tend to be the uppermost, anti-social part of the scale,” Levin said.

Goldsboro police and the Wayne County district attorney’s office will work to have Stancil extradited to North Carolina to face a murder charge.

Stancil had no criminal record before the shooting. He was on the school’s dean’s list with a grade point average of 3.6 or better and due to graduate in July with a degree in welding technology, the school said.

Brent Hood, coordinator of education support technology at the college, was Lane’s supervisor for the past three years. He said he thought Stancil killed Lane because he was upset over being dismissed, not because he was gay.

“I guess from my point of view, he (Stancil) was angry over getting dismissed from his duties,” Hood told The Associated Press. “He worked very well with Ron; he worked very well with my other employees.”

Milwaukee, Dane county boards to consider minimum-wage resolutions

The morning of June 26, the Milwaukee County Board will consider Supervisor Khalif Rainey’s resolution to place a minimum wage referendum on the November ballot.

If adopted, the resolution would place a referendum on the ballot for all Milwaukee County voters asking whether the state minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 per hour.

Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Supervisors Gerry Broderick and Willie Johnson Jr. have co-sponsored Rainey’s resolution, which passed the Judiciary, Safety, and General Services committee on a 5-1 vote.

Wisconsin’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum.

On a 40 hour a week schedule, that means $15,080 per year, or $290 per week. That’s below the federal poverty line for a single parent with a child.

Twenty-two other states have higher minimum wage levels. Massachusetts passed legislation last week setting its state minimum wage to $11 per hour, while Connecticut and Maryland set $10.10 minimum wage levels in the past month. In the Midwest, Michigan and Minnesota have set higher minimum wage levels and Illinois is expected to follow.

Earlier this week, Raise Wisconsin activists submitted signatures to qualify similar referenda in the cities of Neenah and Menasha.

Previously, Eau Claire and Kenosha counties placed similar referenda on the November ballot.

On June 26 in Madison, the Dane County Board is expected to vote on a resolution to place the Raise Wisconsin referendum on that county’s fall ballot. More counties are expected to follow, according to a news release from Raise Wisconsin, which has two press conferences scheduled for June 25.

Court restores verdict in case involving harassed ironworker

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has restored a jury’s verdict that a construction company illegally subjected an ironworker to severe and pervasive harassment based on gender stereotypes.

The ruling came in regards to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity complaint filed against Boh Bros. construction company on behalf of ironworker Kerry Woods.

The EEOC’s complaint said BB superintendent Chuck Wolfe verbally harassed Woods, exposed himself to the employee and made taunting gestures of a sexual nature.

The harassment, according to the complaint, took place during work on the I-10 Twin Span project over Lake Pontchartrain between Slidell and New Orleans in Louisiana.

At the trial, the EEOC presented evidence that Wolfe harassed Woods because he thought he was feminine and did not conform to the supervisor’s gender stereotypes of a typical “rough ironworker.”

A jury ruled in favor of Woods and the EEOC, but a three-judge panel of the circuit court of appeals reversed the verdict, finding that Woods was not harassed because of sex.

The EEOC asked for a review by the full appeals court, which vacated the panel’s decision and reinstated the jury’s verdict.

“We are gratified that the Fifth Circuit recognized ‘the good common sense of the American people,’ as the court put it, and reinstated the jury verdict,” said EEOC general counsel David Lopez in a news release. “We agree with the Fifth Circuit that ‘few institutions are as venerable as that of trial by jury.’”

The majority on the court held, in a first for the circuit, that harassment is “because of sex” if it is based on lack of conformity with gender stereotypes.

The Fifth Circuit also held that the issue is whether the harasser considered the victim to deviate from gender stereotypes, and not whether the victim fails in fact to conform to those stereotypes.

So, the court ruled, what mattered was how Wolfe saw Woods.

“This is a very significant outcome to employees who work in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, which is the region covered by the Fifth Circuit,” said Jim Sacher, EEOC’s regional attorney for the Houston District, which oversaw the case. “It makes unquestionably clear to all employers that if they harass an employee because of gender stereotypes, they are breaking the law.”

The case now goes back to the district court level, where damage amounts must be set. 

The construction company is based in New Orleans and employs more than 1,500 people. After Hurricane Katrina struck the area in 2005, the company worked on many publicly funded rebuilding and expansion projects, according to the EEOC. 

Candidates square off in 4th District

Bill Buresh wants to reduce county board

Bill Buresh describes himself as a “Chris Abele Democrat” — meaning, he explains, that he’s fiscally conservative and socially progressive.

He may have coined a new phrase.

An openly gay Bay View businessman, Buresh, 38, is challenging LGBT ally Marina Dimitrijevic to represent the Fourth District on the Milwaukee County Board. The race appears on the April 3 ballot in a district that includes the heavily gay Bay View neighborhood as well as the city of Milwaukee’s near South Side, which has a sizable Latino population.

Buresh knows that he’s ruffled some feathers in the LGBT community by taking on a county supervisor who’s acted as a leader in promoting equality on the county board.

“I’m not running on the gay ticket,” he responds. “I’m not asking for gay support. I’m not doing it because I’m gay. I’m doing it because I want to do right by the people in District Four.”

But Buresh, who’s been with partner Erich Krueger for 15 years, attended a recent candidate-training seminar sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in Tampa, Fla. Victory Fund donates to LGBT candidates nationwide and helps them develop the political skills to mount successful campaigns.

Buresh has positioned himself as the conservative in the race. He’s running because he believes the county’s debt level has grown out of control and he wants to downsize the board, he says. Dimitrijevic’s opposition to reducing the board prompted him to enter the race, he says.

The board voted in April 2011 to eliminate only one of its 19 seats, rejecting calls for deeper reductions from conservatives as well as The Greater Milwaukee Committee, a group of business and civic leaders who studied the issue. That group called for cutting the board to as few as seven members.

Progressive board members, including Dimitrijevic, said such a reduction would have diluted minority representation. Instead the board dropped only one seat but adopted a plan that added a second Latino-majority district. 

Buresh also criticized Dimitrijevic and other progressives on the board for adding $5.8 million in expenditures to the balanced budget submitted by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. The increase adopted by the board is being paid for by a slight increase in the county portion of annual property taxes. For a home assessed at $150,000, the increase amounts to an estimated $3.84.

Buresh and other fiscal conservatives maintain that the county and city duplicate services, resulting in a waste of taxpayer dollars. “We need to find efficiencies,” Buresh says. “That’s what big companies are doing and that’s what governments need to do. … Many people have lost their jobs and have had to live within their budgets, and I think that county government has to do the same.”

He’s also critical of the way that the board prioritizes its spending, saying that more money should be put into addressing deferred maintenance on the park system, for instance.

Buresh says his professional background embodies the kind of experience that’s needed to guide the board toward a more business-like demeanor.

A former agent for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Buresh was No. 1 for new agents in Wisconsin during his first year and No. 4 nationally, he says. He bought his first home at 18 and his first apartment building at 26.

At age 30, Buresh purchased AutoSpa, 160 W. Layton Ave. a full-service car wash, a company he continues to operate. He also owns several apartment buildings. Additionally, he’s supported community groups and events in Bay View.

Buresh has been endorsed by El Conquistador, a Spanish-language newspaper. To learn more about his candidacy, go to www.billburesh.com.

Marina Dimitrijevic wins LGBT support

Despite running for re-election against an out gay man, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic can probably count on big support from Bay View’s large LGBT community. A fervent equality champion, she marshaled a domestic partner benefits resolution through the board just two years after now-Gov. Scott Walker famously vetoed a resolution that sought simply to study the impact of such a policy on the budget.

The policy allows county employees to extend their health benefits to their registered same-sex domestic partners. In recognition of her role in passing it, Dimitrijevic received leadership awards from both Equality Wisconsin and Fair Wisconsin. EW has endorsed Dimitrijevic in her April 3 race against Bay View businessman Bill Buresh.

Dimitrijevic says a fundraiser thrown by her LGBT and allied supporters was her largest ever.

Dimitrijevic might have an edge with another significant demographic in the county’s Fourth District ‚Äì the Latino population of the near South Side. In a district where 52 percent of the voting age population is Hispanic, it helps that Dimitrijevic is fluent in Spanish. She met her husband, a native of Uruguay, while participating in a political exchange program in that country.

But Buresh says his more conservative approach to county government resonates stronger with the local Latin population. He picked up the endorsement of the conservative Spanish-language paper El Conquistador.

The progressive Latino group Voces de la Frontera is backing Dimitrijevic.

Although Dimitrijevic and Buresh fall into different categories on the conservative-liberal continuum, they have one thing in common besides supporting LGBT equality: Both were early achievers.

Buresh purchased his first house at 18, while Dimitrijevic made history eight years ago when, at the age of 22, she became the youngest woman ever to be elected to any office in Milwaukee County. In her first race, Dimitrijevic mounted a grassroots campaign and beat a well-funded candidate recruited by Walker. She won her last election with 73 percent of the vote. 

While Buresh has succeeded in the business arena, Dimitrijevic has amassed enough clout on the county board to be a leading contender to serve as its next chair. 

Dimitrijevic says that her success is built on a passion for public service and a sincere commitment to her constituents. Easily one of the board’s most active supervisors, she’s involved in more than 30 local organizations. She’s held more than 140 town hall meetings. She takes Buresh to task for not having been more present in the community.

“I’ve never seen him at any of the grassroots neighborhood groups,” she says. “He’s never once in eight years called my office. He calls what I do being a ‘career politician.’ To me, it’s eight years of service.”

At a recent debate, Buresh got Dimitrijevic’s hackles up by saying the  position should be part-time.

“The districts now have 55,000 residents,” she responds. “That’s the same as two aldermanic wards. How can you serve that many people on a part-time basis? I answer phone calls from constituents within 24 hours. (Buresh’s) attack is the kind you get from someone with no experience.”

Dimitrijevic was voted the “Best County Supervisor” by the readers of the Shepherd Express three years in a row. She’s received endorsements from state Sen. Chris Larson, Wisconsin Citizen Action, SEIU Wisconsin State Council, Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Association, American Federation of Teachers, and a slew of other groups representing progressives and public employees.

To learn more about Dimitrijevic, go to www.reelectmarina.com.