A Massachusetts town official is facing disciplinary action after he allegedly made a derogatory social media post in reference to a discussion on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I don’t know what he was thinking to make a comment like that,” said Dudley resident Steve Hill.
Longtime Dudley Highway Superintendent Daniel Gion has been suspended for racist comments he posted on Facebook earlier this week about a black commentator on CNN discussing the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend.
“We have no tolerance for those type of remarks,” said Dudley Town Administrator Greg Balukonis.
Balukonis says he took immediate action when he learned about the comments, placing Gion on paid administrative leave while he conducts an internal investigation.
“I think Dan got caught up in the heat of the moment, I think he got engaged in conversation emotion took over,” said Balukonis, “And I know that he regrets that it happened.”
“It was my own personal time and my own personal Facebook page. It was a stupid thing to do. I’m not a racist or anything like that, but it was in the heat of the moment,” Gion told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
“You wear your town employee hat 24/7/365 so above any and all self we expect our employees to be good citizens,” Balukonis said.
Paul Ryll says he’s known Gion for two decades and says the remarks are totally out of character.
“Just was probably a poor choice of words I don’t think he’s like that at all, a very nice gentleman,” Ryll said.
But many Dudley residents said Gion should apologize.
“He should have stopped and thought before he opened his mouth up and said something,” Danny Germain said.
“It’s very unprofessional, certainly of a man with that position,” Hill said.
Gion will remain on paid administrative leave at least until Monday when the town administrator will make a disciplinary recommendation to the board of selectmen.
They will decide if Gion will face any additional punishment, up to and including termination.