Friday, November 04, 2005

The Bad Letter

by F. T. Rea

Three years ago then-Attorney General Jerry Kilgore signed a letter that for the recipient certainly added insult to injury. Ostensibly, it was an ordinary letter of reference. But since in this case the product was worse than useless to the man who had just been laid off, Jack Richardson, it was mostly galling. Eventually, he could laugh at it.
Note: If the reader clicks on the image of the letter it will enlarge for easier reading.

Then look at the glaring goofs in the letter -- what’s with those two He’s, with the capital “H.” Then there’s the blaming of Gov. Mark Warner for the deed. What’s that supposed to mean -- the Devil/Democrat made me do it? On the other hand, where’s the recognition of Richardson’s job-well-done? Moreover, looking at it, who would believe that letter was actually from the Attorney General? Richardson was given five of them, all identical and individually signed. (The image above is from one of those five; it is authentic. By the way, there is nothing on the page below the signature, no typist’s initials, etc.)

So, my questions to candidate Jerry Kilgore are simple: Who wrote that bad letter, and why in the world did you sign it?

Richardson, who had been the AG’s mailman for 22 years, did his job through rain or shine as Republicans and Democrats came and went. Then, in Kilgore’s first year in office, Richardson was let go with no notice and forced into an early retirement with truncated benefits.

On top of that, Richardson’s severance pay was slashed, too!

The AG coldly claimed his office’s staff was technically not covered by the standard rules which apply to employees of the Commonwealth. Over 50 other employees were given the same rough treatment. I don’t know what sort of letters they got. A group of the laid-off got together and explored their legal options. Richardson went to a few of their meetings. Although their cause seemed righteous, in the end it all fizzled.

OK, let's ask a few more questions that sorely need asking: Who, Republican or Democrat, actually says Kilgore did a good job as AG? Think about it, have you ever heard any lawyer say he ran the AG's office well? Other than right-wing diehards, that could never vote for any Democrat, who really wants Jerry Kilgore -- moustache or not, a 24-carat weasel in a suit -- to be governor of Virginia for four years?

Note: Since this post originally went up last month (I moved it up today), two people who once worked in the AG's office have told me they've checked and found the others who were laid off along with Richardson -- most were also long-serving staffers -- received a similar bad letter.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Typos aside, this looks like a pretty standard reference letter. Managers/administrators are often reluctant, or prohibited, from commenting on job performance when providing a reference. Not sure why, but that's what I've been told in the past when I sought references from past employers; the party line was "we can only acknowledge that you worked here and the dates you were employed."