Harry Hurley’s Commentary: Why Fire a Nice Young Man Over the Telephone?
Let me set the table here for your public consumption.
And, until a very recent past Tuesday, Elijah was a part-time (weekend) mercantile inspector in Atlantic City.
For reasons still not properly explained, Elijah Langford received a phone call from an Atlantic City Mercantile Supervisor, telling him that he was fired.
First, there was no progressive discipline or performance problem whatsoever with Elijah Langford, who is one of the most responsible young adults that you will ever find, anywhere!
Elijah Langford is a true role model for his peers and even for many other supposed mature adults, who don't have their heads screwed on nearly as straight as Elijah does.
Firing someone over the phone is one of the most unprofessional acts you can ever do as an employer. It should never be done. Especially with a good employee. There should always be a proper exit interview. That way, you can obtain any company property owed, and, you can treat the employee with respect and dignity.
You don't need Inspector Clouseau or Captain Renault to figure out what happened here. It smacks of stupid and petty political retaliation.
Why fire a nice young man over the telephone?
It gets worse! On the same day that they fired Elijah Langford, the City of Atlantic City simultaneously posted multiple job openings for the same position - the only slight difference - is that they are advertising for "seasonal" employees, instead of part-time.
Since Elijah Langford was a seasonal employee before being changed to a part-time employee ... why wasn't he offered the opportunity to be a seasonal employee, again? I have confirmed that he wasn't made this offer.
I want to stipulate the following: I am absolutely convinced that Mayor Don Guardian has nothing to do with this. I have established a very good working relationship with Mayor Guardian. I know that this is not his style. He wouldn't do something dirty like this.
But, someone did! I also don't think it was the Business Administrator, Arch Liston. Who was it then? Was it the Director of Personnel? The Director of Mercantile Department? The Supervisor of Mercantile?
Let me take a moment to tell you a little bit about the person that they fired over the telephone. Elijah Langford is a Dean's List student in college with a more than 3.5 Grade Point Average.
Elijah Langford has also served Atlantic City with distinction in many ways, especially considering his age. Recently, Elijah Langford developed his own community service program and personally paid (with his own money) for dozens of winter coats for the needy in Atlantic City. Elijah Langford recruited and appeared with former Heavyweight Champion Iron Mike Tyson to raise community awareness and funding for his cause.
Most young men Elijah's age would have spent their own money on an XBox Console, IPad or some other self-centered purpose.
Not Elijah Langford. He was directly and materially helping the homeless and the poor of Atlantic City by coming directly to their aid during their time of need; during this brutal winter that we have experienced.
Elijah Langford also recently developed his own program to encourage young Atlantic City adults to register to vote. He successfully provided impressive leadership that brought-in a substantial number of new young voters who had never particpated in the electoral process before.
Elijah Langford is exactly the kind of upstanding person that should never receive this kind of nasty treatment.
This reminds me a whole lot of a situation that I also rose up publicly to aggressively to defend a few years ago. Atlantic County Executive Denny and Patsy Levinson's daughter was strongly recommended for a math teaching position that she was uniquely and highly qualified for. Denny and Patsy's daughter was enthusiastically recommended for this certified position by two different school principals.
Sara Levinson had amassed an impressive resume'. Sara possessed two different certifications and a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average and was Dean's List every semester of her college career. Sara had already passed the very difficult math certification test (which is now required by state law). Many certified teachers regularly fail this test.
For purely political reasons, the Board of Education went against this recommendation and refused to hire Sara Levinson.
I went public and it went viral ... Just as I am hoping will be the case this time. Ironically, it was Nynel Langford (an Atlantic City Board of Education Member) who was my biggest supporter in my quest to help overturn this injustice.
Nynel has taken a lot of heat over the years for taking the public position that she did. She didn't care about any of that stupid parochialism. She stood up tall and she did the right thing. She was called (by some in the public) as "Harry's Boy" for going against the Board Members who had indefensibly voted against Sara Levinson.
The proper chord was struck with the public and the Board ... and, the Board of Education saw the error in its ways. I am pleased to remind you that Sara Levinson was hired, as she should have been all along, and she has been a dynamic, amazing teacher for the Atlantic City Public Schools system.
I am hopeful that County Executive Levinson will speak-out in support of Elijah Langford ... just as The Langford's did for his daughter when she was unjustly wronged.
Levinson is a very good man and I'm convinced that he will do the right thing here. It's in his good nature to pay it forward.
I interviewed both Mayor and Mrs. Langford (separately) over the weekend to advise them that I have learned about Elijah's situation. Both of them declined the opportunity to appear here with us this morning, but, each left open the probability of coming on-air in the near future if necessary.
I know that Atlantic City Council is meeting this Wednesday. I also know that a majority of City Council is very aware of this situation. This issue will no doubt come up at their open public meeting.
I want to repeat something very impoirtant that I said earlier. I know that Mayor Don Guardian is not involved with this Elijah Langford dirty treatment and circus stunt. Guartdian is is a good man, it's not in his nature to play filthy like this.
But, he has the authority to take immediate action to correct this injustice. I am hopeful that he will step in right away and do the right thing.
Now is the time for people of good faith, to step-up. Because next time it could be your son, daughter, Father, Mother, husband or wife that's being retaliated against!
I promise to keep you posted as things progress.