Ammons: No harm intended in phone call to clerk's office employee

Ammons: No harm intended in phone call to clerk's office employee

URBANA — A longtime Champaign County Clerk's Office employee said she wants an apology from Democrat Aaron Ammons after he left her a phone message that she considered to be threatening to her job.

But Ammons called the matter "nothing more than a misunderstanding" in an email to The News-Gazette on Monday night, saying he only wanted to talk to Sasha Green about her post-election plans, given that her "institutional knowledge and specialized skill set" would be an "asset to any clerk's administration."

Ammons, an Urbana alderman running for county clerk, called Green on Saturday morning and left a message saying he wanted to discuss her "future interests," said Green, the lead tax-extension specialist in the clerk's office.

Ammons' call followed a letter to the editor that appeared the same morning in The News-Gazette and was signed by Green and seven fellow clerk's office employees that expressed support for their co-worker — and Ammons' Republican opponent — Matt Grandone, currently the office's director of training.

Green said she didn't return Ammons' call, but she did inform her supervisor about it and also discussed it with her co-workers. None of the fellow letter-signers had also received calls from Ammons, she said.

Ammons said his phone call wasn't in response to the letter to the editor but rather "to inquire about her plans as I look to post-election possibilities."

"I am very proud of the campaign that I have put together and all of the support that I have received," he wrote. "If elected, I will ensure that the clerk's office leadership truly reflects the diversity of our community.

"I know the senior level decision-makers in the current clerk's office are overwhelmingly male. I am interested in finding great women and people of color to diversify the decision-making roles in the office."

In addition to saying Ammons owes her an apology, Green has also called on her union — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — to withdraw its endorsement of Ammons.

"He left me a message asking to talk about my future interests," Green said in a email to AFSCME Council 31 staff representative Michael Wilmore. "I took this to mean that I would not have a future at the county clerk's office if I did not contact him.

"He has asked me before to speak with him, and I have declined to reach out to him. As a union employee, I feel my 17-year employment with the county clerk's office has been threatened."

Ammons' past efforts to reach her included asking someone for her phone number and asking her if she was on Facebook, Green said, "then somehow, he got my number."

In the letter to the editor, Green and seven co-workers wrote that Ammons has falsely claimed throughout the campaign that he has the support of the employees in the clerk's office because he received the AFSCME endorsement.

"In actuality, not a single employee of the clerk's office was on the endorsement committee, nor were any of us asked for our opinion about who AFSCME should support for the clerk's office," the letter said. "It's disappointing that Ammons continues to perpetuate something he knows to be false, especially since it involves union employees he wishes to lead."

Sections (2):News, Local
Tags (1):election 2018