By: Timothy McGuiretimothyryanmcguire@gmail.com
My dear father was a probation officer for many years, and came home every night with new stories about criminals and their lives. He is not a talkative man so I can only assume that he “reached outside himself” so that I would not traverse the path of the petty criminal and the delinquent tax evading, wild oat sowing vagrant. So far so good.
I remember one story in particular that leapt into my mind the moment I read about Gwen Lewis. This is the only happy ending for the unhappy civil servant: a crippling injury followed by a large settlement and forced retirement.
This woman who we will call “Wendy,” to protect her rather large identity was at the end of her 20 odd, very odd, years in the dept. of corrections. On a particularly blustery winter day, a particularly blustery semi truck blustered her weather blistered car into oblivion. She was in the hospital for months, settled with the truck company for an ungodly sum, and also received disability and retirement from the county. My beloved father tried to explain to me how overjoyed she was at this turn of events, but his face belied his inability to accurately convey to me the thorough bliss this battered woman now realized. It must be something like the lottery. We don’t deserve to win, but when we do it is as if the world has become a just society once again.
Now, Gwendolyn O. Lewis, 57, claims as much as $3.5 million in damages in a tort claim filed hours before she was given notice Friday. Lewis’ claim also said, “I definitely intend to file a claim against several other individuals and organizations, Public Entities and various governmental personnel in New Jersey.” This poor dear has not gotten her come-uppance due to her for all her years of civil existence. She has endured and therefore must be compensated for the pain of existing in the manner she has chosen. A life well-lived is its own reward, while a life ill-lived must be sold to the tax-payer. Because this City of the Atlantic chooses to employ, so must it dole out money to its dissatisfied old people, who wish to explore the proverb that says, “Money cannot buy happiness.” Money for her will fill the hole that the, “prevention of consortium and potential personal relationships” has left in her. She said she was under doctors’ care for teeth grinding, migraines, allergies, colds, rashes and depression, and has been continuously treated for various emotional distress disorders. I personally would take a weekend on the beach for these same ailments, yet she needs the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. She needs the money I have given to the city out of my wait-staff employment to pay for her future life of watching daytime television and sucking up health care funds that also come from my paycheck.
When Levy took office in January 2006, his administration reshuffled government, created a Human Resources Department and named Lewis to oversee it that February. She was paid $75,792 when she left, following a human resources stint in resort casinos and seven years with the Atlantic City Housing Authority. I have not yet in my life made that much money. She gets this sum for being fired. She also said she faced a hostile work environment when ordered to attend City Council meeting where members refused to stop harassment from occurring. This hostile environment should be understood as an environment where productivity is expected and laziness criticised. I told my mother that her constant overbearing requests to clean my room had created a hostile working environment. She did not give me money and a pink slip. She swatted my toosh with a spoon and I reassessed the order of my living space with renewed zeal and enthusiasm. I encourage you all to read the article from my good colleague DEREK HARPER, AC Press Staff Writer and pay special attention to the comments left by the good readers.