Judge Strikes Down Gag On City Employees p. 15

By: Editorial Staff A FEDERAL JUDGE struck down a New York City policy that banned government workers in two city agencies from talking with reporters without their agency's permission. Judge Denise Cote said it was unconstitutional for New York City's Human Resources Administration and the Administration for Children's Services to place curbs preventing workers from talking with reporters about nonconfidential agency issues.
The ruling does not affect a ban on the discussing of confidential case files.
The ruling was the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Rosalie Harman, a New York City child welfare worker who was suspended after appearing on a network TV news program to discuss the city welfare system's inability to protect some children from abusive parents. Her appearance came in the wake of the death of a 6-year-old New York City girl.
"To the extent that these executive orders chill speech, they deny an outlet for speech which might otherwise be a catalyst for reform, for increased spending, for closer attention from City Hall, for greater diligence by employees and supervisors, and for more frequent cooperation between residents of the city and the agencies," the judge ruled.
The city plans to appeal the ruling.


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