Did the punishment fit the "crime?"

Jay Behling, South Milwaukee

As has been reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and SouthMilwaukeeNOW, South Milwaukee Fire Chief Jay Behling has been suspended for 90 days without pay as a penalty for using a racial slur multiple times on the job in front of subordinates.  According to a poll on the front page of SouthMilwaukeeNOW, 36% of those responding feel termination is the most appropriate punishment for Behling's actions, but what's interesting to me is that 23% of those responding felt Behling  should not have been suspended or fired.  Now call me crazy - and you wouldn't be the first - but I can't understand how anyone feels that the repeated use of the "N" word by the Fire Chief for the City of South Milwaukee doesn't merit any type of disciplinary action.  Perhaps if Chief Behling's comments had only been made once, I could see the argument for leniency, but considering Chief Behling made multiple remarks to multiple individuals - a clear pattern of behavior - he can't even argue it was an "honest mistake."


Personally, I think Chief Behling should have been fired, but then again, I also believe that someone in a position of leadership like his should act in a manner that brings honor to his department and to the City of South Milwaukee.  In choosing to suspend Chief Behling - first for 3 days and finally for 90 - the powers that be in South Milwaukee have sent a clear message that racial sensitivity and common sense aren't prerequisites for serving as Fire Chief.

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