In a letter addressed to Ashland City Parks and Recreation Director Scott Sampson, Troy Hinke says he was compelled to resign from his positions within The Town of Ashland City.
Effective April 30, Hinke officially left his position as farmers market manager and maintenance supervisor citing two-fold reasoning.
The first, Hinke says he felt as though the city, its staff, and the citizens were not taking precautions recommended by the CDC.
“I am forced to resign from these positions due to the inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of the fact that city leaders, staff, and the community at large are not complying to guidelines to limit the risk of exposure,” Hinke stated.
“It is business as usual around town. You would’t even think there was a pandemic happening,” he added.
Kellie Reed, city recorder, said that it was unfortunate that Hinke did not feel the town was taking necessary measures to protect the safety of its employees.
Reed confirmed that since reopening on May 4, the town has repositioned employees' work stations to keep recommended distance as well as had all city buildings cleaned by BioPURE— a company specializing in cleaning for the prevention of the coronavirus.
The Town of Ashland City has also ordered masks for all employees to be worn if they so choose, Reed says.
The second reason behind his resignation, Hinke states, is related to an April 28 incident where he says he was mocked by Ashland City mayor Steve Allen for wearing a mask.
Upon returning to work after pandemic-related rotating schedules, Hinke says he walked into the office to see Mayor Allen standing “elbow to elbow” with two department heads without masks.
It is then that Hinke says he felt mocked for wearing a mask.
“Am I supposed to put my hands up? Oh, I though this was a stickup,” is what the mayor said, Hinke claims.
“That was unprofessional and condescending, as well as being considerably disrespectful to the people around the world who are trying to fight the virus or who have died as a result of contracting COVID-19,” Hinke said.
Mayor Allen apologetically addressed the complaint, stating that he did it “all in humor” and was regretful Hinke was hurt by the comment.
“I’m sorry that it offended him and I would have never said anything other than ‘hi,’ if I even thought it would have hurt him,” Allen said sincerely.