Former staffer to City Council Majority Leader Tasha Diaz, Jenika Delgado, submitted a lengthy email to various officials in City Hall detailing a litany of abuses she claims she suffered under the employment of the embattled Council Member.
The staffer’s email
On Tuesday, February 6, one week after explosive reports of Diaz’s violent threats against fellow member Corazón Pineda-Isaac came to light, members received an email further supporting some of these allegations. Addressed to City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy, and copied to Mayor Mike Spano, HR Commissioner Carlos Moran, and each City Council Member, the approximately 300-word letter alleges a hostile work environment under Diaz.
In the email which Delgado forwarded to The Yonkers Ledger, she begins by wanting to “express the traumatic experiences I endured while working with [Diaz].” The email seems to corroborate Pineda-Isaac’s HR complaint by saying Diaz employed “regular use of violent language and threats at myself and others.” And beyond that “toxic work environment,” Diaz also allegedly forbade Delgado from using legally-mandated sick time while she was ill with Covid-19 and even instructed her staffer to conceal her diagnosis. Lastly, Delgado further claims that Diaz threatened her with a Child Protective Services report. Citing her minority race, Diaz told Delgado that she needed the child for her livelihood.
Ultimately, the Majority Leader’s former staffer demands that she resign. If not, Delgado pleads with the other officials to exercise their power to ensure that “no person […] be forced to endure the type of hostile and traumatic workplace that I experienced.”
I call on the Yonkers City Government to take appropriate measures to remove her from office.
In a brief conversation with Jenika Delgado herself, she confirmed that she had previously reported some of this conduct to the HR department. Shortly after her communications with HR, Tasha Diaz terminated her employment.
To date, both the City Council and Mayor’s administration have failed to take any action or make any public remarks regarding Diaz’s reported behavior. In the absence of criminal charges brought by Pineda-Isaac, the Council nevertheless possesses multiple tools to rebuke Diaz. First and most obviously, a new vote could remove Diaz as Majority Leader. The Council voted her in, and can vote her out at-will. Furthermore, a New York state law also provides an even greater punishment. Per section 34 of the N.Y. Second Class Cities Law, the Council may “expel a member for disorderly conduct, for a violation of its rules or for official misconduct.” However, this process requires a pseudo-trial and 3/4 vote by the Council.
Assuming their inaction, NY State government has the potential to weigh-in. Empowered by the Yonkers City Charter itself, Governor Kathy Hochul can remove Diaz. Section C2-5 states that, “Any elective officer […] may be removed from office for misconduct or malversation in office by the Governor.”
Many options appear present to respond to the violent threats made from a Council Member to their colleague. However, the inherit political dynamics of this situation likely precludes any substantive action by these overtly political bodies.
Read the staffer’s email in full
As a former staff member of Yonkers City Councilmember Tasha Diaz, I write to express the traumatic experiences I endured while working with the Councilmember.
Councilmember Diaz created an extremely toxic work environment during my tenure in Yonkers City Hall. Her behavior included regular use of violent language and threats at myself and others as well as berating for small issues that she perceived as poor performance. On multiple occasions, she left me in tears and even forced me to work despite my infection with COVID-19. She forbade me from telling anyone about my illness and prevented me from taking my legally mandated sick leave. In addition, during one of my final conversations with her before my termination, she attempted to intimidate me with my child stating she could involve CPS with my child due to him not attending school consistently due to her overworking me stating that I was a minority & I needed her for my livelihood.
Working in this toxic environment caused me severe mental distress and anxiety. My family members and friends can attest to the awful experience I had working for her.
I believe that no person should be forced to endure the type of hostile and traumatic workplace that I experienced at Yonkers City Hall under Councilwoman Diaz. I also believe that the residents of Yonkers are ill served by having a person who conducts herself in such a manner representing them on the Council. For that reason, I am calling on Councilmember Tasha Diaz to resign. If she refuses to do so, I call on the Yonkers City Government to take appropriate measures to remove her from office.