I have never been a fan of Karen Hartley Nagle. She was a mediocrity who ran for Congress when no one competent would. That garnered her name recognition that allowed her to win in a primary for New Castle County Council President when no one competent or inspiring or honest was running against her. We all knew once she was elected that she would be horrible in office, but at least she is only the Council President. The remaining council members and County Executive Matt Meyer will be there to reign her in and limit the damage.
Yeah, we failed to anticipate how she would make the work environment and culture at New Castle County’s Government offices toxic.
WDEL has a blockbuster report out this morning after they had obtained the 23-page report by HR Strategies’s Tricia Clendening, who investigated county employee and Karen Hartley Nagle’s former aide Kate Maxwell’s allegations of workplace harassment. The investigation was ordered by the County Council.
The report is damning. It is outrageous. Karen Hartley Nagle must be removed from office. Today.
“Maxwell described a bipolar personality in Hartley-Nagle, saying, “I never knew who I was going to get.” “She would call me every night, and I was expected to be on the phone with her for an hour. She told that I had to be on call 24×7, and if I couldn’t then this isn’t the right job for me,” Maxwell told investigators. In the report, Maxwell said she was barred from answering emails without permission and forbidden from talking to other council people or their aides. She said she was required to call Hartley-Nagle when she arrived at her desk each day at work. She also described a boss who called her an “idiot” and a “moron” and, at times, said: “What are you, 10? Do you need to call your mommy.” […]
[Hartley Nagle] also claimed her aide, who is the fiancee of fallen firefighter Christopher Leach, took off for several funerals and didn’t tell anyone. She denies ever saying, “I’m so over these deaths,” as Maxwell had reported to the HR investigator.
Yeah, that’s a great way to win over the firefighters and police officers in the county. Or a great way to lose them completely. Here are some other comments from the report concerning Karen Hartley Nagle’s leadership style and the work environment at the county offices.
- “Some disrespect.”
- “Not abusive but controlling.”
- “I listened to meetings and was uncomfortable by what I heard. The meeting wasn’t run properly by Karen. She should shut this down, it’s her job to keep decorum.”
- “Karen is extremely challenging on a daily basis and all the time. My experiences are similar to Kate’s, one minute Karen is miserable and then the next she is happy. Karen manipulates what you say and it may be a personality disorder. I don’t believe anyone gets along with her. She deflects things and can never be wrong. Rest assured when she’s nice to you, she’s using you.”
- “She seemed to me to be injuring her effectiveness; by being combative and overly assertive.”
- “She always stated if council did not ‘yield’ to her leadership, she would ‘punish’ the council members politically…she would primarily focus on Lisa Diller and Janet Kilpatrick.”
- “Council president seems to me to be ethically challenged as well as lacking in common sense and good judgement. On the floor of council on debate, Council President neglected her duty to be a fair and impartial chairperson. She cheered and applauded speakers that she perceived as her political supporters,” said one respondent.
- “I’ve seen Karen first-hand if she doesn’t agree with you. If you are against me, then you’re my enemy.”
Clendening recommends in her report that Hartley Nagle’s supervisory powers be stripped for the remainder of her term, even if she completed harassment and leadership training. However, WDEL reports that Hartley Nagle’s supervisory powers were suspended until she underwent training on how not to harass her employees. Those powers could be reacquired by Hartley Nagle once she completed the training. But, Hartley Nagle is refusing to complete the training.
If she were anyone else, she would be fired as a result. The County must now investigate removing her immediately from office, through legal action if need be. I am not calling on her to resign because she won’t. This is a power trip for a deeply disturbed, incompetent and narcissistic person. So she won’t give it up voluntarily.