PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The state Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist for "creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation" among some of her employees during the turmoil in Central Falls last year, and is holding a hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Board's Cranston headquarters.
According to the complaint, Gist violated state labor laws when she sent an e-mail on Feb. 19, 2010 to members of the professional employees union at the Rhode Island Department of Education after she heard that some employees were planning to attend a rally the following week in support of the teachers at Central Falls High School. The teachers were scheduled to be terminated Feb. 23.
In her e-mail, the commissioner stated that she would "not hesitate to take action against any employee ... who purposefully works to thwart RIDE policy."
Gist's e-mail "interfered with, restrained and coerced members ... in exercising their rights," the complaint states, "... thus creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation."
At least she didn't do it via Facebook.