Brown’s staff departures

Normally there’s nothing terribly newsworthy about a couple of Council staffers moving on, but there’s never been anything normal about CM Helena Brown’s office.

CM Helena Brown

Councilwoman Helena Brown’s two highest-ranking staff members have resigned less than four months into her two-year term.

Chief of Staff Leticia Ablaza and Rasuali Bray, Brown’s chief deputy director, resigned Monday.

Brown did not respond to requests for comment.

A third member of her staff resigned in March.

Ablaza confirmed her resignation, but declined to comment further.

Brown staffed her office in January with five employees who worked 39 hours a week and, yet, were classified as part-timers, disqualifying them from city-provided health insurance, pensions, vacations or other benefits.

A statement from her office at the time asserted that all of them were offered health benefits but declined. She also started with two other staffers who worked fewer hours. Brown is the only member of council to employ an entirely part-time staff.

Surely I’m not the only one who suspects there’s a lot more to this than what anyone was willing to say on the record. Staff turnover is unremarkable, but losing three people in your first four months in office is not. Much has been made about Brown’s “part time” staff, which meant they were paid for a maximum of 39 hours a week and got no city-subsidized health insurance. But let’s get real here: Ablaza and Bray, like their counterparts in any other Council members’ offices, were surely working many more hours a week than that. It’s the nature of the job. But not only did they not get insurance, they didn’t get paid time off. Seems to me that no matter what you think about government, most people at some point are going to want a better deal than that, and who can blame them? To me, that’s what this is about. We’ll see how it goes with their replacements, or with whatever volunteers there are to step in.

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