Reader disgusted with way county handled Harry Walsh contract

To the editor:

I read the June 26 Monticello Times story, “Harry Walsh answers questions about allegations” with disgust. I’m disgusted by the handling of the situation by Wright County officials.

Indifference and laziness are depriving Wright County of a valuable asset.

In the courts, the accuser has the burden to prove the involvement of the accused. Within the Church, it is handled in a different way. The accused has no redress for false accusations.

Harry had to fight to see the contents of his clergy file. A former employee of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis may have been able to walk out copies of his file under her arm.

Now, based upon unfounded allegations, the Wright County Human Services Board determined Harry is no longer  “an asset to Wright County.”

Board members said they were justified by stating “we don’t have to give a reason.”

But, Boardmember Pat Sawatzke gave a reason.  “He’s put himself in a position where the folks out there will not allow him to provide services . . . we have our own concerns . . . he can’t be effective.”

Read the article, and ask yourselves, Who exactly are the “folks” to whom Sawatzke is referring?

How exactly did Harry Walsh do anything to “put himself” in this position?

Sawatzke stated: “We don’t have the media here asking us why do we still have this guy working for us or calling us at home and everything else and having to get him pushed out that  way.” What utter, inexcusable  rubbish.

When Boardmember Mark Daleiden pointed out that Walsh has not been proven guilty of anything, Boardmember Charlie Borrell accused  Walsh of lying about his “colorful past.”

Colorful past? The staff that Harry worked with stated that no Wright County client or inmate had been put at risk from working with Walsh.

There has never been a complaint lodged against Walsh during his many years of service to Wright County.

He is an excellent teacher and “we have had only positive reports,” the story stated.

But yet, his dismissal is defended because “we have to look at the good name of the county.”

At this point, I suggest that Wright County does not have a very good name.

Harry Walsh was thrown under the bus in a shameful fashion.

And Monticello School Superintendent Jim Johnson? He saw an article in a newspaper and immediately and summarily terminated Walsh from his position as a counselor at Turning Point ALP, “pending an investigation into these allegations.”

An investigation?  By whom? Nobody is going to do that investigation. It was window dressing to put a nice spin on yet another shameful act.

Harry Walsh has committed no crime, or other wrongful act.

He is a good and gentle man, filled with wit, wisdom and a lifelong commitment to the service of others. Few finer men have lived in this town in our lifetimes.

He is now 80 years old, and does not want to spend his remaining years fighting this trash, and the cowardly institutions that have left him the real victim here.

He has  been victimized by innuendo, supposition, cowardice and laziness.

Jim Fleming
Monticello

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