Suspension lifted for crossing guard who texted mayor about snowy roads
Gina Bowne — the Runnemede school crossing guard suspended after texting her borough's mayor to get a snow-covered crosswalk cleared — will have a chance to see her suspension lifted.
6 ABC reports the borough's chief of police offered Friday to dismiss the suspension for "insubordination" if no further infractions occur.
Bowne has said she was punished for insubordination by breaking the chain of command. Her normal point of contact wasn't working Monday, so she got in touch with the mayor, who told her he'd take care of it, she has said. Mayor Nick has Kappatos said he forwarded the message to public works.
New Jersey 101.5's Deminski and Doyle spoke with both Bowne and Kappatos Thursday — "We originally thought there may be more to the story than what was being reported, so we invited Mayor Kappatos on the show to discuss the issue," the duo wrote in a blog post this week.
During the afternoon talk show, Kappatos told D&D that Bowne has been reprimanded in the past for not following proper procedures — a point Bowne disputes.
"The police department, it’s their job, they’re public safety. So they’ve outlined what’s supposed to happen," Kappatos said. "They respond to these calls and they take care of them. So even though I’m friendly with Gina, you know she and I talk, we do text back and forth. When it came to light that she had gone and told me and not told anybody else, that’s when the problem happened.
"This is not a first offense and so that’s why the suspension was handed out.”
The conversation got Bowne's attention, and she called in as well.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous.” Bowne said. “I do not think it’s fair and in my defense I did try to follow the chain of command. I attempted to call Harry, who is the head of the department of public works. When he answered his phone he told me I had the wrong number. And I confirmed I had the proper number by contacting an ex-councilwoman who said I had the right number.”
Bowne said the mayor was aware she'd tried to reach people in her chain of command. She also said she'd never before been in trouble: "I’d like to see any written paperwork that I signed saying that I’ve been in trouble.”
A petition supporting Bowne was expected to be presented to the borough council next week.
— Reporting by the Associated Press was included in this story