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VIDEO: Finn Disputes Charges of Alleged Racist Comment

City Manager Rick Finn talks to the press to refute allegations he made a racist statement.

Peekskill City Manager Rick Finn disputed charges that he made a racist comment during a recent city-sponsored customer service training session at a press conference this afternoon.

Finn read from a prepared statement, explaining what he says happened during the training session:

"The trainer led the discussion by categorizing audiences as having four possible communication styles: Driver, Analytical, Amiable, or Creative. Here is the segment and the discussion on how to address an audience if, as the speaker, you are not sure which communication style is in the audience.

"Trainer: When we started this question, it was what is the best way to do this if you're not sure. The best way is to be sure and be all of these things. Of course. If you're just out there and you don't know what to do, and you don't know who they are, I'm suggesting err on the side of primarily being an Amiable. Ok, with that, going to give each (Richard Finn raised his hand to ask a question) Rick?

Richard Finn: Does this carry true for different races and cultures? What if this entire room was filled with African-Americans? Is that still true?

Trainer: In my mind, that is a universal trait. These are universal. That's the neat thing about communication styles. They are universal."

Finn left the room after reading his statement.

Community activist Darrell Davis and Cortlandt-Peekskill Anti-Racism Coalition activist Tracy Breneman were present for the statement. Breneman told Finn his words "had no meaning."

Once Finn left the room Davis told the press that people present during the training session told him that Finn questioned African-Americans' intelligence. Davis said he does not think the city has a legal ground to keep the public from seeing the recording of the training session.

Leesther Brown, who has at past Common Council meetings against Finn and city government, showed up after the conference had ended. "What he said isn't racist, it is stupid," Brown said.

Watch Finn read his statement and Davis and Brown's responses in the video above.

 

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leesther brown May 20, 2011 at 10:23 PM
The Mayor and Council should release the tape, I'd like to hear what lead up to the comment as well as the "Tone". It's interesting that the Mayor(Who was in the building) didn't stand by her man. Release The Tape,And The Public Decide.
Patty Villanova May 21, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Back in the 1960's journalist Tom Wolfe wrote a book entitled "Radical Chic and Mau Mauing the Flack Catchers" which dealt with white liberal guilt, the Black Panthers and the hilarious extremes that NY high society went to prove that despite their great wealth, they were solidly behind the embattled Black extremists of their day. I urge Rick, Mary and their "instructors" to get a copy and read it before their next public interaction with Mr. Davis and his crew of wannabes. The problem is that everyone is so afraid of being branded a "racist" that they will put up with the most rude and obnoxious behavior from any person of color who speaks at a meeting; however, if you're white, the opposite is true and they will shut you up within a second of your allotted time because they know there's little or no danger of one of us getting out of line. The answer to restoring civility & decorum at the meetings is simple. If Davis or anyone else , white or black, speaks longer than allowed, or engages in shouting or disruptions, the cops should remove them from the room and the meeting should be allowed to continue. Our civil rights of free speech and assembly must not be abridged because Mary & Rick don't know how to deal with bullies.
leesther brown May 23, 2011 at 05:11 AM
AMEN!
RealTimeRufus May 23, 2011 at 02:55 PM
This is a test.
Liz Giegerich May 23, 2011 at 05:01 PM
I'd like to remind readers to abide by our terms of use, which prohibit personal attacks. You can read them here: http://peekskill.patch.com/terms
kitabug4182 May 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Hearing this discourse and reading what 'the trainer' had to say strengthens my case for a freeze on future consultant allocations, and immediate compliance with the intent of the FOI acts. Why should the citizens have to hear Mr. Finn reading from a prepared statement? Without the tape, the only public information available is Mr. Finns. Let us assume that the quotes that Mr. Finn reads are true and accurate.. According to Mr. Finn, the trainer said a speaker who has yet to determine what the ‘style’ an audience is; should assume the audience as “…primarily being an Amiable.” Mr. Finn then queries; “Does this carry true for different races and cultures”? What if this entire room was filled with African-Americans? Is that still true? What some may find offensive or possibly racist is that his questions (Finn’s) imply that it is unusual for a room full of African Americans to be “amiable” or conduct themselves in an amiable fashion. Let me be clear, I am not stating that Mr. Finn is a racist. I am saying that his statement could be construed as racist. Mr. Finn is now in the ‘hot seat’ due to the Mayor and Council guarding the tape and statements as though they are Matters of national security. They should remember how well Mr. R. Nixon was served with that strategy! The arrogance of the Mayor and Common Council is evidenced by their continued unwillingness to let the Peekskill citizens decide if racist statements were made or not. ASAP ?
kitabug4182 May 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM
I find it astounding that some commentators believe that the problem with Peekskill City Government is that civic-minded individuals choose to exercise their rights of free speech. This country was founded partially because the British did not grant that right. Government. This country came to be because of shouting demonstrating and war. Shifting the blame to Mr. Davis, an individual who has been the catalyst of progress in Peekskill is the equivalent of blaming the cute female clad in a mini-skirt for being raped. Ms. Foster and the Council wish that all would just silently ingest their pabulum and obfuscation of the issues, so they will not be called to task concerning their collective mismanagement of Peekskill’s affairs. In response to a reader’s reference to Tom Wolves 1970 novel, I ask why they or anybody had Guilt. I can only speak for myself when I say, I usually carry guilt because of doing or condoning something I know is wrong.
Steve Davies June 12, 2011 at 04:31 PM
City Manager Rick Finn takes(TALKS) to the press to refute (REBUT; refute means "disprove") allegations he made a racist statement.

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