I write to express my sincere and profound regret to the patrons of the Springfield Mass Transit District and the entire Springfield community regarding the events that occurred after an operator wore a pink tie with his uniform and my decision to suspend him. Unfortunately, my decision has left the mistaken impression that the SMTD and I do not support the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and, even more regrettably, has hurt and insulted the many families who have had to deal with this horrible disease.
My decision to discipline the employee was based entirely on an application of the SMTD policy that allows a deviation from the standard operator uniform only with prior approval. This policy is designed to assure that the attire of operators is appropriate and that all operators receive equal and even-handed treatment with respect to their uniforms.
When I made the decision, however, I failed to consider the importance to this community of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and the activities associated with it. I, too, have lost family and friends to cancer, and I understand the suffering and hardship breast cancer inflicts upon its victims and their families. Consequently, I am truly sorry that my decision appeared to indicate an unwillingness of the SMTD to participate in the breast cancer awareness activities or an insensitivity to those who are or who have been afflicted with breast cancer.
Because that was never my intention, I have reversed the suspension in an effort to resolve this situation and to correct the misunderstandings. All employees of the SMTD work hard each day to provide transportation services to the Springfield community. Hopefully, their diligence and commitment to this community will not be overshadowed by my initial decision.
Linda F. Tisdale
Springfield Mass Transit District