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City Councilor And Others Say Springfield, Mass., Employee Was Unjustly Fired

Longtime Springfield, Massachusetts, City Hall staff member Darryl Moss was fired this week. Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a press release Moss violated the city's social media policy. But Black community leaders and elected officials disagree with the mayor and are saying Moss, who is Black, was targeted.

At a Wednesday night press conference in front of City Hall, leadership in the city’s Black community turned out to credit Moss with doing years of good for the city and defending the mayor.

Moss most recently was the city's director of constituent services. He worked in the mayor’s office for more than a dozen years in several positions. He's described on the city website as someone who "brings a deep understanding of the issues facing many Springfield families to the Mayor's Office."

Minister Johnnie Muhammad with Mosque #13 on State Street in Springfield said that with Moss’ firing, the mayor has woken a sleeping giant. 

"We should be grateful," Muhammad said. "We should be thankful for Darryl Moss. But there is more. What is the motive for going after this man, when you should be going after rogue police officers?"

Springfield City Councilor Tracye Whitfield.
Credit Douglas Hook / Masslive / masslive.com/photos
Masslive / masslive.com/photos
Springfield City Councilor Tracye Whitfield.

Other city employees, including fire fighters and police officers, have been accused of far worse behavior without being terminated, said Springfield City Councilor Tracye Whitfield.

“If you're going to cover up for some people, and then defamate character for others, then that's not a fair way to treat any person — especially your employee that has been faithful and loyal to you for over 12 years,” Whitfield said.

In the online post that’s believed to have led to Moss’ firing, he tagged a friend and wrote “get the rifles” — in response to a story about President Trump defending a white Minnesota man who killed protesters.

Moss’ supporters say he was referencing an HBO show that features Black characters trying to stay alive in 1950s Jim Crow America.

In a statement by email, Sarno said he has no tolerance for any violation of the city's social media policy:

Any violation of our social media policy is taken very seriously and as I have stated on many occasions, there is zero tolerance with regards to any violation of this policy. The case involving my Constituent Services Director Darryl Moss has been treated in the same fair and consistent manner as with other similar social media violations. In turn and after proper legal review, I have dismissed Mr. Moss effective immediately.

On Facebook, Moss wrote that it’s time to be positive and open to building bridges that will enhance quality of life.

Moss spoke briefly Wednesday night in front of City Hall and hinted that residents will be able to vote for him soon, but didn’t provide any other details.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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