(NationRise.com) – In an effort to be more inclusive of everyone, the city of Wauwatosa in Wisconsin is discouraging its employees from expressing themselves with religious décor and traditional Christmas colors (red and green) during the holiday season.
In addition to discouraging Christmas décor, an email from a deputy administrator for the city also suggested that city employees refer to snowmen as “snow people” and asked them to instead decorate with “neutral and inclusive” ornamentation.
Melissa Cantarero Weiss, the deputy administrator in question, informed Wauwatosa’s employees of the new guideline through an email sent earlier this month. It was leaked to Wisconsin Right Now and went viral shortly after.
The backlash that followed prompted Democrat Mayor Dennis McBride to send a follow-up email in which he quoted several Bible verses in an attempt to justify Weiss’s position. He began by stating that he couldn’t respond to critics’ emails initially because he was “singing in his church choir.” He also claimed that several residents have complained about Christmas décor in the past since it wasn’t a holiday they celebrated. His response confirmed that Weiss’s email was genuine.
City Alderman Andrew Meindl, who is running for mayor of Wauwatosa, was critical of the announcement. In the statement, he questioned the criteria for what colors are and are not considered inclusive (Weiss’s email encouraged employees to decorate with red, blue, and purple instead). Meindl also questioned whether the Inclusion Commission committee was consulted before asking why the city is so focused on this issue when facing more serious problems. He then advised the city administration to better focus on pressing issues first.
According to Weiss, City Administrator Jim Archambo, her direct superior, supports the move. Both receive sizable compensation despite being unelected employees.
The city of Wauwatosa has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. However, the city has been shifting to the left quickly in recent years. Mayor McBride said this is happening as older citizens “age out,” indicating that they are either dying or moving into nursing homes.
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