'Joke' E-Mail Ends Advisory Panelist's Work

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA, The Times-Union

Mayor John Peyton has revoked the appointment of a Mayor's Hispanic-American Advisory Board member after the member sent an e-mail that contained "extremely offensive language" to a large number of people, according to the city General Counsel's Office.

Arthur Hernandez, a local lawyer, sent an e-mail on May 7 to a variety of people, including City Council members, city employees and community leaders.

The e-mail was written in Spanish and, as translated by Assistant General Counsel Andres Rojas, used profanity and vulgarities in the form of a joke.

Hernandez, who sent the e-mail from his business account, has been on the board for three years. He declined to comment Wednesday, other than to say that free speech is protected under the U.S. Constitution from government intrusion.

Mayoral spokeswoman Heather Murphy said other advisory board members who read the e-mail felt uncomfortable about it and asked the General Counsel's Office for advice. Murphy said Hernandez didn't think he did anything inappropriate.

The advisory board's chairwoman, Martha Valdes-Pellino, declined to comment. …