Undercurrents

Sun-Sentinel Co. employees are laughing about top management's "head in the sand" response to the recent Stephen Wissink/XS sexual harassment embarrassment.

As readers of last week's New Times will recall, Wissink was forced out as editor and publisher of City Link (the publication formerly known as XS) after allegations he made suggestive remarks to female staffers, sometimes using the Sun-Sentinel's e-mail system.

Wissink left October 17. For the next three weeks, corporate management said absolutely nothing to Sun-Sentinel employees (nor did City Link say anything to readers).

Then New Times started calling executives and employees for comment for its cover story. And -- surprise -- letters suddenly appeared in the home mailboxes of Sun-Sentinel employees.

"We would like to take this opportunity to provide you with our updated revision of Sun-Sentinel's harassment policy," begins the two-page memorandum from Publisher Robert "Bob" Gremillion and General Manager Kathleen "Kathy" Waltz. "This policy recognizes the increasing use of electronic mail in the workplace as well as emphasizing our commitment to 'zero tolerance' of incidents involving harassment and discrimination."

Among the points in the memo: "Please remember that electronic mail and cc:mail are to be used for business purposes only. All electronic mail is property of Sun-Sentinel and backed up on servers that can be accessed."

The policy bans "inappropriate" messages, but Sun-Sentinel e-mail presumably can be used to praise management for deep commitment and decisive action.

In the "how you get to be a billionaire" department, consider the uplifting saga of what we'll call "Jerseys From Wayne."

It seems that during those glorious days of Florida Marlins postseason play, then-owner Wayne Huizenga hosted a private gala for some 200 high-powered guests in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, complete with sumptuous food; red, white, and blue balloons; the works -- including music by 79 musicians from the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

The musicians, who were decked out in Marlins jerseys and caps provided by Wayne, entertained with rousing numbers from Sousa and Gershwin and, of course, the ever-popular "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Huizenga's party was considered a "charitable performance" so the musicians weren't paid; they volunteered their services. That was okay, one orchestra member said, because "we thought it was really cool that we got to keep the jerseys and ball caps."

The musicians no longer sing a happy tune. A few weeks after the party they received notice that Huizenga demanded the jerseys back. Getting in the spirit of Wonderful Wayne, one musician joked, "Some of us talked about attaching a bill for laundry service.

 
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