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The H-P Weigh

If you thought the federal government never fires anybody, think again. Last month, longtime labor boss Rick Sawyer was fired from his position as West Coast point man for the Department of Labor. March 8 marked his last day as a federal employee, and the beginning of life watching daytime TV. According to Sawyer, the DOL presented him with the age-old option of resigning or getting canned. He didn't resign. ... At issue, Sawyer says, was a collective bargaining agreement that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) wanted signed by a Sacramento janitorial company whose major client was Hewlett-Packard. He says a conversation he had with an H-P employee concerning the situation was somehow construed as an attempt to pressure H-P to dump the janitorial company if it wouldn't adopt the union's specs. Apparently, H-P had more clout with the DOL than Sawyer did, because he was given the boot after the allegation was checked out. ... Sawyer is best known in local circles as the former head of the South Bay Labor Council. He left that position for a gig as the DOL's West Coast representative about two years ago. Rick says he has several irons in the fire and is actively scanning the want ads. "We're getting by," he says, noting that his wife, Julie, recently started work as general manager of the Mountain View political data collecting firm American Data Management. ... Meanwhile, local union officials have not abandoned Saywer. Amy Dean, his successor at the South Bay Labor Council, met last month with DOL chief Robert Reich at the White House, where she lobbied on Sawyer's behalf. She asked Reich for help in finding Sawyer a new job, possibly with the Clinton reelection team, but the diminutive labor czar allegedly wasn't very receptive. "We need to make sure he's taken care of," says Dean.

Oh, Bother

Speaking of the president, there's loose talk that Bill Clinton will be in town this May to deliver the commencement speech to Santa Clara University law school grads. Dean Mary Emory, however, pooh-poohed the story when we called her on Monday. "We do not yet have a graduation speaker, and all else is rumor and speculation," she assures us.


For anyone who dares suggest that San Jose's former mayor hasn't held a real job in the past six years (or was it 18?), Eye is pleased to debunk that calumny with the news that Tom McEnery is hard at work in the motion picture industry, in addition to his gigs as a radio talk show host and Sharks mojo. Our scouts inform us that our favorite all time mayor has teamed up with Cinecouple Halfdan Hussie and Kathleen Powell to produce a small, independent film titled, Still Water Burns, which is being filmed in San Jose. . . . Even though the film isn't in the can yet, there appears to be some varying reports over who penned the screenplay. Apparently, Hussie told a Willow Glen Resident reporter that he wrote the script, while Mark Simon of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that McEnery penned it himself. . . . Eye checked in with the Macster at Sharks headquarters to get to the bottom of this important question. . . . "I hate to disappoint you," the Sharks' veep calmly set the record straight. "But we co-wrote it and he directed it." As for Hussie's version, the budding movie titan has not yet had his people return our calls.

Textbook Case

Just when we thought the San Jose Unified School District had enough problems to deal with-- what with two tony neighborhoods trying to seceed and the PR disaster of a failed ouster of its superintendent--it comes up with another embarrassing situation. . . . It seems that the political consultant hired to run a long-talked-about bond campaign has failed to complete the terms of the contract. And, of course, the district has paid a large portion of the fee up front. Herb Williams, the consultant in question, managed to do a survey, a focus group and write a report which told the district that putting a bond on the ballot was not such a good idea. However, there are four other tasks Williams has failed to complete, and the district is none too pleased. District flack Maureen Munroe told Eye that since March the district has tried to contact Williams about making arrangements to rectify the situation and Williams has yet to respond. . . . Eye found Williams in his Vallejo office, but Williams refused to give us specifics. "I'm in the process of working this out with the district," he euphemized. When pressed for details, Williams clammed up. "You're not going to get my side of the story until we work things out. I'm not going to negotiate in the press." . . . An optimistic view, considering. Munroe's claim that Williams had not contacted the district as of April 15, the date the district set as a deadline to hear from him. . . . The bond job isn't the only contact Williams has had with the district. Williams has also worked as a political consultant for trustee Matt Hurley, who represents Almaden Valley--one of the neighborhoods attempting to secede from the district. . . . Repeated calls to Hurley's law office went unreturned.

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From the April 18-24, 1996 issue of Metro

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