In response to a purported email from a deputy city administrator in Wisconsin, employees are being discouraged from displaying “religious decorations” in public buildings over the holidays.
The email, which was obtained by media outlet Wisconsin Right Now, appears to be from Wauwatosa Deputy City Administrator Melissa Cantarero Weiss and asks city employees to create a “welcoming and inclusive environment” for all residents and visitors to city buildings.
The email reminds workers that not everyone celebrates Christmas and asks departments to refrain from using “religious decorations” or those associated with the holiday, such as red and green colors. Instead, the email suggests using neutral and inclusive decorations such as snowflakes, snow people, and festive lighting in colors like blue, green, and purple.
According to the email, City Administrator Jim Archambo supports the request. However, some employees have voiced concerns that this reminder suggests the city’s priorities have gone askew and that there are more pressing matters at hand.
People in Wauwatosa Wisconsin can breathe a little easier today knowing brave Deputy City Administrator Melissa Cantarero Weiss has used her power to protect citizens from manager scenes & Christmas stars. Hope she gets an appropriate Christmas bonus.https://t.co/QnrF84nTpr
— KidShelleen (@FranksBrother) November 13, 2023
With a population of approximately 48,000, Wauwatosa is a diverse city. The email states that December is the busiest month at city hall, as many residents visit in person to pay property tax bills.
Both Archambo and Weiss are highly paid employees, with Archambo earning $184,794 and Weiss earning $139,542 in 2022. It should be noted that neither of them are elected officials.
The email has sparked debate and criticism among employees and residents. Some argue that this request goes against the spirit of the holiday season, which is meant to be a time of joy and celebration for all traditions and faiths. Others argue that the email is a necessary reminder to ensure that all individuals feel welcome and included in city buildings.