Verdugo Supporters to Rally for ENDA

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Posted on 15 October 2010, South Florida Agenda

Photo: Mikey Verdugo

By BOB KECSKEMETY

Former openly-gay Hollywood Police officer Michael "Mikey" Verdugo (who charged that he was unfairly terminated by the City of Hollywood), along with his pro bono attorney, George Castrataro, Esq., and a team of community leaders, will hold an important rally to keep attention focused on Mr. Verdugo's discrimination case and further explain why support for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is so important.

The rally will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at noon, prior to the City Commission's Meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood. The rally comes in the wake of the August 12 hearing in Tampa when The State of Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission unanimously upheld a negotiated Settlement Agreement in the Verdugo discrimination case and allowed Mr. Verdugo to retain his State certification as a law enforcement officer.

"It was an important victory and first step in vindicating Mikey, but there's a long way yet to go," Castrataro stated. Castrataro's argument had prevailed that the City of Hollywood's intervention into the previously negotiated settlement was inappropriate and improper.

The rally precedes a Court Hearing scheduled on November 30, 2010 relevant to Mr. Verdugo's ongoing discrimination case against the City of Hollywood. Mr. Verdugo is still fighting to be reinstated in his job. "

In Florida, employment and advancement are still hindered by prejudice. Too many people, both straight and gay, do not realize that it's still possible to fire someone without cause!" Mr. Castrataro said. "Mikey's fight illustrates the need to pass the ENDA without further delay. His plight serves as a powerful reminder that discrimination is real and must end. Passage of the bill would have far-reaching effects." Castrataro has long been active in working with the Broward County Commission on local human rights issues.