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The City of Palm Coast’s Problem With Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Not Regulation.

| October 7, 2010

Lenny Grocki's pink: told not to wear the boots, he switched to socks and laces. He faces disciplinary action even for those. (© FlaglerLive)

[Update: How Lenny Grocki kept his job.]

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the pink is everywhere—or trying to be.

Earlier this week Florida Hospital Flagler presented its “saving lives” and “Pink Army” campaign to the Flagler County Commission (including pink cookies). It’s an effort to enlist as many participants as possible in the battle for awareness about the second-most common cancer among women, and support for those suffering from it. Flagler Beach City Commissioner Jane Mealy joined the army, so did Commission Chairman George Hanns (he’s a private). The hospital is sponsoring a fund-raiser Saturday evening south of the Flagler Beach Pier from 6 p.m. in. The pink is all over the nation, down to NFL game balls with decal pink ribbons and football players with pink cleats, gloves, chin straps, towels and wristbands, and pink padding on post padding in end zones.

Locally, Linsdsay Rew of Florida Hospital Flagler told the commissioners, “we wanted to engage the community and encourage them to be the voice, talk to their friends, their family, their neighbors, about the importance of early detection, and screening mammograms. So the Pink Army was born.”

Lenny Grocki considers himself an army of one. He’s all about raising awareness. His mother died of breast cancer in 2004. That year he grew his hair so he could cut it and give it to Locks of Love, the organization that provides hair pieces to poor children who lose their hair through chemotherapy and other medical issues. Last year, Grocki painted one of his steel-toed boots pink and wore them at work, beginning on Oct. 1, and kept them on until the paint faded in late December.

Grocki did the same this year. He painted the pair pink again, and went to work. He might get asked about it—why the pink?—and draw attention. But that’s the point: it’s his chance to do what breast cancer-awareness organizers want: spread the message, educate, tell people about the devastation, move them to do something about it.

That’s not the kind of reception he got from his supervisor at work. Grocki, who’s 56, works for the City of Palm Coast Utility Department. He’s been there six years. Randy Zaleski, his direct supervisor, told him last week to go home and change. The human resources department told him they couldn’t do anything. It  was up to his supervisor’s discretion.

“So I got home and I was going to mention it to my wife and she said, it’s funny you should say this, I just got this email from your sister,” actually a Facebook post (Grocki admits he’s not computer-savvy) that read: “I salute my little brother Lenny; he’s not on Facebook but he told me every October he paints his workboots pink for our mom, passed May 21, 2004. Lenny, his wife Janice & I had a wonderful talk on remembering mom, her passing, & how she is still with us.”

“Of course when I saw that I was like, there was no decision to make. I was not taking them off,” Lenny said. “I went back to work with my boots on, and I said listen, I plan on wearing these for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They said if you do, we’re going to have to end up sending you home. I said well, I’m going home if that’s what it comes to.” He’d been told that he had altered the work uniform—utility workers wear standard Palm Coast shirts, pants or shorts, and are given $90 to buy a pair of workboots. Lenny has about five pairs. He never touched the actual uniform, which he respects as he does his job. And he didn’t paint the boots he spent the city’s money on.

He went home. That was Oct. 1. On Monday, he returned with pink socks and pink laces on a different pair of shoes. He figures that wearing accessories wouldn’t interfere with the official uniform. “Pink is pink. I’m not trying to make a boisterous statement. I’m just honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

His supervisor summoned him on Tuesday. This is what he was told: “Basically, Lenny, if you come in with this on, I’ll give you to the end of the week. You can celebrate this but, they put a deadline on it. Come Monday, you walk in with these socks and those laces, disciplinary action will be taken. This is this coming Monday. I’m a little scared. I’ve got to stick with my heart and my feelings.” He asked colleagues whether they’d support him, but he also understands their situation, which may be as precarious as his. “We get threatened every day with ‘you’re lucky you have a job.’ We get told that. It’s not a threat. We get told, you’re lucky you have a job, almost constantly. I’m very worried.” Palm Coast laid off some 15 employees this fall in budget-cutting moves.

Lenny adds, “The best thing that could happen to me is if I went into work Monday morning and my fellow employees or somebody was there with pink socks on and pink laces. You know, breast cancer awareness is a lot of things. It’s not just breast cancer. It’s turned into all cancer awareness, and it’s a support, and here I am supporting something, and now I need some support, and I’ve got no one. I’m out there cold.”

Richard Adams, the director of Palm Coast’ Utility Department, doesn’t dispute Grocki’s efforts or intentions. He disputes the manner and timing of it.

“Obviously he is showing support for a very important cause and I can’t fault him for that,” Adams said. “However, when he is working in a workplace there is a time and place for everything, and we expect our employees to be professionally attired in the uniform presented to them.”

Adams suggests there may have been a better route for Grocki. “There have been approved activities that have actually been fund-raisers that the employees have gone through the proper channel to get approval to conduct those activities,” Adams said. “This particular employee has chosen to do his own thing without support of management, nor has he requested any kind of approval to stray from the policy.” Adams added: “Believe me I understand the cause and I support the cause but there is a method to properly support cancer awareness, and just showing up in pink boots is not it.”

Grocki’s job entails answering work orders, hooking up and disconnecting water service at homes and businesses, answering emergency calls. “I deal with people all the time. That’s my main job,” he says. How does wearing pink boots or pink socks and laces interfere with the job?

“You could make that kind of argument for anything,” Adams said. “Like for instance you could show up in a ratty t-shirt that has inappropriate words on it. How does that impact the work? Well, it doesn’t, but how the public perceives us is important and it’s important for us to present a professional appearance. I’m not sure how it would be received if someone showed up in hot pink boots and talking at your door about turning the water on” or conducting other city business.

But all bits of attire that happen to diverge somewhat from the city’s uniforms aren’t the same, Grocki says: a cancer-awareness emblem isn’t ratty. It’s noble. “This isn’t bizarre. This isn’t blatant, Grocki said. “I’m not walking around with my hair pink or my mustache pink. Tattoos are running rampant around that place. There’s nothing said about that.”

Mealy, the Flagler Beach commissioner, was struck by the city’s reaction against the pink. “It’s all right for the football players but it’s not ok for him?” she said. “It doesn’t seem appropriate to me at all that they reprimanded him.”

Mayor Jon Netts was not aware of the issue. “I’m sure the city has a dress code for its employees,” he said. “I can’t imagine that pink shoe laces would be a violation, or a lapel pin, or a ribbon. I don’t know. First I’ve heard about it. I really don’t have any details. I guess, wearing pink boots and pink this and pink that, and the city has a uniform you’re supposed to wear, you should be in uniform.”

Mary DiStefano, a Palm Coast City Council member, works part-time at Radiology Associates Imaging Centers in Palm Coast. “I know at Palm Coast imaging we did more decoration this year than we’ve ever done,” she said. “And are you aware of the pink bagels?” Radiology Associates takes food to various medical offices that submit patients—and bagels. This year they’re taking them pink bagels to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Instead of taking her business to Daytona Beach, DiSrtefano said she asked Strathmore Bagels on Palm Coast Parkway if its cooks could come up with pink bagels. They did.

“Now with the issue of an employee, I wouldn’t get into that, because that’s management,” DiStefano said, “but if they have regulations and they meet with the public, I have to support that. But you know the pink army the hospital is stirring up. We never had that before.” At the radiology office, employees wear pink ribbons, and DiStefano gave Strathmore the pink ribbon to wear on their uniforms.

Grocki is hoping he’ll get some support from his colleagues when he goes to work on Monday. He’s not hopeful. “That only happens in the movies,” he says. “This ain’t the movies.”

Thursday evening, when JJ Graham, owner of Hollingsworth Gallery, heard about the boots issue, he asked Grocki for the boots to put on display as part of a new local contemporary art show opening at the gallery Saturday. Grocki agreed.

The gallery is located on the floor above the Palm Coast City Council’s chambers, and below the city administration’s main offices, including those of City Manager Jim Landon. The Palm Coast City Council is officially marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month at a council meeting later this month.

'These Boots Were Made for Talkin',' on display at the Hollingsworth Gallery at City Walk. (© FlaglerLive)

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78 Responses for “The City of Palm Coast’s Problem With Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Not Regulation.”

  1. What The? says:

    Suprise the City is punishing an employee for trying to support a good cause. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they could care less about their employees or the people that die each day from Breast Cancer! Breast Cancer will effect everyone in this city in one way or another.

  2. Citizen says:

    Sounds to me like the real issue here is a manager’s ego. Basically this guy didn’t ask for permission and the PHB behind the big desk didn’t like one of his minions thinking independently. I mean, obviously this guy can’t dress himself without a manager saying it’s ok first.

    I’m fairly certain that almost everyone by this point in time recognize pink during the month of October as raising awareness for cancer. He’s not dressed up in a pink panther costume, he’s not wearing a drag outfit with a pink wig, I think the guy used some common sense… the pink boots are noticeable but not ridiculous or unprofessional. The socks and laces are even more subdued and appropriate I think.

    Learn from Deltona here Palm Coast and pick your battles. Allowing your employees to support things like this “reasonably” as this gentleman is doing, should not be met with an iron fist. I think you’ll find quickly that the voting public agrees with me. Many have been hurt by cancer in some way.

  3. BloneOne817 says:

    Mr. Zaleski shouldbe ashamed of himself.

  4. Barbara Taylor says:

    I applaud the city supervisors for their actions Why couldn’t the employee just wear a pin on his shirt? .

  5. Well says:

    This is embarrassing. Breast cancer affects all of us regardless of gender. Men can develop breast cancer, their mothers, sisters, wives; daughters can develop breast cancer as well. Who cares if someone from PC utilities came to work on my water pipe in pink shoes? You know what I would think? That he/she was one awesome person that supports a cause that affects every person on the planet. I understand dress codes, I really understand that point when conducting professional business and that is fine, and however, I find it more embarrassing and shameful that the city does NOT outwardly support breast cancer awareness. Where I used to live, in another state, in a far-away place, Police Officers wore pink lapel pins, or wristbands, fire fighters wore pink accessories, and so on. It was not found upon and actually encouraged. What a terrible shame.

  6. Itchey says:

    Blame the Lawyers. This reaction from management likely has more to do with liability than cause. Without the support or approval of management the “Pink Boots” regardless of value, become “Contraband” not because of what they represent, but because without approval then allowing Lenny to wear the boots opens the door to every other employee who works for the city can now wear whatever they want, and if they are punished, they can point to Lenny and yell discrimination.
    Lenny do the right thing, get managements support for your cause and demonstrate your caring and compassion for your beliefs. You are doing the right thing, just follow the “Rules of the Road”.

  7. truth says:

    If they don’t let Grocki wear his pink for October I think we should all pay our water bills in person in November. With pennies that we spray painted pink.

  8. SomebodyElse says:

    This is ridiculous. Because the city has a dress code to adhere to they dont support breast cancer awareness? Get a clue! Obey the dress code and show your support on your own time.

  9. LJ Miller says:

    I am 11 years old and my Grandma Had her Breast removed last year. I was the only Boy who wore a PINK mouth piece on my Flagler Falcon Football Team . I played with pride that day for my Grandma while she was at home in pain and recovering from her surgery. My mom had the coaches wife take a picture of me and my mouth piece and sent it to her so she could feel like she was at my game with me.I Love my Grandma and the whole month of October is PINK. I am LJ s Mom ,I support this ,Breast Cancer and the PINK boots. Mr Zaleski when you get a better explanation please let my son know your answer ….Shame on you.

  10. The fact is... says:

    The fact is Mr. Zaleski is a very easy going guy, he is very patriotic and supportive of many things. If Mr. Grocki would have gone through the proper chains in advance to October 1st I’m sure the city would have let him wear something pink with no problems and most likely good support. I’m all for Breast cancer awarness but lets face it, In a place like the city you have to follow the rules and guidlines! But hey more power to you Mr. Grocki, I’m with you but, with a ribbon on Monday.

  11. The fact is... says:

    By the way not saying what Mr. Zaleski said or did was the right thing to do he could have brought it higher and handled it a bit more sensitievly. Just wanted to point out that I wasn’t saying his actions were the correct ones.

  12. Jacqui says:

    I am appalled at this time in our economy that someone is doing something for others is being reprimanded. I have sent an email to Richard Adams and I encourage all breast cancer survivors and their families to do the same. These are PUBLIC employees and their uniform should reflect service to the public. Well I am the public and it makes me happy, as a survivor, to see a man supporting and spreading the word about the cause.

    By the way Mr. Zaleski and Mr. Adams, in case you have not heard, breast cancer has NOT been cured, it has NOT gone away, and just because their mother passed away 6 years ago, does NOT make this a past issue. I PRAY you never have someone in your family develop breast cancer. For Mr. Grocki and people like myself, we live with it forever. Losing his mother is not something that ever goes away, and I commend him for paying honor to his mother by doing what little he can to keep breast cancer out in front, and in peoples minds, till the day we have a cure. THUMBS UP Mr. Grocki, THUMBS DOWN to his supervisor and management!

  13. Tiana says:

    I AM PROUD TO SAY THIS IS MY UNCLE/GODFATHER; I am so proud of him and what he goes for my grandmother and all of the other cancer patients, survivors and people we have lost to cancer.
    I am so glad you stood your ground!!!

  14. What The? says:

    “Mayor Jon Netts was not aware of the issue. “I’m sure the city has a dress code for its employees,” he said. “I can’t imagine that pink shoe laces would be a violation, or a lapel pin, or a ribbon. I don’t know.”

    It is scary that the Mayor does not even know city policy. Does he not make city policy. This continued lack of awareness shows how much we need a change in city leadership.

  15. Teresa Grocki says:

    As I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks, reading The wonderful notes of support, I can only say my younger brother LENNY GROCKI has a heart of gold; he is a real man’s man; I KNOW our mother is smiling down at him right now. We were ALWAYS taught to obey the rules…BUT…the world knows this is a terrible disease and awareness by a MAN makes it all the more imnportant…just read what they’ve said above!
    ALL I have to say is I visited him & his wife for 10 days in September. EVERY DAY Lenny went to work in COMPLETE uniform, clean and neat, showered and presentable; He is NOT a “rule breaker” or “troublestarter”…all he is doing is showing respect and TELLING people he encounters – albeit by color pink – to get checked! and YES, MEN CAN GET BREAST CANCER TOO! You go Lenny…I am so proud of you.
    THERE IS a bigger issue here: listen to what Lenny says they are told on a daily basis “you are lucky you even have a job”…SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY? please check out what’s REALLY going on in PC Utilities.

  16. Teresa Grocki says:

    all I NEED to say is: Randy…YOU are lucky YOU have Lenny IN that job! not that he should be happy HE HAS a job…YOU are the lucky one Randy, to have Lenny there on your team.

  17. Colleen says:

    Unbelievable bureaucratic tunnel vision. SHAME, SHAME on you!

  18. Melanie says:

    Shame on you City of Palm Coast.

  19. Devrie says:

    It’s understandable that he has to wear an appropriate uniform, but does their policy say anything about the color of their workboots? If not, than can’t he argue that he IS properly uniformed? The color just becomes subjective.

  20. Jacqui says:

    I have sent email to Richard Adams and voices my unhappiness with their decision, and my disappointment in their “policy” enforcement. While I respect their need for standards, to allow someone to wear something one time and then tell them not to another is just wrong. While I can see their issue with the boots, Mr. Grocki did it to boots he bought and paid for, so no harm no foul. I have an issue with them singling out Breast Cancer Awareness to make their point. Mr. Grocki is not a renegade, he just did something in a quiet way that he had been allowed to do before. The management, had this been an issue, should have said something to FIRST time. I have emailed all the major media venues, including the Today Show, NBC, CBS, ABC, WESH 2, etc. Send emails if you do not agree with this. Let them hear from the public!

  21. Reinhold Schlieper says:

    Hmmm. Isn’t that fundamentally a first-amendment issue? No person can be told to suppress his or her voice in any matter. We also communicate with signs and symbols. The Supreme Court has fairly consistently supported that route, even in the case of outright hate-speech. I don’t think that the City of Palm Coast has a leg to stand on in this case and is likely to lose a considerable amount of legal fees if someone takes this on. May I recommend running this issue past a watchdog organization such as the ACLU perhaps?

  22. DieselFitter says:

    I support Lenny Grocki’s support. I wear a pair of Pink Argyle knee-high sox which have become a Trademark; “friends” have put my head onto all sorts of Avatars on Flagler websites, showing Diesel in PINK of all sorts– ever-since one of our Friends/Member had a double-mastectomy about 5 years ago; she now has a new set of “girls”, and is a Survivor. I live in Palm Coast; i saw Lenny working in my neighborhood, in his PinkBoots AND in his Official uniform: there was NO QUESTION that he was a legitimate employee of the city [i didn’t need to ask to see his Credentials]; there was NO Security/Safety concern. RANDY ZALESKI (Grocki’s “supervisor”) is The One who needs to be Reprimanded, Demoted, or better-yet: GIVEN A PINK SLIP. [“Reduction In Force” would save the City money; especially if THIS escalates and requires Attorney Fees.]

  23. Pierre Tristam says:

    Actually Reinhold I think the city is technically and legally in the right: it has a dress code and has the right to impose it the way the military, the police and our growing obsession with uniform-fetished schools have the right to impose theirs. The issue here is not one of uniform: Grocki did not alter any of it except the boots, and when the boots were ordered removed, he removed them. He then switched to pink laces and socks, at which point the city, while still in the absolute strictest sense able to make a case for not only a uniform but also colors worn, lost the argument on moral and pragmatic grounds, even if still not on legal grounds. This is a case of tone-deaf rule-making. It has more to do with arbitrary authority, which appears to be a rote reflex in some circles of the Palm Coast administration, than enabling what is after all a fair way of being part of a nationally (and locally) recognized campaign. The city was just clueless on this one. But it’s emblematic of a larger issue at the city: when you have a city manager who likes his edicts served cold, issues like this are inevitable. This one merely happened to surface. I suspect there’s plumes like it lying beneath.

  24. Larry says:

    … The Truth is like a beautiful ray of sunshine… and it unveils the corporate elite mentality and power mindset that more of us are becoming aware of… the very same corporations that produce the toxic products that cause cancer tell us they are fighting it… and we march in the walk-a-thons like innocent lemmings in pink… as they hand out the cute pink buttons as if this is the solution to your problems… it’s all a pink pacifier… it’s all a distraction just to keep us moving along… they know the toxic chemicals industry dumps in the river will save the corporations money, and kill millions… it’s the ‘stock price’ that corporations are concerned about… Healthy Life on Earth just interferes with their profit model spread sheet… ‘we the people’, are only worth something to them if we have good insurance… sad that it takes us a lifetime to understand what we knew in our Hearts as children…

  25. NOT OUT OF THE WOODS says:


  26. WTF? says:

    This is ridiculous. If the city officials support this behavior they need to be voted out of office. How can ANYBODY justify not supporting this man or this cause?
    Technically they may be right – but morally, they’re just plain stupid.

  27. chelekell says:

    This is entirely ridiculous.How can work boots painted pink or pink shoelaces effect one’s job? Also, if Lenny did this last year, why the big fuss this year? I was at a softball tournament last weekend the ref’s all wore pink shirts, and the girls played with pink softballs. Personally, my dog gets her tail painted pink every year for the month. These things are done to bring about awareness & support for breast cancer research and for the people we know who have survived, and those we have lost, due to breast cancer. I lost my Grandmother to breast cancer in 1979, and I fully support Mr. Grocki.

  28. starfyre says:

    i heavily believe that if you DO NOT adhere to dress code at a job-you should be FIRED!!

    awareness month or not—-they set dress codes for a reason—-if someone does not follow that code they should be repremanded or fired!!

  29. starfyre says:

    Dear Ms. Courtney,

    First of all, I want to tell you how sorry I am to hear of your experience and commend you for having the strength to fight the hard fight.

    Secondly, you need not remind me of the horrors of cancer. I grew up without a father because of cancer. He died before his 40th birthday, I was eight years old. And yes, I have witnessed the pain of treatment. I clearly remember standing at his bedside – for months.

    But this issue is not about support, it is about the method the employee went about it. The newspapers never tell the whole story. We have many employees who work very hard in selfless support of very important causes – often with significant participation from City management. The process is not bureaucratic, it’s necessary if an employee wishes to deviate from policy and expect support from management.

    Policies are established for a reason. While this employee’s display might seem harmless or not at all inappropriate, what’s to say the next guy’s will be? You just can’t have renegade employees doing their own thing.

    If the employee truly wants to raise awareness, maybe he should go through the procedure to get a real fundraiser approved. Instead of spending money on pink paint for work boots, maybe he should purchase official symbols like lapel pins or bracelets and that way other employees can participate and his money will actually go to research that will work towards a cure.


    how silly of me to think i can create a huge windfall of drama over this,after all i am only 1 person–1 god above you all

  30. Tonya says:

    STOP MAKING THIS BIGGER THEN IT IS….people should know the story before judging, City had dress codes…MANY places do, if you do not follow them you are usually let go. Everyone supports the cause that is not the issue….the issue is this employee LENNY doesn’t listen and feels that he should be his own boss. The supervisors were doing there job but NOT downing the cause, most people in Palm Coast would not want to see some person that works for the city wearing Bright PINK shoes, he should have found another way to support the cause.

  31. Jay Weisburd says:

    There was once a long haired hippie who defied the norm of the day. He stood up to the narrow minded whose legalism had led to the slavery and captivity of God fearing people.
    Lenny Groski does not see himself as the new Jesus Christ but he is a soldier in the modern war against Breast Cancer.
    He is doing nothing more than the NFL is doing with their pink gloves or others are doing with their pink ties, pink shirts, ribbons et al.
    Yes there is a regulation and yes Lenny Grocki could have expressed himself another way, but if you go to church or pray or believe in Jesus, remember you are justifiably giving your praises, prayers and faith to a man who had the courage to stand up and cry out, to awaken and alert a crowd and get support for a noble cause. Len Grocki sees himself merely as a man who wants us to save American lives.
    As a man dying of kidney failure, as one who has been the spokesperson for families whose children died of leukemia-cancer of the bloodstream, as the son and exhusband of cancer victims and as a Messianic Jew who believes wholeheartedly in God who spoke to us through His son about how persecution for the sake of righteousness is a blessing I thank Lenny Grocki for bringing his cause to the public’s eye.

  32. Barbara Taylor says:

    September 18th to 24th is prostate cancer awareness week. Maybe next year Lenny can be a little more outrageous and wear rubber gloves with his pink boots.

  33. AC its a shame says:

    To The City of Palm Coast Utility Department, It is a shame that your employees are not allow to participate in breast cancer awareness, Million of people die every year from this devasting desease. Our community is working very hard to make as many people aware of cancer, early detection can save a person life.s
    What does the City of Palm Coast Utilty Dept Allow. He was allow to wear his pink boots last year.
    what about letting your employee wear a breast awareness pin.

  34. J.G.P.S. says:

    Barbara Taylor shame on you! People like yourself that have such negative thing’s to say about such a caring individual such as Lenny, should’nt have the right to walk this earth!! Have a miserable life. You deserve it!

  35. PINK ROCKS!!!!!!!!!! says:

    City policies are a joke in this place. Management doesn’t even follow them! You have department heads that wear their college football shirts,and the harley davidson shirts that deal with the public every day as well! You also have the (safety person) that doesn’t that never wears the recommended safety boots that are part of the uniform! Or the guy that comes to work for the past couple of years so high off of pain meds that he can’t even walk!! They all know about it yet nothing is ever said to these people. Where is your POLICY ENFORCEMENT for these people? Lenny i support you all the way!! Wish i was still there i would wear pink to support you and the cause PINK ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Helene Kelleher says:

    Are these pink work boots really placed with a highly regarded art gallery in the city of Palm Coast? Wow they will eventually get national attention. What does the color of someone’s workbootts have to do with his or her job performance anyway? I’m sure my brother-in-law knows what he’s doing! He has always has the need to help those when in need and would always stand up for what he believes in. I think anyone who is trying to bring awareness to Breast Cancer or any Cancer for that matter should be highly praised for doing so. I also believe that there can and should be a cure for the disease. The only reason there is’nt one at the present is probably due to the crooked insurance and pharmaceutical companies, which are robbing millions of our innocent citizens of their dignity. I applaud my brother-in-law for continung his endeavor! Go Lenny!!!

  37. seeing pink says:

    To Starfyre: What employee would think that they have to go to management in order to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Do they have to go to management to get permission to support Black History Month, Christmas, Memorial Day? The issue here is the ignorance of the city. The city should have spearheaded the support for Breast Cancer Awareness in the community and encouraged all employees and businesses in PC to do the same. This incident has shed light on a bigger issue here which the lack of a sense of community in Palm Coast. There are many great organizations and people in this community but I do not see very much support from the city or the major companies that are located in PC. I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt that hopefully one day you would have something intelligent or helpful to say, but I have yet to read it and probably never will.

  38. OldCdog says:

    I’m reminded of this old quotation:

    “Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.”

    — Honore de Balzac

  39. howard huge says:

    it’s a slippery slope for the city as I see it…..obviously supporting Cancer Awareness is a noble cause but where does it end..does the city then have to allow an employee to wear a Glenn Beck mask during Mental Retardation awareness month? or a Buckwheat wig during Black history month? or allow them to wear condoms pinned to their uniform to show their support for national STD Awareness month? sounds stupid right but that’s whats going to happen….the he did it so why can’t I do it defense.

  40. J.G.P.S. says:

    To the city of Palm Coast : How can you question Lenny’s integrity it’s not like he hit a car in Publix parking lot!!! Go out inspected the damage, then moved the car into a different spot away from the evidence!! Went in to do shopping, then snuck away without reporting the incident to anyone!!!!!! Didn’t someone in your City Council perform such an atrocity!!! Doesn’t she still collect a pay check from Palm Coast????? And yes, I’m speaking out about Mary Di Stefano ! What is wrong with this big picture??
    It’s time to wake up Palm Coast!! Stop being such stuffed shirt’s. If we had more people in Palm Coast like Lenny Grocki it would be a happier place to live. Think about it!!!!

  41. Janice" I'm on his team" says:

    To howard huge:
    We’re not talking about Halloween costume’s, we are talking about pink safety shoe’s! You made a good point, if Lenny is doing it for a good cause then why should’nt everyone join in this wonderful cause. Because they are too afraid of their job’s being jeopadized ? This is quite sad. What’s sadder , is that Palm Coast allow’s certain employee’s to observe casual Friday while not everyone is permitted! You said it yourself, the he did it, so why can’t I defense.

  42. Fair & Balanced says:

    This is a black eye for Palm Coast. Mr. Landon sould look at his bullying management team and inept H.R. department and start earning the $218,296.00 he is being paid.

  43. Anonymous says:

    this is bs and it is true we are told all the time be grateful u have a job good for u lenny

  44. Anonymous says:

    i dont get this ..they do sell pink work boots(for women) does employee hand book specify wat color you have to wear hmmmm.. i think not u go lenny

  45. Barney Smythe says:

    There’s a reason it’s called a UNIFORM. Look up the definition. To compare it to what the NFL did, is apples and oranges. The WHOLE NFL changed the UNIFORM not just one player.

  46. WHERES THE POLICY? says:

    starfyre and everyone else who keeps saying there is a dress code policy… Does this policy include a specific color of workboots?
    I understand there is a shirt and shorts that has to be followed but they give $90 to buy work shoes, do not specify which kind.

  47. Anonymous says:

    they do, only says steel toed.. as to the nfl comment gime a break

  48. Anonymous says:

    and if uniform includes boots shoes they should supply all one kind then

  49. Liana G says:

    It’s called Breast Cancer AWARENESS Month for a reason. To raise AWARENESS of the issue. – caring and compassionate conservatives – another new speak term. Lenny you’ve made me proud!

    Bleeding Heart Liberal

  50. Doreen says:

    GOD Bless you Lenny and keep up the good work! There should be MORE people like you that show their love, support and concern for cancer and/or any other diseases! Any one person that does NOT agree with what you are doing should be ASHAMED of themselves. Unfortunately, TOO many people have been affected by cancer whether directly or indirectly and some people unfortunately just don’t “get it” until it hits home which I would NEVER wish on anyone; just saying!!!!
    I support YOU 100%………………………..

  51. Janet L. says:

    Lenny Grocki is a class act. The City of Palm Coast should be proud of him. If a utility worker showed up at my house in pink shoes, to show support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would raise my respect of him and the company for which he works.

  52. Ellen S says:

    Mr. Grocki should be applauded for his commitment to end cancer and Mr. Zaleski and Mr. Adams should be ashamed of themselves.
    They talk about public perception… would a cancer stricken customer feel if Mr. Grocki walked into her home wearing pink boots in support of ‘her’??
    As a previous reader mentioned I, too, feel like it is an ego thing for Misters Zaleski and Adams. They weren’t asked if it could be done so they pulled the string.
    Obviously Misters Zaleski and Adams have no one in their family’s that are suffering from this dreaded disease, otherwise their choice might be different.

    Everyone that works with Mr. Grocki should go out and buy pink socks and shoelaces this weekend and wear them on Monday not only in support of breast cancer awareness but in support of someone that is trying to make a change and is being THREATENED by doing so.

    More power to you Mr. Grocki. I hope your superiors never have to suffer losing a loved one to cancer as you have but I certainly hope they gain a sense of compansion!!!

  53. Gene Murphy says:

    call there bluff go in to work with regular uniform dye your hair pink see what happen’s then

  54. Donna Howell (Burns) says:

    I noticed the Miami Dolphins wearing pink gloves. Not sure which team, but a baseball pitcher had a pink glove. The city should just get over itself and be proud they have a person like Lenny who is willing to stand up for what he believes in working for them. This is America.

  55. Tea bagger says:

    Gene, many of Lennys friends and co workers would love to show the kind of support that he deserves. Unfortunately they were reminded 2 weeks ago by Mr Landon that now isn’t the time not follow rules written or otherwise. It would be very easy to replace you if you do.

    Lenny obviously didn’t realize he would be breaking an unwritten rule. What a shame! Good employee, good employees being talked down to by a person that makes $218,000 (higher salary then 45 state govenors).

    It will be nice to see the current city council members and city manager removed from office and employees may get a break from this style of 60’s management.

  56. Thanks Lenny says:

    Mr Llandon, I only wish you showed the character Mr Grocki does. Mr Grocki stands for something do you?

    You are known for freezing employees salaries, reducing employees benefits, altering employees work schedules to save 15 min to 2 hrs overtime, decreasing their health care while increasing their out of pocket, threatening their livelyhood.
    While offering a shop owner on Bulldog drive $1,000,000 for a piece of property valued at $450,000 just to have a WOW entrance to Town Center that is light years away thanks to the 17% unemployment rate in our City and County.
    Come on citizens its time to wake up to what’s going on here. VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks Lenny!

  57. Jenn Kuiper says:

    Awareness is great but if you want to do something AWESOME, sign up for the Love/Avon Army of Women. Once you sign up you can actually choose whether or not to participate in surveys and research about breast cancer prevention. It’s a great group and you don’t have to have had breast cancer in order to participate. I participate even though I haven’t had breast cancer. My mom is a two-time survivor and she participates too. There are still studies that need to be filled. For example, they’re still trying to find new mom’s willing to send in samples of their breast milk in order to asses breast cancer risk. They’re also looking for women who already know they have the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation. And there’s one study that looks at why more African American women are being diagnosed and dying of breast cancer than their European American women counterparts. All of these studies and more still need to be filled! Consider signing up and learning more today at :)

  58. Peggy says:

    Not only does Lenny needs applauds for this act..he should be given merit of recognition from Breat Cancer awareness committee..and a HUGE apology from his company…I firmly belive that this should be WORLDWIDE BC awareness and EVERYONE should shine in PINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!so many more things to be upset about in this world~ and recognizing the terrible devastation of Breast cancer is not one to be ignored..
    Kudos to lenny!!!

  59. A Voter says:

    The only way to remove the council members who are identified as undesirable is through a recall.
    There is a provision in the city charter for such action.

    Removing the town manager may not solve the problem because he will only be replaced with another manager who at the direction of the town council may also be over paid.

    This town should be represented by a strong mayor type of government. Not a strong council type of government. The mayor would be elected by, report to, salary set by those who elect the mayor.

    Most of the voters in Palm Coast are far too passive to engage in that process.

    Soooo it looks like the citizens are stuck with a town manager who makes more money that a majority of mayors in the ten largest cities in the US and more than the governor of the State of Florida.

  60. amazing says:

    It’s amazing what gets the attention of Mr. Zaleski. I have heard that there are much more important issues getting swept under the rug, Aren’t their mr. Zaleski. should we bring them out here or is all this going away?

  61. Fair Minded says:

    I think this thing has gotten way out of control. Where does it say that Mr.Landon or the City does not surpport breast cancer awareness? For one example – The City supports Relay for Life all the time. THAT group went through the procedure and got permission to do it. The City has a procedure in place to ask for permission to do exactly this kind of thing. It appears Mr. Grocki feels he is exempt. On what planet would pink PAINTED (imagine how they must look after a week or two) boots are part of the uniform. Did I see that the City pays $90 towards the boots? Where I come from that would make the boots part of the uniform and considered altering company owned property and you’d get fired. Does he take the paint off after November? Does he even have to? All sorts of companies has dress codes and from what I gather here, the City has one that is determined by the department and any variations must be approved by the supervisor. Why did he not do it that way? I heard they have bake sales and the money goes to American Cancer, relays etc. If I felt like I wanted to send a message to support the humane society and could get attention by wearing big fluffy doggie slippers, how’d that fly? I think his heart is in the right place but he appears to be the kind of guy who likes to push the limits. I feel bad for that Mr. Salezki I’ll bet this Lenny character is just that … a character.

  62. DieselFitter says:

    Sorry about your sorry allegations, FairMinded. I have known Lenny Grocki personally for many years. He is NOT a confrontational person; he did this on the job (2010 is the SIXTH Year in a row) in remembrance of his mother who died from a LONG Battle of breast cancer; Lenny spent more than 3 agonizing 24-hour days at her deathbedside, he flew to New York to be with her and 3 of his siblings– when he couldn’t afford to do it. Lenny’s shoes (if you took the time to read the article above) are FEETured at the art gallery which happens to be in CityWalk directly above the City of Palm Coast offices; the shoes are still in TipTop shape. Lenny has NO axe to grind, but Randy Zaleski [who keeps reminding HIS underlings: “you should be glad you have a job”] is the ONE who made an ISSUE of this situation. I hope the city FIRES Lenny– THEN you will see… And the City of Palm Coast will have a Bigger Issue than having Disgruntled Citizens complaining about CodeEnforcement or the RedLight Cameras. HOW COULD THIS HAVE BEEN DEFUSED? Supervisor Zaleski could have listened to Grocki’s explanation of WHY he was doing it, and “Personnel” / “Human Resources” could have mediated– instead of saying, “You have to do what your supervisor says.” Your allegation that “he [Lenny] appears to be the kind of guy who likes to push the limits” is SO inaccurate. Hey, “Fair Minded”: don’t be so COVENous.

  63. aware says:

    one thing i’ve noticed here is
    1. the man did not alter his uniform because no where is boot color specified. and he did it to boots he purchased himself. and
    2. he was not fund raising on city time,unlike the relay for lif people who take half a work day to set up fund raisers instead of they’re jobs don’t get me wrong still good cause but lenny is only helping to spread awareness.

  64. Kaye Bowman says:

    Lenny, thank you, please know if we worked together, I would be standing beside you in pink boots, along with my bright pink hair. I too work with a dress code, but I am blessed to have understanding management.

    I did not ask permission, I did what I believe in, calling attention to Breast Cancer awareness.

    My mother believed in her annual mammograms, and due to her awareness her cancer was caught in the early stages. She was blessed to have come through radiation with a small scar and family who is very proud of her vigalance.

    Pins are cute, but I want people to ask me why is your hair pink, so I may tell them my mothers story, hoping that it makes an impression, and maybe another family will be blessed to have their loved one around a little bit longer.

    Lenny You have to whats right for you and your family, but please know that there are people out here that believe in you, than in any dress code.

  65. Co-Worker says:

    take it to the news journal, take it to the observer! well, he took it to flagerlive , now they say, he took it too far. No chance of a union at the utility department!

  66. A nobody! says:

    problems are running rampant at the water company

  67. fair minded says:

    Cov´in`ous (k?v´?n-?s). a. 1. (Law) Deceitful; collusive; fraudulent; dishonest.

    I think DieselFitter called me a liar. Pretty strong, I believe. I called a friend who works for the city and she told me that the policy is very simple and that it clearly states it’s got to be approved by the supervisor. I have lost a grandmother to breast cancer, my two sisters have had cancer one of them a verison that has involved over 20 surgeries. My brother was diagnosed with lymphoma, so I know the pain cancer causes. I wear my pin, I give $ to American Cancer Society but don’t to to work in all pink fuzz and sequins to prove MY point. If the citypaid for most of the boots, didn’t he destroy city property? Human Resources job is to abide by the policy and procedures, not arbitrate disagreements. If the policy needs to be changed then tell Lenny and other employees to work that way, the right way!

  68. enlightenu says:

    fair minded…consider yourself lucky DieselFitter didn’t call you worse. He’s been known to call women any number of vulgar names – that is why he is banned from every local message board.

    I admire what Lenny is doing and I think his boss should let it go. He could have let it pass this one time and then issued a memo saying that in the future ANY changes to uniform have to be approved first. Simple solution. The way it was handled sounds like a childish power trip. Who wants a boss like that?

  69. starfyre says:

    a dress code is a dress code….

    either follow the rules or get to walkin…….

  70. enlightenu says:

    Thanks for the warning. Guess I’ll thank my lucky stars that I’m a liar and that’s all … I am one of those people who will fight for other people’s rights to the end, but ONLY if they go about it the right way. I would fight for his right to wear pink shoes if he had gone about it through their policies and been denied. But to show up with them (an my friend who works there, told me he was told not to) in spite of what his supervisors tell him is just a bad employee, if you ask me. I’ll probably take a lot of heat for that statement but there are laws, rules, policies and we need to abide by them or go elsewhere OR fight to change them. I’m sure he hasn’t endeared himself to City Management by getting a slanted view of HIS story all over the place. Sometimes, life is not fair … it is our job to work to make it as fair as we can, but not by breaking the rules or smashing the reputations of our superiors, it is by working towards change, as a gentleman first and dforemost.

  71. rukiddingme says:

    i find it amusing that Diesel Fitter feels compelled to ask his own brother for credentials. guess he has known his brother for a while!

  72. enlightenme says:

    Superiors do a fine job of smashing their own reputations as recently demonstrated………as for HR not responsible for arbitrating employee isssues I disagree. If not HR then who???
    City policy as written is very broad with employee involvement non existent. A team will be formed and follow the wishes of the city manager, if he’s replaced in a year, the employees are stuck with his lame policies.

  73. dieselfitter says:

    i wear rasians underwear for fun–i like wearing pink women’s underwear!!!

  74. enlightenu says:

    rukiddingme…maybe his brother doesn’t acknowledge the relationship!

  75. rukiddingme says:

    would you blame him?

  76. enlightenu says:

    rukiddingme…no, I wouldn’t blame him at all.

  77. Tiana says:


  78. Newbie says:

    1st – does the dress code specify the color boots to be worn?
    2nd- if this isn’t the first year he has worn them why wasn’t it addressed the first time? Why now?

    Set limits. Why does this have to come down to the guy keeping his job? Really! He’s not in grade school!

    Wow, this ‘retirement’ community needs a new hobbie!

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