Emails from former Cherry Blossom Festival Finance Director Maria Garnto obtained by The Telegraph said Carswell bullied Garnto after Ferro fired Carswell’s daughter from a post at the festival.“I have been the target of workplace bullying for over two years at the hands of Pam Carswell,” Garnto wrote, contending that Carswell was sullying her reputation, trying to control her and unjustly accusing her of inappropriate and illegal business actions.
Ferro said things had gotten so bad by the summer of 2016 that he talked to the board about hiring a business consultant to interview the staff and devise a way to better work together.
“The staff at the Pink House were on pins and needles,” Ferro said.
Carswell reportedly responded so loudly that she could be heard upstairs in the building. Marks also sent emails to festival leaders about Carswell’s allegedly disparaging the appearance of another local beautification representative behind the woman’s back.
Carswell said the overheard remarks were taken out of context.
When Carswell began work in June 2012 as the beautification commission’s executive director, Richard D.
Brewer also was hired as Cherry Blossom president and CEO to replace Karen Lambert, who had resigned to take a position with the Peyton Anderson Foundation.
Five years ago, both organizations were on the brink of financial insolvency.
Board members for both groups felt having dual leadership would help shore them up.
The attorney’s request for documents pertaining to that meeting also mentioned discussion about Carswell’s perceived dissatisfaction.
She reportedly wasn’t happy with Ferro or “anybody that was sitting in that seat,” according to the legal document that paraphrased Fickling’s remarks.
“It was really not a healthy environment to work in,” Ferro said.