Letter to the Editor: Non-disclosure Agreements

We have many government chief executives that interact with our lives every day; presidents of small villages like Sister Bay, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, mayors of cities like Sturgeon Bay, Algoma and Green Bay, the governor of the state of Wisconsin, the chief justice of our Supreme Court to name a few.

What if each of these executives were to decide that all employees under their respective supervision were to be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in which these employees are prohibited from making any adverse disclosure relative to these executives, the husbands or wives of these executives, their children, the spouses of their children, and/or any and all business that each and every one of these protected persons may be involved with.

Should any of these persons who are required to sign a NDA violate the terms of the NDA, who is going to initiate action against them? The executive benefiting from the NDA? The spouse or child of the executive? The business owned by the executive? The business owned by the spouse or child of the executive? The village, city, state of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Supreme Court, or other government entity that employees and pays the violating employee?

If a village employee is found to have violated the terms of a NDA relative to a tavern owned by the village president’s son, is that violating employee to be fired by the village (or city, or county, or the Supreme Court  as may apply?) Are we as citizens to be deprived of the service of a dedicated government employee because he/she violated the terms of a private NDA? Are we as citizens to be deprived of the best and brightest government servants because these servants refused to sign a NDA and are thus not employed.

Trump, as a businessman, was known to require employees to sign a NDA, he flaunts this. This matter has come up often since his administration has taken control of the government, and the Trump Administration has denied repeatedly that any Whitehouse employee is required to sign a NDA. Now it is revealed that almost every White House employee is required to sign one. Even any attorney, on the taxpayer payroll, whose job it was to represent the Office of the President, acknowledged recently that he was required to sign one, and did sign one.

Not one of these employees is on a Trump payroll, they are all on a taxpayer payroll. Not one of them has any appropriate function relative to any trump business, to any of the vice president businesses, to any of Trump’s sons or daughters businesses. But the all have a NDA liability relative to these entities.

This is a violation of the public trust that is beyond comprehension. It makes Jim Comey’s assertion that Trump asked him to pledge his personal loyalty child’s play. These NDA’s make these employee’s Trump’s personal serfs, and insures that many of America’s best and brightest are not today in the service of America (us).


Jim Riead

Egg Harbor, Wis.

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