9/11 memorial settles with man who queried safety

By Jennifer Peltz Associated Press

NEW YORK — The September 11 memorial has settled with a former manager who said he was fired for flagging health and security concerns at a place steeped in safety consciousness.

Thomas Cancelliere’s suit against the National September 11 Memorial and Museum was settled and closed earlier this month, court records show. Memorial representatives and Cancelliere’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, declined to discuss the terms.

The World Trade Center site memorial, which has drawn more than 8 million visitors since its outdoor plaza opened in September 2011, is by nature enveloped in concern for security. Police have a heavy presence throughout the surrounding area.

Cancelliere (pronounced can-sehl-YEHR’-ee) had said he lost his job as the memorial’s facilities director last year because he alerted bosses to problems including illness-causing bacteria in the memorial’s signature fountains, narrow exit gates that could hinder an evacuation and a lack of security checks at a public parking garage directly below the off-site room where memorial visitors are screened.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Cancelliere’s concern for the safety of visitors was not shared by his supervisors,” who told him the issues weren’t his responsibility or were being addressed, but they weren’t, his lawsuit said.

When the suit was filed, a memorial spokesman said that Cancelliere’s concerns were unfounded and that he had been dismissed for bad job performance.

The fountain water was never found to have the bacteria Cancelliere named, an algae problem was resolved and posed no danger, and the exit gates passed muster in a roster of regulatory reviews, the memorial said.

“We assure that the memorial is a safe, secure place,” spokesman Michael Frazier said at the time. He declined to add anything further Thursday in light of the settlement.

Cancelliere started working at the memorial in November 2010. He had previously retired as a plant and facilities manager for the World Trade Center.

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