Terminated FedEx Ground driver Barry Gilliam has immense support from the East Hampton community, but a rally that was being organized for Thursday to further lobby to FedEx to reinstate him was called off.
Valerie Smith, the owner of The Monogram Shop in East Hampton Village and one of his customers who organized the gathering, said she "wanted to wait for further clarification" about why FedEx severed their business relationship with Gilliam, a well-liked driver who had the route for 11 years.
On Wednesday, Erin Truxal, a Public Relations manager with FedEx Ground, released a second statement that refused Gilliam's reasoning for why he was found to be out of compliance with the company's regulations.
"The issue here was not whether Barry Gilliam, Inc., was registered as an S corporation or a C corporation, either are acceptable," Truxal said. "Out of respect for Barry Gilliam, we are not sharing all of the details of the situation; however, there were a number of issues that have not been shared regarding Barry Gilliam, Inc., and the reason FedEx Ground stopped doing business with the company."
On Thursday, Gilliam said he was surprised to hear both corporations were acceptable. "Maybe I'm wrong. I kept all the papers that my senior manager gave to me. He told me, 'Your corporation is in bad standing,'" he said. He said he is going over everything with his accountant. He reiterated that he was not angry with FedEx.
According to the State Division of Corporation, his company is dissolved, but he said, there are some things that don't line up with his personal information— such as the address associated with the company. "I need to get to the bottom of this," he said.
Smith said she felt the statement made the reason sound a bit nefarious. "It doesn't diminish anybody's support for the job that he did in terms of customer of service, but it does require further clarification in terms of details on the terms of the contract before we go any further in trying to get FedEx's attention," she said. No matter the reason, "that doesn't take away his hard work," she said.
Gilliam received a groundswell of support from East Hampton businesses and residents — some even threatened to boycott FedEx. Hundreds of his customers have written in on Patch, on Facebook, through Twitter and called FedEx directly demanding Gilliam be allowed to return to his route on East Hampton Village, Springs and Wainscott. A Facebook group titled, "We want Barry Gilliam reinstated at FedEx Ground," was formed and has 1,337 members.
Mary Croghan, an owner of East Hampton Business Service, said she had collected 289 signatures, by the end of Wednesday, on a petition for FedEx to reinstate him and still plans to send it off to FedEx at the end of the day (She said more people are welcome to come sign it).
Of FedEx's latest statement, "I was completely unmollified by it," she said, adding that it was well-crafted. "We all knew the company adheres to policy — it was not an out of hand move."
She said whatever the exact problem, "It's just an administrative snafu and the guy did not have enough time to resolve it," she said. "All we've ever asked for an extension of time, reinstate the contract time that's reasonable for the circumstance."
However, the statement from FedEx said, "Prior to ending the contract, FedEx Ground provided Barry Gilliam, Inc., many chances and months to correct the problems." The company said he was given "ample opportunity" to sell the business before the contract terminated.
"FedEx Ground values and appreciates the customer relationships built, and service provided by, Barry Gilliam and his company. Customer feedback and superior service is an essential part of our business," the statement also said.