|Oh yes, Coca-Cola has a bottle celebrating 50 Years Forward... the true emancipation of blacks in the victory of Birmingham, allowing a black-run city government to discriminate against whites at every turn|
And by "liberated," we mean the ability the unfettered ability to legally discriminate against the sons and daughters of their vanquished white foes [Another Birmingham employee alleges racism at City Hall, seeks federal intervention, The Birmingham News, July 10, 2013]:
Another longtime Birmingham city employee has filed a federal charge of discrimination alleging racism, professional humiliation and retaliation within Mayor William Bell's administration.
An EEOC charge is the first step before an individual may file a federal discrimination lawsuit.
In the charge sent to the Equal Opportunity Commission today, Charles Yates, a supervisor in the Public Works Department, says his problems began when Bell took office.
Yates, who is white, claims he was forced to take a lower-paying position and demeaned, including being told to stay out of City Hall or take a service elevator when in the building.
"Within days, my supervisor Adlai Trone, Director of Public Works, informed me that Chief of Operations (Jarvis)Patton issued a directive forbidding me to appear in City Hall for any reason," Yates' complaint alleges. "I was instructed that should I be called to City Hall, I was to arrange for one of my subordinate supervisors to handle the call. Approximately two weeks later, Public Works Director Trone reminded me again that the Mayor's Office did not want to see my face at City Hall."
Yates alleges his treatment further deteriorated when he spoke out against racism at the city, specifically regarding long-time city accountant Virginia Spidle who waged a protracted legal battle with the city to keep her job.
Spidle won her appeal to regain her job and now has a pending federal discrimination lawsuit against the city.
"While I am not a plaintiff in the Spidle litigation, I did assist and actively participate in this litigation by reporting similar acts of racial discrimination to which I had been subjected during the same time period (2010-2013)," Yates wrote in his complaint. "The discrimination that I endured was hurtful and took a toll on my health over the years."
Spidle was fired twice on allegations of racism and incompetence. She won her job back, then in January slapped the city with a federal lawsuit saying it was Bell's administration that was the true perpetrator of racial discrimination.
Spidle's lawsuit alleges that the city has a pattern of discrimination and retaliation against white employees.
The city normally does not comment on pending litigation.
Efforts to reach Chuck Faush, Bell's chief of staff, city attorney Thomas Bentley and Chief of Operations Jarvis Patton about the latest legal action from Yates were unsuccessful. Calls and messages to Patton and Faush were not returned.Yates' attorney, Gayle Gear, is the same lawyer representing Spidle in her legal saga with the city.
"We are asking the EEOC to conduct an onsite investigation of the employment practices described in this charge," Gear said in an interview with AL.Com/The Birmingham News. "We believe the city has violated the anti-retaliation provision of federal law."
Yates was a key worker in building the city's traveling 1963 civil rights exhibit on tour this year. And while the exhibit was designed to show a contrast of Birmingham's past to its progressive present, Yates' complaint paints a different picture inside City Hall.
"Our Birmingham history conveys important lessons, not the least of which is that people should not be judged by the color of their skin," Yates wrote in his complaint.
"Our 50 of progress is based on this important lesson. It is because of this, I felt an obligation to assist in the legal process designed to remedy discriminatory employment practices."
From July 2010 until May 2013 Yates was the city's facility manager responsible for overseeing repairs and maintenance at all City properties, including Crossplex, Legion Field and park and recreation buildings.
Yates said he was treated fairly under former Mayors Richard Arrington, Bernard Kincaid and Larry Langford, but things changed dramatically under the Bell administration. That includes an alleged meeting where he was intimidated by Patton and other senior city officials.
"Patton questioned me about allegations in the Spidle complaint that were attributed to me though my name was not mentioned in the complaint. Patton repeatedly asked me to concede that he had treated me 'right.' This I could not do and would not do. Indeed Patton knew full well that it was contrary to what I revealed in the Spidle complaint," Yates wrote in the complaint.
Yates said he gave up his appointed management position and instead sought a civil service position after he was stripped of his responsibilities. He feared being fired otherwise.
Yates describes eventually standing up for his own civil rights after longtime mistreatment, telling Bell that he would no longer use the back elevator or hide his presence at City Hall.
He said Patton offered to allow him back into senior management, but he declined, no longer trusting the administration and preferring to remain under the protection of the Jefferson County Personnel Board.
"I continue to worry that my job is in jeopardy for having revealed in Spidle's federal discrimination suit the mistreatment that I had endured over the years," he wrote.
Gear said it was sad irony that Yates supervised a project commemorating the fight for civil rights and equal opportunities, but was himself the victim of mistreatment based on race.
"Sadly, the actions engaged in by city leaders jeopardize the progress made by our good citizens over the past 50 years," Gear said. "We cannot continue to boast, build statues and hold celebrations when employees are mistreated because of the color of their skin. It was wrong 50 years ago, it's equally wrong today."
Meanwhile, the Birmingham City Council is taking on challenges like the proliferation of payday loan businesses. Councilwoman LaShunda Scales complained that payday loans "are the number one product the city offers to its citizens."
From the top down, considering the racial breakdown of Birmingham city jobs, data indicate that blacks are fully empowered in the sphere of government. Whites are 22% of the city's population, and hold 27% of public jobs (1180 of a total of 4273). Blacks are 73.4% of the population and hold 71.3% of public jobs (3051).
On the surface, this is surprisingly close parity between population percentage and representation in government jobs. However, serious racial disparities remain within several city departments. For instance, the City Council has 35 black staff members, but only four whites; in the Mayor's office there are 75 black and 12 white employees; Municipal Court Department: 89 black and six white; Public Works: 827 black, 99 white; Parks and Recreation Department: 301 black, 43 white.