Discussion of City Manager Selection Reveals Allegations of Sexual Discrimination - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/6/04

Discussion of City Manager Selection Reveals Allegations of Sexual Discrimination

In light of recent racist accusations by the Hispanic community, Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal steps up and says race was not a factor into not hiring Tommy Gonzalez. The mayor raised a stack of federal documents and said they were the reason why.

"With regard to a specific candidate and with the advice from internal and external council, there was a consensus not to place the City of Lubbock in jeopardy due to the information that is contained in these two documents." Loose but candid. Mayor Marc McDougal tries to put an end to rumors racism played a part in the council's decision to start the city manager selection from scratch.

What does the mayor say is the real reason? The city's hashing out a settlement worth millions. Back in March, the city council directed Gonzalez to make cuts in city departments. That included firing employees. But when Gonzalez decided to fire one managing director, it would be a decision that would haunt him.

Sharlett Chowning filed a sex discrimination grievance late last year saying she was fired because of her age and sex. The U.S. Equal Employment Commission agreed. In the EEOC's investigation they questioned Gonzalez, gathered information, and found 12 reasons that Chowning was unlawfully laid off.

EEOC Sex Discrimination Ruling
Read the complete report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the City of Lubbock and Tommy Gonzalez.
More >>

Since Chowning's release, Mark Yearwood, a younger male, took over Chowning's job. He received a 10% raise and is making $812 less than what the city was paying Chowning.

According to Councilman Victor Hernandez, this isn't new information to the rest of the council, and is baffled as to why the mayor would use this against Gonzalez. "And yet, the council knew of this document they knew of the allegations they knew of the Sharlett Chowning issue and they still felt confident enough to go ahead and make him one of the final three?"

Gonzalez had this to say about accusations he fired one city employee based on her age and sex.

"We had over $20 million to make up and I was directed to balance the budget. I did so by cutting over 100 positions. I made cuts that did not impact core services to the public. None of these cuts were based on race, gender or age."

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