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Monday, July 25, 2005

Race relations in Springfield

Sunday's SJR ran an article about the City of Springfield's troubles in the matter of Gripper v. Springfield. (Experts: City suit has no legal basis; Judge tosses case where former city employee was sued for defamation.)

City attorney Jenifer Johnson and her deputies filed notice this week that they intend to appeal a federal judge's ruling that threw out the city's defamation suit against former employee Sarah Gripper.

Shortly after the current administration took office, Ms. Johnson was appointed to the position of corporation counsel. At the time, I had a lot of hope for the new legal department. I thought things couldn't possibly get as bad as they were with the previous city attorney who seemed to act only as that administration's "yes man." It appeared much of the legal advice he gave the city on some important cases was just what they wanted to hear, whether it was right or not. With this most recent move by the city attorney, it looks like my hopes are dashed.

The city countersued Gripper after she sued it for racial discrimination. The city's lawsuit said Gripper's suit has damaged its reputation and might discourage minorities from applying for city jobs.

The city has big time legal problems with its black police officers. In addition, the city is having trouble recruiting minorities for the police force. Case in point, the city recently hired 11 new officers, none of which are black. Ms. Gripper's law suit has nothing to do with any of those problems. To try and blame Ms. Gripper or her suit for these problems sounds like nothing more than lame excuses.

What I see is this current administration continuing the previous administration's practices.

The best thing right now would be for the city stop spending time and money on lawsuits where the city cannot possibly prevail. Then, it needs to own up to its own culpability in the degrading race relations with its employees. Then, figure out what needs to be done to fix the problem, and do it.

See also:

Posted by Marie at July 25, 2005 12:07 AM


Some Practical Suggestions.

Posted by: jeromeprophet at July 27, 2005 12:33 AM