Tulsa World (Oklahoma)
BYLINE: KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
The city’s human rights director was placed on paid administrative leave in retaliation for her lawsuit against the city, her attorney said Friday. “I think it is an embarrassment as a citizen of this city,” said Tony Allen. “I think it is an embarrassment how blatantly they have retaliated against Lana Turner-Addison because they got away with it” in court. Turner-Addison was placed on paid administrative leave effective June 28 – less than two weeks after a federal judge threw out her civil rights lawsuit against the city.
“So they got that opportunity to stick it in her eye,” Allen said. “I think as a citizen that is embarrassing.” Allen said Addison-Turner is being punished for being a strong black woman who has stood up for herself and for others as the city’s human rights director. “It is 100 percent because of that,” he said. “This is the last city in the country that should be doing something like this. Tulsa has had a long history of race problems and just recently had a rash of race-related killings.” Allen was referring to the Good Friday shootings, in which two white men are accused of shooting five black people at random as they drove through a largely black area of Tulsa in the early hours of April 6. Three people were killed. “And here it is, the city leaders, (Mayor) Dewey Bartlett and his administration, going on a witch hunt,” he said. City spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said she could not discuss pending personnel actions. “The matter will be of public record once an outcome is determined,” she said. Turner-Addison’s annual salary is $95,587. Since she was placed on administrative leave, she has been paid more than $7,300, according to the city. Turner-Addison filed her civil-rights lawsuit against the city Sept. 30, claiming that she was wrongly disciplined in response to her filing a civil-service grievance against City Manager Jim Twombly. She had been assigned by Twombly to assemble and compile the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development five-year consolidated plan, according to the lawsuit. HUD refused to approve the plans, stating that they were “substantially incomplete and containing numerous errors and inaccuracies.” The lawsuit claimed that Turner-Addison met with Twombly regarding the shortcomings and alleged that Twombly made it clear that all the blame for the plan would be on her. Turner-Addison claimed in her lawsuit that during the meeting she felt that she was discriminated against because of her race and gender. A few months before the hearing, Turner-Addison had filed a grievance with the Civil Service Commission against Twombly in which she stated that he had created a hostile work environment. The Civil Service Commission held a hearing in March 2011 and ruled against Turner-Addison, stating that she failed to prove that she was a victim of racial discrimination in a hostile work environment. U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan found that Turner-Addison did not adequately show that the alleged deprivation of her constitutional rights occurred as part of an official policy of the city or was the result of actions taken by an official “with final policymaking authority.”
Copyright 2012 The Tulsa World