NORMANDY — A city that has seen months of political turmoil now faces a growing pile of lawsuits from former employees.
Three lawsuits since December accuse officials and employees of racism, sexism and retaliation against whistleblowers. If they are deemed credible, the city of Normandy could have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees.
It’s the latest controversy in a city that has faced a power struggle between Mayor Mark Beckmann and the majority of the city council that has included the mayor suing the council and the council threatening to remove him.
The first trial took place in the spring of 2021 when former public works director Kevin Gibson argued in federal court that he was fired as part of acting Mayor Maurice Hunt’s attempt to rid the city of white workers. . Hunt is black and Gibson is white.
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Former city clerk Sharon Warren and housing and police clerk Kathy Tracy filed similar complaints in their own federal lawsuit filed in January, accusing Hunt of making comments such as “Don’t hire white people” and creating a hostile work environment.
Hunt, who is now a city council member, told the Post-Dispatch he fired Warren and Tracy for cause and denied making discriminatory remarks.
“I would never say any of those things,” he said. “I’m fine with all white people. I believe in equal opportunity for all.
Police Sergeant. Tameika Sanders, a black woman, said discriminatory attitudes persisted in the city’s police department for different reasons. Sanders accuses the city and the police department of allowing a “hyper-sexualized atmosphere” where she was groped and assaulted by fellow officers.
At least two male officers exposed themselves to her and others made racist and sexist comments over a decade, according to her lawsuit.
Sanders was also not considered for promotions for which she was qualified, according to court documents.
She filed complaints with ministry officials, but said nothing had been done to stop her. Instead, she said she faced retaliation for raising the alarm, the lawsuit says.
In June 2021, the board tried to fire her in a closed meeting but was stopped by Beckmann, according to court documents. They held another meeting a month later and voted, illegally, to fire her.
sergeant. Scott Stuber, the city’s former licensing manager, also filed a lawsuit last month against the council and the police chief.
Stuber’s lawsuit said he warned Police Chief Mark Hall that discrimination and misconduct found during an investigation of Sanders’ complaints could jeopardize the department’s national accreditation.
Stuber was later suspended for an “unsubstantiated complaint” and fired in April 2021, a decision that his trial “was both discriminatory and retaliatory in response to (his) whistleblower.” He appealed, but the city’s police staff council did not inform him of its decision, the lawsuit says.
Other complaints have also been filed.
Last year, two black women, former Normandy human resources director Leslie Rogers and public works director Regina Fitzgerald, each filed complaints with the EEOC accusing the city of discrimination under Beckmann’s leadership.
Beckmann said last year in general terms that complaints about his leadership were part of “an orchestrated effort to undermine me”.
Beckmann declined to comment Friday and referred questions to City Attorney Anthony Gray, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday. Hall also did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Clarification: This story was updated at 3:35 p.m. to clarify information about police department promotions.