Two former Black leaders now suing/filing complaints against the City
First former Police Chief RaShall Brackney, now former City Manager Tarron Richardson, are alleging racially motivated disparagement and retaliation.
While people celebrate the plaintiff's big win against white supremacy in the Sines v Kessler trial...now TWO former Black city leaders are suing/filing complaints against the city alleging, among other things, racially motivated disparagement and retaliation.
As the Daily Progress reports, "former Charlottesville City Manager Tarron Richardson has filed a federal lawsuit against City Council as well as Mayor Nikuyah Walker, councilor Heather Hill, City Attorney Lisa Robertson and former City Attorney and former Interim City Manager John Blair for allegedly violating the First Amendment.
As previously reported, former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney is seeking $3 million in damages [with a November 26 deadline] from the City and the Police Department for engaging in a “campaign of coordinated retaliation and acts to directly defame her and besmirch her reputation.”
Richardson’s suit alleges that the defendants were “unlawfully motivated by their disagreement with Dr. Richardson’s viewpoint concerning racism in the city government.” Richardson, like former City Manager Chip Boyles did, says he also wanted to place an Op-Ed in the local paper expressing his views concerning his departure but that City Attorney Lisa Robertson said the city would take legal action against Richardson if he did. Finally, Richardson says that he was "fired effectively immediately" by then-City Attorney John Blair for using "his race as a tool of manipulation,” according to emails and text messages exchanged between Hill and Walker, he alleges, and for comments he made in a C-Ville Weekly exit interview.
From the Daily Progress - In the lawsuit, Richardson alleges that Hill and Walker wanted to appoint a Deputy City Manager allegedly in order to usurp Richardson’s authority in violation of city charter. The lawsuit alleges that there are internal emails exchanged between Hill and Walker that indicate this. The filing includes an excerpt of an email allegedly sent by councilor Lloyd Snook saying that the council could not make the decision to hire a deputy city manager because the city manager is responsible for hires. “I don’t think we should jam this down [Richardson’s] throat,” Snook allegedly wrote.
"I have a very hard time understanding how this is our call to make. The City Code seems pretty clear to me that it is his call....we know that Tarron [Richardson] doesn't want this person to be a Deputy City Manager. I don't favor trying to jam this down Tarron's throat..."
"This is not an attempt to shove this position down Dr. Richardson’s throat," Walker insisted, adding [her next sentence was completely redacted]. "It would be helpful for you to ask him directly what his vision is for the organization and community as it relates to equity.”
"I think we have to let the City Manager manage the City," Snook explained, suggesting that some on Council had discussed firing Richardson over his position on this appointment. "It is hard for me to see this as an issue that is so important that his disagreement with Council on this would be a cause for termination or a condition of his continued employment. If it doesn't rise to that level, we have to let him do his job, even if it means that he rejects Council's advice."
If you're interested in how Councilor Heather Hill was former Fire Chief Andrew Baxter's go-to person for disparaging and complaining about Richardson, a rather strange sort of resignation letter that Baxter wrote to Richardson that is a must-read, how Mayor Walker was in the habit of filing FIOAs for information from the City Manager's office, and the general disrespect and disparagement that Richardson had to go through during his time as city manager....feel free to revisit The DTM's story, A Mental Maze: what we can learn from Tarron Richardson's brief time as city manager.