The director of Silsbee EDC went one step further from a discrimination complaint last month to filing discrimination charges against the Economic Development Corporation.
In a report obtained, EDC Director Kim Garrett charges the corporation with discrimination based on race, sex and working in a hostile environment.
Garrett reports that since becoming director on Sept. 14, 2009, she allegedly says she was subjected to harassment and intimidation.
She points out three councilmembers and one EDC board member allegedly “sabotaged” her job, including Adalaide Balaban, Sue Bard, Jim Willis and retired Rev. C.M. Duplissey.
In the report, Garrett says, “it is very obvious that some members of the EDC and the city council are not happy that a black woman is representing the City of Silsbee within the community.”
The three councilpersons Garrett lashed out at were the same that approved of her appointment to the economic development corporation. Since her appoinment in 2009, the city council has supported her efforts in bringing economic development as well as obtaining grants.
In the last budget workshop in August, Garrett criticized councilpersons after they approved of the EDC budget that included a reduction in her car allowance and cutting an EDC secretary’s position to save money. Garrett was also questioned about her validity as a city employee.
City attorney Harry Wright told council that Garrett was not a city employee, but she later addressed the city that she had been entitled to city benefits for the last four years.
Garrett filed the charge with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportununity Commission on Oct. 5. The discrimination charge report was sent to Silsbee EDC Vice President Rob Georgas.
City councilmembers discussed the issue behind closed doors in executive session on Monday night, but Mayor Herbert Muckleroy advised that the council meet next Monday, Nov. 4 along with the EDC board. That meeting will also be in executive session.
Councilwoman Balaban and EDC board member Duplissey denied comment until further discussions into the matter at a later date. Garrett also denied any comments at this time.