A Black city council worker in Shreveport, Louisiana, has just been fired. She read a statement that suggested she was fired for calling out a white colleague for using the N-word and for rejecting “inappropriate” advances that had been made toward her. The white people who advocated for her firing deny the allegations, but they’re also being as vague and non-descript as possible when (not really) explaining why she’s actually been fired.
Shreveport’s now-former Clerk of Council, Shanerika Flemings was fired through a majority vote. Before the vote, Flemmings, who had been with the city council for six months, read a prepared statement, not to save her job, she said, but to air out the other members of the city council and the racist, sexist, and overall toxic work environment she says they fostered. But before we get into all that, let’s look at how it all reportedly started.
From KTAL News:
Flemings is the city employee at the center of the secret pay raise scandal previously approved by Councilman James Green of District F that was later rescinded by the full council. In a 4-3 vote, Flemings was terminated from her position. Councilman Gary Brooks of District B made the motion calling for her termination.
“I believe a change in leadership is required. For this reason, I move to terminate the employment of the Clerk of Council effective immediately,” Brooks said.
His motion was seconded by Councilwoman Ursula Bowman of District G.
“I have received multiple complaints concerning several employees inside the city council’s clerks office. You know who you are and you know what you said and I took it seriously. I have been telling you chairman that your council office was on fire and nothing was done,” Bowman said.
So, based on the comments by Brooks and Bowman, here’s what we know: New “leadership is required” for non-specified reasons and for that non-specified reason Flemming had to go. We also know that Bowman received multiple complaints, but we don’t need to know what those complaints were or who made them because we don’t need to know because the people complained about know themselves.
Well, OK, let’s hear Flemmings’ side of this non-story.
“You have not heard any council member speak negatively about my overall work performance, my skillset, the quality of work I produce, or my professionalism,” Flemmings said. “The council did not have an ounce of evidence.
“Councilwoman Bowman told me I shouldn’t do sh-t for them. However I told her I would work hard for them and I kept my word,” she continued, referring to councilmembers Jim Taliaferro and Grayson Boucher, according to KTAL. “Councilwoman Bowman has been vocal about her disapproval of me speaking with RJ about his job performance. She has a problem with me speaking directly to him about his work yet she was okay with telling me how messy his clothes look, how bad his hygiene is, how he acts like a female at times, and how she knows he just sits in his office and does nothing. I never commented on these statements.” (It’s unclear who “RJ” is outside of a city council member who’s allegedly lazy and doesn’t dress well or bathe regularly, but you just know he’s sniffing his armpits while listening to Flemmoings’ statement and saying, “Yoooooo, why y’all doin’ me like this?”)
Flemmings went on to do what Brooks and Bowman both seem unwilling to do: Get specific.
“I can’t help but think this termination is the result of a series of incidences where I either spoke out against something I didn’t agree with,” she said. “Or rejected invitations I believe were inappropriate. Around the time I was confirmed, I attended a dinner where Councilwoman Bowman allowed Councilman Brooks to say the word ‘N-word’ and I gave him pushback in that moment.”
“When Councilman Brooks text me past work hours asking me if I was home or getting out tonight, I did not respond until the next morning,” she continued. “I also did not accept Councilwoman Bowman’s invitation where she asked me to go Dallas with her and Councilman Brooks where he was going to take us shopping.”
“The last time Councilman Brooks asked me to create legislation for him,” she added. “He told me he wanted me to draft an ordinance he knew would only affect Club Haze and piss them off.”
“I love Shreveport and I love working for this city,” Flemmings said in her conclusion. “But I am not begging to stay in this position. Today my goal is to simply lay out the facts for the public and you draw your own conclusions.”
Bowman, of course, said she was blindsided by Flemmings’ statement and that none of what she said was true.
“I didn’t expect any of that. Everything was very untrue and orchestrated. I’ve never heard any of that,” Bowman said.
But you know what we haven’t heard any of yet? Actual reasons Flemming was fired. If it isn’t because she pushed back against racial slurs, inappropriate behavior and dubious assignments, then why?
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