Saturday, June 20, 2015

High Point "Human Relations Director on paid leave" after "racial tensions"; Commenting for the article at the post has been disabled.

"High Point Human Relations Director Al Heggins was placed on paid administrative leave this week after claiming she fears for her life stemming from what she says are “racial tensions and institutional racism.”

In an email that was obtained by The High Point Enterprise that she sent to city officials, City Council members and several ministers on Thursday, Heggins, who is black, laid out a pattern of alleged slights at the hands of city leaders.

Among her allegations:

She reported being assaulted, no police report was taken and was advised by a top official to drop the matter.

An unnamed City Council member brought her literature about the history of the Confederacy that included a picture of the Confederate flag.

High Point police officers walked out of anti-racism training she was involved in.

City Manager Greg Demko reprimanded her for allowing black community members to bring in a speaker to give a presentation that included the topic of white supremacy at a city forum.

...Heggins wrote,... “As a nation, we are living in a climate of intense racial tensions. And there are racial tensions in this community. These tensions may not have risen to the level of what we have seen in other communities, but the racial tensions & institutional racism is real.”

In an interview Friday, Heggins said she and Lowe both were placed on paid leave.

“They said it was because I feel unsafe, so therefore, it’s best that I not be in the building, which is kind of an oxymoron to me,” she said. “Rather than addressing what it is that makes me feel unsafe, just put me out of the building? Right now, the Human Relations Department is shut down.”

Heggins... filed a grievance last year against former City Manager Strib Boynton after an alleged verbal confrontation. Records showed the city paid her $12,000 after the case was resolved.

...She went on to cite the claim about Confederate literature and also wrote, “The Mayor Pro Tem refers to me and the department as being left to fester after the previous manager was told to do something about me.”

The council’s current and past Mayor Pro Tem is Councilman Jim Davis, who declined to comment.

Heggins wrote ...“I report being assaulted, and a police report is not taken. I report my assault to the assistant manager, the current deputy manager, and I am advised by him to let it go.”

She was referring to Deputy City Manager Randy McCaslin, who also declined to comment.

“As a department we are barred from participating in a Stand Against Racism event in partnership with the YWCA, based on the recommendation of the Public Information Officer. My recommendations are ignored.”

...Heggins singled out Demko, apparently in reference to the forum: “I work for a City Manager who has me written up because I ‘allowed’ the black community members to ‘bring in’ a speaker that included aspects of white supremacy in her presentation. Human Relations staff is subjected to this kind of an environment, while specific elected officials send my emails to predominantly white organizations and the High Point Enterprise? Why?”

Hat Tip;