The City of Lawton released a statement Wednesday addressing allegations centered on racial bias by a city employee.
The allegations, addressed in an online news article, concerned a current City of Lawton department head and the resignation of an employee who worked in the same department. Interim City Manager John Ratliff said he cannot comment on the personnel involved; in the past, city administrators have declined comment about issues that fall under the heading of personnel.
Ratliff did say that the news article in question was not from The Lawton Constitution or Channel 7 News. Independent sources have said the article was published Tuesday by the Black Wall Street Times.
Following is the city’s statement:
“The City of Lawton is deeply committed to serving its citizens with accountability, integrity, and transparency. We are compelled to address a recent article published online concerning allegations against a City employee and the resignation of a former City employee.
“What has been portrayed as a termination due to the filing of a racial bias complaint, was in fact a resignation by the former employee after being offered a higher paying position in a different department.
“The (current) employee accused of making a racially insensitive comment received appropriate corrective action, which has been documented and placed in her personnel file. The former employee was also briefed on what the likely corrective action in this matter would be before she resigned and did not object. Since the investigation was completed the Interim City Manager has become aware of additional allegations of racial insensitivity toward others involving the current employee. If those allegations are substantiated, then additional progressive action will be taken against the employee in accordance with Chapter 17 of Lawton City Code.
“It has also been portrayed that the former employee was unceremoniously led out of her place of employment, when in fact she had requested assistance.
“We urge all media outlets and individuals to report responsibly and ethically, verifying all information before publishing or disseminating unverified allegations. The City of Lawton is committed to creating a positive and supportive working environment for all employees.”