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City of Tallahassee Sued for Discrimination

Date10 Apr 2019
City of Tallahassee Sued for Discrimination

Sandra Manning, Tallahassee’s special project manager, has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming she was passed over for a job because of her age and race.

Manning said that a former city manager Anita Favors was preparing to retire in 2015 and was told by Reese Goad “to get prepared to oversee all communication efforts.”

Rick Fernandez was appointed to city manager’s post, who appointed current city spokeswoman Alison Faris to interim director of communication efforts. Manning was appointed to director of community relations under Goad, who is now the city manager. Fernandez was removed from his position in 2016 after a Florida State ticket scandal.

“(Manning) was shocked that she had not been appointed to the position,” her attorney Marie Mattox wrote in the 15-page complaint. “Faris had only been employed with the (city) for 7 years compared to the more than 20 for (Manning.)”

Manning alleges that Fernandez reorganized the city structure and got rid of older black women and replaced them with white employees. She says she was also treated poorly at work.

Manning was allegedly criticized for reaching out to commissioners to volunteer to help with a post-hurricane sharing of ideas discussion. She also claims she was demoted in 2017 for reporting race and age discrimination to Fernandez, Goad, and the city’s human resources department.

“After reporting these matters, (Manning) was the victim of retaliatory actions,” the lawsuit claims. “Under the guise of reorganization, Former City Manager Fernandez, Current City Manager Reese Goad and Director of Communications Alison Faris reinvented the heinous and historically discriminatory acts  by blatantly removing African Americans from key functions, managerial and leadership positions.”

“Goad only reminded (her) that she was an at-will employee, implying that he had the power to demote her or terminate her at any moment,” the lawsuit said.

Manning is seeking trial by jury.

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