Posted on June 11, 2008

Arbitrator: Transit Manager Fired for His Race

Matt Dees, News & Observer (Raleigh), June 11, 2008

The company that manages Durham’s transit system unlawfully fired a former general manager in 2005 because he is white, possibly influenced by comments from Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden, an arbitrator has ruled. MV Transportation was ordered to pay Thomas Hartley $172,844.

Hartley was fired in late summer 2005 a few months after Cole-McFadden said MV “needed some diversity in [its] management ranks,” according to the arbitration award. At the time, all three top positions were filled by white men. Yolanda White, a black woman, was hired to replace Hartley, despite being under qualified.

“It is telling that Ms. White did not meet MV’s own published qualifications for the job of general manager, as she lacked a college degree and prior relevant experience managing a contract,” Arbitrator Jonathan Harkavy wrote. White was replaced last year as general manager.

“Instead of making a legitimate and measured business judgment about the qualifications of other potential applicants both inside and outside of MV, the skids were greased to ensure that Ms. White was the selectee.”