The NAACP’s rally in square on Sunday, July 15, was addressing retention and a hostile work environment which is present in the City of Lima’s Public Works Department. The mayor stated that policies have been changed concerning nepotism. The mayor failed to mention that the supervisor’s son continues to be under his father’s supervision. This has taken place for several years.
It was brought to the supervisor’s attention that one of his workers used racial slurs on several occasions. Not only was the supervisor made aware of the incidences, but the director of department, Howard Elstro, also was informed. The person making the slurs said, “I hate those lazy (mother-expletive n-word)” and “I don’t know why they hire those lazy (expletive n-word).” On one occasion, the racial slurs were broadcast on an open radio. The African-American employee who brought this information to the attention of the supervisor faced an array of retaliations and eventually was terminated on bogus allegations to the point that his union completely supports him.
The same supervisor’s son dropped a bulldozer load inches in front of the African-American who reported his racist behavior. Yet, the supervisor, supervisor’s son and director remain employed, while African-American employees have been terminated who worked in that same department.
The mayor talks about his record of employing African-Americans, but that record is meaningless when they are terminated without valid justification. The bigger issue is creating policies for a hostile work environment and if such policies exist, then enforce them. Those African-American were victimized, and their reward was termination.
Ultimately, the mayor as CEO of the city has allowed this department to operate recklessly.
Rev. Ron Fails
Rev. Ron Fails is president of the Lima unit of the NAACP.