Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blunt appointee is defendant in federal lawsuit

Angeletta McCormick Franks, the woman whose appointment as director of a state agency charged with increasing opportunities for women and minorities in the workplace was announced today by Gov. Matt Blunt...is being sued in federal court for firing a woman based on her gender and political affiliation.
In announcing Ms. Franks' appointment as director of the Office of Supplier and Workforce Diversity, Blunt said:

"I look forward to working with Angel to enhance opportunities for diverse businesses in our state. As director I know Angel will work to ensure state contracts reflect the presence and capability of businesses owned by women and minorities in Missouri."

St. Louis blogger Antonio French of PubDef noted that Ms. Franks will "also serve as a special assistant to chief of staff Ed Martin and will be part of the governor’s senior staff."

That will put Ms. Franks and Martin together in two capacities, since they are co-defendants in a lawsuit filed by Jeanne Bergfeld, who claims the two, in their former capacity as members of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, fired her because she was a woman and because she was "not Republican enough." In an opinion issued April 5, Federal Judge David D. Noce allowed the lawsuit to continue against Martin, Ms. Franks, and Clarence Dula individually, but not as a board.

Ms. Bergfeld said Martin, Ms. Franks and Dula fired her and her Democratic counterpart in order to put Blunt supporters into the positions. To be fair, her lawsuit is somewhat ironic in that Ms. Bergfeld came under considerable fire when first appointed to her position by Governor Mel Carnahan in 1993 because she was considered to be a Democrat in Republican clothing.

Martin denied Ms. Bergfeld's allegations in an article in the July 11, 2006, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"I have never had a single conversation with her or anyone else there about whether they were Republican or Democrat enough," he said. "I have never had a single conversation with the governor about who to hire or who to fire."

No comments: