Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Independent Investigation called for Mayor's brother

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's brother Nick Jackson was recently cleared of sexual misconduct at work. Nick Jackson is the district facilities chief for Cleveland School District.

The report issued by Cleveland School District, in which Jackson was cleared, placed blame on the victim. Original Post

The Plain Dealer ran the original story and is now calling for an independent investigation-

No matter how much Cleveland school officials want to consider the matter resolved, little is settled about sexual harassment allegations levied against the district's facilities chief, Nicholas Jackson.

And, in his attempt to close the case, human resources officer Clinton Faulkner has raised still more questions - not least about his own suitability for leadership.

An independent, objective review of this matter is needed, not only for the sake of the two main actors in this case, but for the good of the school district as a whole.

A one-time City Hall administrator and brother of Mayor Frank Jackson, Nicholas Jackson has long been dogged by a reputation for crass language and aggressive behavior. In 2002, the district hired outside counsel to look into concerns raised about some of Nicholas Jackson's actions while serving in former Mayor Michael R. White's administration, including an accusation that Nicholas Jackson sexually harassed a city employee. That investigation failed to uncover documentation of a complaint, but attorney Inajo Chappell wrote then that "testimony offered in support of the claim seemed credible."

This time, far more is known about the accusations - and Nicholas Jackson's responses - because of the nature of Faulkner's report. The document opens with professional language, but quickly deteriorates into a stunningly explicit narrative whose main intent appears to be the embarrassment of the accuser.

Nothing is gained by such vulgar detail. Phrases like "suggestive language" surely convey comparable ideas, and in a far more responsible manner.

In addition, Nicholas Jackson's filial ties to the district's ultimate overseer raise obvious conflicts. To avoid the appearance that politics played a role in this case, Faulkner should have hired outside counsel. That he failed to do so, and then filed such an unprofessional report, raise grave doubts about his judgment.

Did Nicholas Jackson repeatedly fondle the breasts of a subordinate? He denies it and says the accusation was made in retaliation for his managerial decisions. The accuser acknowledges an earlier drinking problem and inappropriate behavior. Only once she was sober, she says, was she able to stand up to his advances. She plans to pursue the case with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; perhaps that body will provide a more satisfactory resolution of this poorly handled situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be scared!