Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Margie Loyd and Mike Ragsdale

The word is out that Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's former Executive Assistant has filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Ms. Loyd alleges that she was forced to resign from Mike Ragsdale's office because she is African-American.

I have to admit that I think Loyd's official complaint-that she was fired because she was black-probably lacks real merit because she was fired in the wake of a scandal that has engulfed the Knox County Mayor's office over improper use of public funds. What I do not doubt, however, is that Ms. Loyd was treated unfairly. She would have gotten the same treatment if she were a white woman, and she would have been treated in the way in which she was precisely because the Mayor would have needed a scapegoat to insure that he escaped greater public scrutiny for the wrongdoing in his office.

It is worth noting that according to Ms. Loyd, Mike Ragsdale reportedly told her that Chairman Moore and the other County Commissioners were racists and "wanted her gone."

In her complaint Monday, she said Ragsdale told her on at least two occasions that Commission Chairman Moore and other commissioners “did not like African-Americans.”

“I was so concerned that I informed the Knox County human resource director about the comments,” she said in her complaint.

Ragsdale told Loyd that Moore “wants you gone,” the complaint states.

I think that is a heaping pile of BS-I don't think Moore was responsible in the least for Margie Loyd's firing, but Mike Ragsdale was. What is perhaps the most sickening part of this whole story is that it would appear that Ragsdale sold Loyd this story about the County Commission being racist in order to use Loyd's firing as a tool in his war with the County Commission which opposes him.

None of this is to say that the Knox County Commission is devoid of problems, but public racism is not the Commission's difficulty-it is public illegitimacy instead.

Margie Loyd was not fired from her job in the Knox County Mayor's Office because of her race, she was fired to try and cover the Mayor's increasingly air-conditioned rear end. To use a tired old expression, Ms. Loyd knows where the bodies are buried and can be easily blamed.

This is the latest political problem to plague the Knox County Mayor's office, and using the logic of "anybody is at fault but me," someone had to pay the price for Mike Ragsdale's abuse of power-so long as that someone was not Mike Ragsdale. Ms. Loyd has been done rather dirty in all of this mess, so perhaps filing a racial discrimination complaint was the only way to get back at the man who is ultimately responsible.

If you've never lived in Knox County and you ever do one day, be careful about opposing Mike Ragsdale, he might say you are a racist too.



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