Woman staying at agency accused of bias

July 08, 2008|By Steven Stanek | Steven Stanek,SUN REPORTER

The Anne Arundel County official who recently accused her supervisors of racial and sexual discrimination said yesterday that she plans to take a lower-paying position with the same quasi-public agency she spoke out against.

Rene C. Swafford, an African-American woman, said she was to accept a lower-level management position and a $25,000 pay cut but would stay with the Anne Arundel Work Force Development Corp., a nonprofit with 25 employees that offers job training and placement.

Swafford, who was deputy director until June 30, when that position was eliminated, said her new role would be director of Job Works Arundel, a program to help welfare recipients find employment. She declined to mention her former salary and said her new job could start as early as Thursday.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in Tuesday's editions of The Sun mischaracterized the responses of state and federal agencies to grievances filed by an Anne Arundel County official who has accused her supervisors of racial and sexual discrimination. Rene C. Swafford has met with representatives from the Maryland Human Relations Commission and the Maryland attorney general's office. She said she has contacted a representative at the U.S. Department of Labor; the federal agency does not discuss its cases.

"I will be the lowest-paid director there, with the highest amount of education," said Swafford, a lawyer.

Last month, she held a news conference accusing her former boss of giving her office and job duties to white employees. She also said she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a white employee.

Robert L. Hannon, president of the nonprofit agency, said that Swafford's deputy director role was cut because of budget restrictions and that the decision not to promote her was based on her qualifications.

Swafford lodged a complaint with the state office of civil rights, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Maryland Human Relations Commission but she said she had not heard back.

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