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Former aide to Seattle mayor claims discrimination, moves to file suit against city

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SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray’s former press secretary has filed a damage claim with the city for no less than $1 million, alleging she was discriminated against.

Rosalind Brazel, 42, and her attorney Susan Mindenbergs filed the claim in late September alleging the City of Seattle violated her state and federal civil right to be free of discrimination and causing her emotional stress.

In the claim, Brazel alleges she was fired from her job as the mayor’s press secretary despite no complaints about her work. Brazel, who is black, says she was then replaced in her position by a white male who is paid $5,000 per year more.

Mayor Murray issued a response to the claim Tuesday, saying her termination in March was because she was “not well-matched to the demands of the press secretary role” and he stands by the decision.

According to the claim, Brazel says she was hired on as Ed Murray’s press secretary on Jan. 2 because of her extensive history in journalism. In her work for the mayor, she spent long hours coordinating major city events, she allegeges, and at no time did anyone in the City of Seattle complain about her work.

Rosalind Brazel

Rosalind Brazel. From Twitter

However, Brazel says during her time as press secretary, Murray was “cool and aloof,” even ordering her not to speak to him while she was riding in his car. He often “snapped” at her, the claim alleges, while he seemed friendlier with other city staff.

The claim discusses an incident in February when the city incorrectly put out a press release saying an established member of the community had died. Brazel says she was instructed by Communications Director Jeff Reading to write the release offering the mayor’s condolences in the death of Jim Diers. Brazel says she wrote the release, and cleared it through Murray.

Later it was learned that Diers had not died, and the Mayor’s office had offered their condolences for the wrong death.

A week after the incident, Murray allegedly told someone he was “going to have to fire that girl (Brazel),” the claim alleges.

On March 6, Brazel was told by Reading that she “wasn’t working out” as press secretary, and she was moved to a lower paying job at the city.  Reading allegedly promised her the job was a “chance to prove herself,” and she would be reassigned once her term was over. But despite her successful completion of the lower paying job through its full term, she was never offered another job in the city.

In the claim, Brazel alleges she was the only African American professional level official working for Murray before she was fired. She says despite Murray’s “frequent mentions” of the Race and Social Justice Initiative which affords equal pay among race and gender, it is not fully recognized.

Murray said Tuesday that, “discrimination of any stripe runs counter to my personal and public values, and neither race nor gender played a role in my decision to seek different skills and experience at the press secretary position.”

He said Brazel was a “talented communications professional” who was just “not well-matched to the demands of the press secretary role.”

Two Q13 FOX employees are named as witnesses in Brazel’s claim.

 

 

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7 comments

  • Jeffer

    Just another pathetic attempt at a baseless money grab. People like her make me sick. Gotta grab that money-grab any time you can.

    • Michelle

      People like you who are blinded by their own ignorance make me sick! If she was just a money grabber then why work a job in the first place? White men kill me with their entitled, right wing opinions and need to constantly degrade anyone who stands up for their rights. If it was a white women nothing would be said.

  • Amanda

    She sounds like a “borderline” worker (or worse) who has to sue for payola since she is not good enough to succeed at a good job. And of course she has to blame others and play the race card too. Disgusting.

    • Michelle

      I think your comment is border line stupidity! The race card was played long ago by whites and they continue to use institutional racism to justify their actions. But a white women would have no clue about what it is to be in a position she was in!

  • Sharolyn Buck

    I think if she can back up the statements with evidence and/or witness statements then she has every right to bring this to light and be compensated. The article doesn’t seem to show she had any other issues with anyone else involved just the Mayor’s attitude toward her. It is possible to be Gay and racists right, seems to be that people think that a Mayor who has had to have gone through some discrimination at some point wouldn’t dare do that to someone else? Also, just the difference in pay Female vs Male is frustrating unless the man who got the job after she was “moved/let go” was more qualified and therefor warranted the higher pay? Anyway, I’m sure the lawsuit won’t go through if it has no basis. I guess we’ll just wait and see.

  • Michelle

    Every comment on here is sickening and no doubt written by white men who have no concept of what it is to be discriminated against! I believe it and hope she gets every cent!