published Friday, September 9th, 2011

City of Chattanooga punished woman who filed sexual harassment complaint

by Cliff Hightower
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    Paul Page, Chattanooga's director of general services

A Chattanooga administrator sexually harassed a female employee and the city responded to her complaint by retaliating against her, according to a federal investigation.

Paul Page, the city’s director of general services, confirmed Thursday he was the target of an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

He said the allegations stemmed from a sexual harassment investigation conducted three years ago.

“It is exactly the same [case],” he said.

But a letter from the Sarah Smith, the EEOC’s area director, shows the harassment claim was a second complaint, filed two months after the first allegations that Page made inappropriate comments to city employees. The letter states the EEOC investigation revealed the city had “received a prior complaint of sexual harassment.”

The first complaint was filed on Oct. 24, 2008, and the second complaint in December 2008.

Smith states several times in the EEOC letter that the female employee, along with other employees, were “sexually harassed and retaliated against.”

The letter says the city retaliated against the employee by “reassigning her to a different position, at a different location.” It states that the city claims the employee lost any protected privilege because she did not want to pursue the sexual harassment claim.

City officials refused to say whether the allegations involved more than one complainant, but several sources said privately Thursday that the complaints were filed by different women.

City Attorney Mike McMahan said he would not comment because the city regards the matter as pending litigation. Smith did not respond to repeated calls.

Page was disciplined in November 2008 after an independent investigation found he violated sexual harassment policies. He was found to have made comments about women’s breasts, sexual practices and female employees’ clothing, and to have made inappropriate jokes.

At the time, he was warned any recurrence or retaliation would result in immediate termination.

Page said Thursday the EEOC determination of sexual harassment is not surprising.

“It’s just going through the system,” he said.

Page said he had not heard about any discipline from the city.

“We’ll have to sit down and talk about it,” he said.

Smith’s letter said the EEOC will contact the city and the female employee to come to a conclusion on the matter.

If the matter cannot be resolved, it could result in court action, the letter states.

City officials declined Thursday to say whether they would fight the action in court or take any other disciplinary action against Page.

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harrystatel said...

Seems that Paul Page enjoys hugs and intimidation.

With Littlefield's past history Paul will be given a new job at City Hall in the Public Works department.

"Porky Paul Page's Pothole Patrol—I'm Looking for Holes to Plug."

"Ask about my Hugs and Kisses Pothole Special! Drinks, Dinner, and a Job with 'Little' Paulie. You can't say No to an offer like that!"

(Protection provided by Ron Littlefield where the slogan is, "If you're going to screw around, keep a Littlefield in your pocket!")

September 9, 2011 at 7:14 a.m.
harrystatel said...

Everyone in City Hall needs a theme song and Paul Page is no exception. I've found the perfect song for City Hall's favorite ladies' man.

"Here Comes the Mummies" had Paul in mind with "Pants."

This one's for you, Paul. Tap your feet and sing-a-long with the rest of us as we think of you.

September 9, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.
sage1 said...

I gather that Paul is really Ol' know. From Littlefields Good Ol' Boy Club.

September 9, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
klugermann said...

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the City backtrack and admit wrongdoing in dealing with their perverse, narcoleptic adminsistrator, or will they 'double-down' and cast even more grief upon the victims. Thank you, NFP, for reporting this story.

September 9, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
lanaland said...

What does Page do as Director of General Services to earn more than $95k a year, besides sexually harass and retaliate against coworkers? Could his compensation actually be related to his bragging that he "gets girls" for the top brass? Does it relate to his asking women to do favors in exchange for promotions, raises, spending money and flexible schedules? What does he know about how the VIPs wheel, deal and party with tax payer dollars that the administration continues to protect him?

September 9, 2011 at 1:47 p.m.
harrystatel said...

It's interesting that the highly esteemed City Attorney, Mike "Ask about my firm's Secretaries $15,000.00 a Month" McMahan would be investigating Paul Page for wrongdoing.

I'm betting a blacklight examination of City Hall offices would show more "evidence" than a Motel 6 comforter.

September 9, 2011 at 2:13 p.m.
jesse said...

now if bennet passes on this opportunity to do a cutting edge cartoon on a local issue,then he is either bought and paid for OR scared sh#tless!!

time to step up us what you got!!

you can only live in one dimension so long!!

September 9, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
Here2Opine said...

That's what they get, wondered why they hired him (who he knew) after being fired from Ft. Oglethorpe, Soddy Daisy and Dade County. Duh!

September 20, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.
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