Detroit officials investigate alleged racial comments by Orr appointee

Detroit The citys Human Resources Department is investigating a letter sent to city officials alleging that Chief Financial Officer Jim Bonsall made racially insensitive comments.

Spokesman Bill Nowling said Thursday that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has directed the citys human resources director to conduct an investigation and report his findings to him.

Disciplinary actions could be taken if necessary, Nowling added.

The emergency manager takes these allegations very seriously; they are troubling if true, he said. This is the established process when allegations of this nature are made. The investigation will determine the facts of this incident and the facts will determine what disciplinary action is warranted.

Johnson, who was demoted last week as the finance director to city treasurer, is alleging Bonsall, who is white, has made racially charged remarks.

Johnson, who is black, could not be immediately reached.

Detroits Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown says he plans to speak with Human Resources investigators Thursday about the comments made by Bonsall during the meeting that took place several weeks ago. Brown also was present at the meeting.

I didnt consider it to be harassment. I did think it was insensitive, Brown said when reached Thursday. I had a conversation with Mr. Bonsall privately right after.

Brown declined to provide any details of his conversation with Bonsall before speaking with investigators.

The incident is another sign of a growing rift in Detroit City Hall. Last week, Mayor Dave Bing said he only communicates with Orr once a week. He also cited a problem with his diminished role and the state governments dismantling of his inner circle.

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Detroit officials investigate alleged racial comments by Orr appointee
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