Grand Rapids Hires “Personal Coach” to Help Clerk Get Better At Job Then Offers Her An Alternative $80,000 Position After She Reportedly Fails To Improve . . . Clerk Sues City For $1 Billion

11002_lauriLauri Parks appears to have more zeros in her complaint against the city of Grand Rapids than arguments. Lauri is suing the Michigan city for $1 billion after she was fired as city clerk. She alleges racial discrimination despite that fact that the city went to the unprecedented step of hiring a “personal coach” to help her improve her performance and then offered to move her to an $80,000 position. When she refused, she was fired and sued the city for racial discrimination. It is a more difficult claim to make given the fact that her replacement, Darlene O’Neal, is African American.

Parks is the granddaughter of the city’s only African-American mayor Lyman Parks. While she held a $95,000-per-year position, she was offered an $80,000 position. The mayor insisted that the city had never hired a personal coach for an employee to improve her performance. Nevertheless, supporters have rallied behind her in protesting racial discrimination.

Parks, who was appointed to the job in 2008 and then let go after city commissioners voted in a special meeting performance review not to renew her one-year contract.

What is interesting is that the city expressly chose passion over experience in 2008 — turning down a more experienced person for the position. The outcome seemed to support the opposition of Second Ward Commissioner David LaGrand in 2008. LaGrand warned that Parks seemed baffled by a simple question of identification asked of her and warned “Elevating risk-taking to a virtue is not good policy. I don’t think we’re hiring passion for the city. That’s our job as commissioners.”

She is representing herself in seeking one billion dollars in damages.

23 thoughts on “Grand Rapids Hires “Personal Coach” to Help Clerk Get Better At Job Then Offers Her An Alternative $80,000 Position After She Reportedly Fails To Improve . . . Clerk Sues City For $1 Billion”

  1. @Darren Smith – “Meritless claim”
    “These type of matters happen when nepotism occurs”.

    Most cities settle these kinds of cases out of saving themselves money. I wonder how many municipalities have actually litigated these kinds of cases?

  2. If they hired her over someone more qualified, then the city has a staffing problem.

    At least they were able to fire her. Many government unions preclude that step, and they’d be stuck with a sub-par employee. How much taxpayer money will the city waste fighting this in court? They should be awarded legal fees when she loses. In fact, I wish the courts would throw out frivolous lawsuits.

    The reason why I oppose efforts, typically by unions, to write employment contracts rendering the employee unfireable is as follows:

    Let’s say you hire a nanny for your beloved kids. The nanny doesn’t watch them, let’s them juggle knives, invites her boyfriend over while she’s watching them, etc. If she had a union contract, you would either have to live with it, and pray your kids survived and didn’t have lasting damage, or spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in court trying to get her fired, all while she continued to work for you. That’s what it’s like with bad teachers, and bad government employees.

  3. Isaac: Those protestors on the way are from NYC and AL Qaeda Sharpton’s neighborhood. They want to turn attention from their own problems in NYC with the choke hold cops and not burn down Al’s neighborhood Quik Trip.

  4. Dear MSjettexas
    Michigan is a right to work state, and Grand Rapids is one of the most Republican areas of Michigan

  5. slohrrs, There was a time, not that long ago, when judges would look @ stupid, frivolous, lawsuits and tell the attorney to get the f@ck out of his courtroom. When attorneys began advertising, and personal injury litigation became a major industry, that righteous practice has become almost extinct. I have worked HUNDREDS of rear end collision cases where there was NO repairable damage to either vehicle. But, the case proceeded and went all the way to trial. I would be hired to do surveillance to show the plaintiff was uninjured.

  6. If they were a right to work state, this would not be happening. I know a city court who refuses to hire African-Americans as clerks because of this very reason. The supervisor said she didn’t want to worry about race issues and felt hiring a minority would bring them trouble. However they do have a majority of Hispanics as their workers. The supervisor is Hispanic too. I heard her say it with my own ears. Yet, two of their employees are late alot. One in particular is late daily and gets away with it. Double standards at it’s best there.

    However, if this woman can’t do her job, then she needs to find employment elsewhere. That job isn’t easy and needs someone with experience. Look at what inexperience has done to our country.

  7. Will this suit actually go forward?? I initially discounted it, but I guess it can go forward? If-when it fails, it will still cost a lot of money. Cripes…

  8. This is what you get for pushing self esteem.

    Entitled incompetents.

    Cue Kipling:
    “And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  9. Lol, it’s ‘only’ one million, she’s asking….
    Oh, hey a million, a billion, who’s counting anymore?
    On this blog, actually, it never hurts tripple-checking EVERYTHING.

    Now I need to retract my blogpost of the day, ffs…
    Who need I sue for a BILLION?! Thanks Obama! 🙂

  10. This is government workers. It is one of the main reason I am a libertarian. I worked for the Federal govt. and Jackson County, Mo. govt. for several years. I was profoundly unhappy because of employees like this woman. She is not an aberration, she can be found in most any govt. office. There are also hard working, good govt. employees. But, it is challenging to keep good people because they have to work w/ women like this.

    On a positive note. There is a philanthropist in KC who over the years just walks around giving $100 bills to people he sees could use it. With all the bad MSM press going on he had an idea. This kind, generous, and anonymous man gave thousands of hundred dollar bills to Jackson County Deputies. A CBS crew followed the officers around as they pulled over people, in beater cars, and gave them the C-notes. It was a tear jerker. I think the cops got more joy than the recipients. One lady started going off on the cop, then the cop told her she did nothing wrong and gave her the Christmas C-note. There are bad cops. JT keeps us WELL informed on that. I know cops better than most people. The vast majority are good people. I am disturbed by the backlash against cops. They are govt. employees who risk their lives. There are lazy, brutish, bad ones. But most are dedicated and good people.

  11. Does the city have a billion dollars? And as city clerk would should she know?

  12. Heavens, what does her job involve that it is worth $80,000? Or is this the replacement of merit (what does the average office worker get paid?) with nepotism a la Latin America or somewhere. A cushy sinecure doing nothing with a nice fat salary courtesy of being related to a higher up. And whose money is paying her? Wasn’t there anyone available to do the job at half the price?

  13. I hear there are busloads of protesters on their way from Ferguson at this very minute.

  14. It does seem government begets more government. We better figure this out at levels before we are dusted under the carpet of history.

  15. That’s one reason why municipalities across the country are setting up mistimed cameras to grab any type of traffic infraction, or create one if one doesn’t exist; why business and document ‘fees’ are indiscriminately increased, why property taxes increase, why school taxes increase, why parking fees increase, why police spend most of their day hanging behind billboards; they must feed the beast. How else can you afford to overpay incompetence at $80,000 and $95,000, stifle real improvement and hire a job coach for an under-qualified crony? It’s a racket by any other name…..

  16. According to evaluations from employees in the clerk’s office, some staff feel growing frustration with Parks’ management. They noted how she arrives “quite a bit after 8 a.m.” on many days, avoids taking responsibility for things and jeopardizes higher-priority deadlines by having staff spend too much time on mission statements and departmental visions. Some staff noted “significant trust issues” with Parks and an apparent lack of improvement from previous evaluations.

    “I am declining to do another (clerk) evaluation since it seems to not make a difference,” one employee wrote in an email. “I don’t want to keep repeating myself when it feels as if it falls on ‘deaf ears.’”

    Evaluations by some fellow city management staff suggest that Parks is unwilling to heed advice or accept constructive criticism.

    “I do not believe she has a clue as to what she is doing,” one evaluation states. “To be blunt, I think it’s time to cut Lauri loose. She is not a good fit for this very responsible position.”

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