Civic center manager lawyer claims racism - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Civic center manager lawyer claims racism

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December 6, 2005

Albany -- Maddie Goddard has worked at the civic center for 22 years, 17 of them as director. For many of those years, there've been complaints about the way she's run the facility. Few events are held there, and taxpayers complain that they're paying for a huge facility that doesn't even support itself.

Maddie Goddard's lawyer says the new city manager has told her to either resign or retire or she'll be fired.

Maurice King, who Goddard hired as soon as the new city manager began evaluating her performance, is threatening to sue if Goddard is fired. "Why won't anyone make the comparison about the Chehaw Park Authority which the city gives $1.3 to $2.1 million a year and the Chehaw Park never pays the money back. The reason is because the Chehaw Park Authority is ran by a white man. The Riverquarium is basically ran by white people."

This is city manager Alfred Lott's employee evaluation of Maddie Goddard. He rated her ineffective in every category including managing people, achieving results, and competence.

Maurice King says the city can't legally fire Goddard because she was never even given a reprimand about her performance. Maddie Goddard's critics say the only reason she kept her job was because of her friendship with former city manager Janice Allen Jackson.

As soon as a Jackson left, a group of community leaders wrote letter calling for changes in civic center management. The letter from promoters, clients, and event sponsors complained that the civic center business atmosphere is hostile and negative.

As soon as Alfred Lott was hired as city manager and reviewed Goddard's performance, he notified her that she must make changes or face termination. Lott won't comment on this latest development saying it's a personnel matter.

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