Guilford County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman said this week that she is disturbed by what she claims is a racially unfair work environment at the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART).
PART is a unit of local government that provides public transportation throughout 10 counties in central North Carolina.
Coleman stated that, when she brought her concerns to PART CEO and General Manager Scott Rhine, he hung up the phone on her. She added that the PART Board of Directors refused to vote in favor of holding a closed session to discuss the events – which included a personnel matter.
Coleman, who serves as Guilford County’s representative on the 22-member PART board, said she wanted the entire board to hear what went on and have Rhine and PART employees undergo diversity training and racial sensitivity training.
Coleman said that she was concerned over a personnel issue regarding an African-American female who had worked at PART. Coleman said she could not go into the specific nature of the complaint since it was a personnel issue that, by law, must remain private. However, Coleman did say that the incident she was informed about caused her great concern, especially in light of what happened at PART several years ago.
In that incident, during a Halloween dress-up day at the PART office, there was a complaint that one man brought a “noose” to the party. The man with the “noose” was dressed as a rodeo performer and – while some saw no harm in bringing the rope that rodeo performers use to catch cattle – at least one person at the party complained that the noose was an offense to black workers at PART since nooses were also used in lynchings.
Years ago, when that happened, Coleman also complained but did not get any satisfaction.
“Nothing happened to that employee,” Coleman said this week.
Coleman has been on the PART board for over a decade, and, when the recent incident occurred, she contacted two fellow PART board members – Greensboro City Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter and Sharon Hightower.
At the PART board meeting last week, Coleman requested a closed session to discuss the newest incident that allegedly involved race. However, the vast majority of the board voted not to go into a closed session, so the personnel matter wasn’t discussed at the meeting.
Coleman said it was appalling that Rhine, PART’s CEO, hung up on her when she brought the matter to his attention.
She said she was also concerned, based on what she’d observed, that male employees were getting better treatment at PART than female employees, and there also seemed to be racial bias at play.
“I don’t appreciate him hanging up on me,” Coleman said.
Coleman said the PART Board has a duty to oversee Rhine and that Rhine in no way treated her with the respect owed to one’s boss.
Rhine said he has a great deal of respect for Coleman and her long-time service as a board member, but he said there were no racial motives in the recent personnel action that Coleman was concerned about.
Rhine said that PART – both in its employee makeup and ridership – is very diverse, and he added that, despite Coleman’s claims, the office has ample diversity training.
“We do it all the time,” Rhine said, adding that “It’s unfortunate Ms. Coleman is not in my office every day,” so she can observe things firsthand.
Rhine also said that, yes, after roughly an hour on a phone call with Coleman that was going nowhere, he did say, “This conversation is over,” and hung up the phone.
I read this article twice. I really don’t how to put it, but it appears that some people are just interest in stirring the pot. In this case, for divisive and political reasons.
Calling Trump and conservatives as divisive is part of the Big Lie.
Ms. Coleman’s constituents are responsible for this…whatever this is.
The Big Lie is claiming the 2020 election was full of fraud and the election was stolen when it wasn’t. Not sure why you brought it up after reading about a politician tossing the race card on the table. (likely without merit this time.)
You mis-read what I said. I didn’t say anything about Trump and Conservatives as being right.
I said that Ms. Coleman’s Big Lie is just as bad or worse than the TrumpStory. One Big Lie v/s another.
I know. While I agree she is likely out of line on this (I understand she has a reputation for over use of the race card), I just love to toss out the Trump is the biggest Liar in the history of politics when ever I get the chance here.
I think I know who the racist is? Do you?
When black people don’t get their way they always play the race card it’s really getting old listening to it over and over again. I hope the people who complained about the rodeo cowboy have found out the difference between a rope lariat (that cowboys use) and a noose just ask bubba wallace I’m sure he can explain it to you.
What’s really odd here is what is her purpose other than self attention? Skip is the master of race card use for political gain but this is just making noise for sake of making noise on her part. No surprised. Just disappointed.
Let’s hope the mature adults prevail.
When all else, including common sense fails, cry racism. Sad
Good for you Mr Rhine .
Lasso = Noose
Got it, White man?
Lariat is totally different from a noose. They don’t work the same way numbnuts
… think of sarcasm …
No it don’t. There is a difference, maybe you just don’t know what it is.
… think of sarcasm …
They will be a knot tying class this Saturday night would you like to sign up.
If you don’t like ropes don’t play Cowboys and Indians
Seems to me that those who recognize bias are usually the ones that are biased. Ms. Coleman has a history of this type of behavior. Possibly she took it lessons from her leader.
This city is 45% black stop asking permission to fire the people in charge when things like this happen get rid of them this isn’t ashboro this will not be tolerated here.
Got it…Note to self: Fire Coleman.
Teach folks how to spell Asheboro & how to identify various useful ropes & knots.
Sounds like the poor fellow had enough and had to lasso Coleman into her place. Being a board member isn’t a license to be an @$$. she can complain about that as well. Be sure and show her the door on election day.
Very doubtful Ms. Coleman will be voted out of office should there be an election. The only person who can retire her is Ms. Coleman
Take note when racial motivated slandering begins EVERY time by a Black person in most cases are Democrats.I have also send so many times that white Democrats are just as bad as the black democrats.We are living in a society that at all elections the Dems /black run out the race card.
Carolyn has done just that in the past .I am so tired that every time we have an election it is to run out the race card.
In Washington we have a President that was going to be a unite but has turned into The worst President in history.He has destroyed our economy ,our energy supplies,our groceries,supply chain .I cannot reliably say anything this man has accomplished.When will the Dems see the light and give up on this nation of loser’s.
Why are taxpayer employees having dress up.parties on the clock. So sad our tax dollars flushed down the toilet. Also so sad a private personnel matter is being made public because a public employee didn’t stay on the phone indefinitely with a PART board member.
The local government of the City of Greensboro is a joke. Instead of working on issues that are important to move the city forward, all the council can do is talk and talk and talk about racism and diversity. Maybe if you people would get off this subject and address the real issues, all the citizens of Greensboro could benefit rather than just your cronies.
Coleman is racist and will do anything to support her constituents, even if means attacking anyone who disagrees with her. A friend of mine who was a director with the county said she was well known to call department directors, or their subordinates, if one of her “constituents” complained about their supervisor. Rather than let the department director and the County Manager resolve the issue, I guess she believes her role as a commissioner requires her to go behind the backs of the department directors in the County.
Once people are racist they are always racist
We cannot fix ignorance and stupidity, WE can only vote it OUT!
I’ve known Scott Rhine for over 20 years. He is a very patient person. And PART is a quasi-public operation. I have no doubt that Mr. Rhine gave the Commissioner plenty of time and opportunity to voice her thoughts. I’m sure he was responsive. I’ve worked with these Commissioners and the City Council. They can be impossible. Absolutely impossible. This is the worst set of two councils and one County Commission I’ve seen in 35 years. God Bless all of the employees that have to deal with any and all of them. It’s all about me! It seems that one hour on a phone conversation is ample to make her point and blast away. Good for Mr. Rhine to get back to business. The business of the taxpayers. Obviously the Board is aware of the situation and they, as Mr. Rhine’s employers should deal with the situation as a group. They saw no reason so it’s done. Scott, keep doing a good job.
When there’s less than 5 blacks on the board and you have the nerve to be upset because they don’t agree with how disproportionately blacks are treated, makes me think you scared. My how silly you sound. What’s your fear? Maybe you’re upset because the most educated people in the US are black females. Are you educated beyond high school? Do you have a degree? If not, I consider you unimportant and a little ignorant. By the way only fools make assessments without all the facts. But I bet that week you were black helped you make this decision.
When I worked for the City of Greensboro everything was about race. Everything. We were mandated (all employees to my knowledge, but certainly the Planning Department for which I worked was required to attend a 2 day class called Undoing Racism, sponsored by the wonderful Nettie Coad. The class was diverse and had worked in many situations. We were asked our opinions about racism in Greensboro AFTER we were taught and told that the City of Greensboro and all of the white employees and police officers in the government created the areas of minority neighborhoods. We were told that if we were born white, we were born racist against blacks by inheritance. Our forefathers had slaves so we’re were automatically racist by inheritance. When I mentioned 1. My forefathers had nothing to do with my thoughts on race and 2. That I had lived in Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC and AtlanTa, GA and Greensboro is the most racist city I’ve lived in, I was dismissed from coming to take the second day of class. I said that everyone in Greensboro is racist against everyone else. It’s not just a black/white issue. And today it is even worse. We were to talk about our heritage in Greensboro on the 2 nd day. I brought photos of my great grandfather, my grandfather and my father, all of whom lived on Elm Street. They interacted with both the Glenwood and Warnersville neighborhoods. My grandfather hired employees, real employees from the Warnersville Community. But I would not be able to present that material as I was quickly given my certificate and rushed out of the room. Did the City Manager care? No. Assistant Manager or Department Head care No. And a black man that came to Greensboro from Ghana was also asked not to return to the second day of class. This is all deep rooted in the City system, especially by this council and this mayor.