12.16.14: Former G.R. Clerk files 1 Billion dollar lawsuit
(Mlive) – Lauri Parks, fired from her job as Grand Rapids city clerk in 2013, has filed a $1 billion job discrimination lawsuit against the city, according to a document filed Monday in U.S. District Court.
A docket for the civil case shows Parks is suing Mayor George Heartwell and the city in federal court. Further information about the case has not been filed.
Parks, who was appointed to the job in 2008, was fired in October 2013 after city commissioners voted in a special meeting performance review not to renew her contract and to place her on paid administrative leave for three months. They said Parks’ dismissal was prompted by negative feedback about her job performance and that she failed to make improvements in teamwork, judgment and leadership.
She was offered the option to resign with six months’ pay or take another city job. Parks left during the closed-session performance review.
Black community members stood behind Parks and expressed outrage and disappointment at the City Commission’s decision.
An attorney for Parks alleged discrimination and said there was no basis for the firing.
Heartwell told the city’s Community Relations Commission, which investigates complaints of discrimination, that “at no time was Ms. Parks’ race or gender a factor in the commission’s decision.”
Parks is the granddaughter of Grand Rapids’ first African-American mayor, the late Rev. Lyman S. Parks.