Mayor’s former assistant files race discrimination claim

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale’s former executive assistant has filed a racial discrimination charge against his office, less than two weeks after she resigned.

Margie Loyd was transferred in July as part of the questionable spending investigation going on in Knox County.

She resigned on July 25 and said many of the purchasing card charges that came into question were directly authorized or approved by Mayor Ragsdale.

Loyd’s discrimination complaint names Ragsdale, human resources Director Dr. Francis Fogerson and community services Senior Director Cynthia Finch as people who may have supporting information. The complaint description says:

“…I was told by Mayor Mike Ragsdale on at least two occasions that the chairman of the Knox County Commission and other Knox County commissioners did not like African-Americans. I was so concerned that I informed the Knox County human resources director about the comments. Specifically, Mayor Ragsdale had stated that the chair ‘wants you gone.’ The human resources director responded that these comments by the mayor were inappropriate but declined further action…

“I was constructively discharged because of reasons involving my race. I was treated differently by my employer, Knox County and Mayor Mike Ragsdale specifically because of considerations involving my race.”

Her complaint is filed with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Since the allegations of race involve public officials we are requesting that the investigation be expedited,” Loyd’s attorney, Greg Isaacs, says in a press release.

Isaacs also released this statement from Loyd:

“I have enjoyed my position as Chief Executive Assistant to Mayor Mike Ragsdale over the past years, which has allowed me to serve my community. The decision to file a Charge of Discrimination was not an easy one. However, I feel that decisions involving my employment were racially based. I voiced my concerns about these issues with individuals prior to my resignation. I think that the EEOC, along with the THRC should conduct a thorough investigation into these issues to ensure that no one in Knox County is discriminated against because of their race.”

Loyd was with the mayor’s office from August 2002 to July 2007.