According to the Seattle Times, Mayor Ed Murray's former press secretary Rosalind Brazel has sued the mayor for racial and gender discrimination, charging that she "was replaced by a white male who is paid $5,000 per year more than she was paid, despite frequent mentions by Mayor Murray to the public that the Race and Social Justice Initiative, which affords equal pay among race and gender, is fully recognized by his office."
In the claim, Brazel says Murray discriminated against her when he fired her and hired Jason Kelly, a white man, to replace her. (Murray actually replaced Brazel, on an interim basis, with Megan Coppersmith, a white woman.)
In her brief time as Murray's press aide, Brazel was responsible for two significant gaffes. In February of 2014, Brazel sent out two versions of a press release to reporters about the state senate's passage of the DREAM Act (which makes kids of undocumented immigrants eligible for college financial aid)—"One more straight forward, one with a 'tisk tisk feel."
In many ways, all of us were learning by doing, and there is no doubt that we all made mistakes – myself included.
And later that same month, Brazel mistakenly announced Murray's sadness at the death of former Neighborhoods Department director Jim Diers, who was and is not, in fact, dead. (The similarly named labor activist Joe Dear died the same day.)
In a forceful statement responding to Brazel's claim, Murray said, “I have recommitted this City, via executive order, to the Race and Social Justice Initiative. I have created a new department to drive better outcomes for students of color in our public schools. I have committed this City to gender equity in pay.
“The first days of my administration were chaotic and pressure-filled, as my Office worked to bring significant change to City government while immediately addressing a number of major issues facing our community. In many ways, all of us were learning by doing, and there is no doubt that we all made mistakes – myself included. “While I take very seriously the charge of discrimination made by Ms. Brazel, I stand by my decision to make a change at the press secretary position during those early days as one of many changes necessary to bring greater structure and stability to the daily operations inside the Mayor’s Office.”
We have a call out to Murray about the racial and gender makeup of his staff.