Although some see it as a clear-cut case of race discrimination, Kim Ratliff, a County Commissioner in Mecklenburg County, N.C., doesn’t regret saying that the next county manager should be a “non-white male.”
Ratliff’s comments were made last Friday when she commented on the departure of longtime county manager Harry Jones, WISTV.com reports.
The County Commissioner said other county officials should learn from Jones’ tenure as county manager.
“There were some people the manager was not talking to. There were county commissioners who were not talking to the manager,” she said, adding that the future county manager must have open lines of communication with all colleagues.
She continued, saying that she’d like to see “someone who is diverse – hopefully someone outside of North Carolina would be ideal for me.” Ratliff added that the county needs a “non-white male who can good working relations with all people.”
“I wasn’t saying for white men not to apply,” Ratliff told WBTV this week. “What I was saying was we had a white male county manager. We had a black male. It’s a given those two genders and races will apply. I’m saying to the ladies of every race – take a chance at it.”
She also said she wants to see a female apply for the position because a woman has never applied for Mecklenburg country manager.
Ratliff added that the “the person coming in has to be a strong candidate who is able to deal with conflict resolution, who is diverse, who has an open mind and who is able to engage everyone in the process.”
The County Commissioner said she understands why some have characterized her comments as racist.
“Maybe I could have used a better choice of words. But I’m saying everyone apply,” she told WBTV. “The most qualified will be selected. I would like for it to be a woman. If it is not, I’ll still support the person whether it’s white man, black man, or whoever.”
Still, she added, she doesn’t regret saying it.
“Not at all. I mean – true – some residents may have taken it the wrong way,” Ratliff said. “But I said what I said.”
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