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Panel Votes to Reinstate Zoo Director

November 14, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Fired Los Angeles City Zoo Director Warren Thomas should be reinstated to his job because his dismissal last June was too harsh a punishment for his actions, a citizens panel recommended today.

Some of the 80 or so supporters of the zoo director, who were jammed into a City Hall meeting room, shouted: "There is justice after all!" and "The system works!" as the panel's recommendation was read.

The three-member panel, which does not have the power to enforce its recommendation, concluded that Thomas did use city property for his own use, used insulting racial epithets and improperly administered animal transactions.

For those charges, the panel recommended that the city suspend him for 20 days without pay, a period, as Thomas observed to reporters, he has more than already served.

The matter next goes to the city attorney's office for resolution by Mayor Tom Bradley.

Considered Dozen Charges

The panel had considered a dozen charges against Thomas, who was fired June 4 by City Parks and Recreation Department General Manager Jim Hadaway.

Thomas' attorney, Gloria Allred, said she will seek back pay for Thomas for the period of time not covered by the 20 days. She threatened to go back to federal court next week if the city does not reinstate Thomas with the back pay.

The fired director told reporters after this morning's announcement that "justice has been done. The L.A. Zoo is back in the hands it should be in. The bottom line is that what I felt was an improper action has been rectified."

Hadaway disagreed.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "Obviously, I felt he should have been fired, or I wouldn't have fired him to begin with."

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