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Toledo Official Fired by Hawkey Gets Hearing

August 02, 1990| United Press International

TOLEDO, Ohio — A federal magistrate has ruled that the city official fired by Philip Hawkey for mismanaging Toledo's housing program is entitled to a name-clearing hearing.

But U.S. District Court Magistrate James Carr also determined that Bernard (Pete) Culp was not fired from his job as commissioner of renewal operations because of his race, nor was he protected under the Civic Service Commission, two of the main arguments Culp had pressed against the city.

Hawkey, now city manager of Pasadena, was Toledo city manager when he fired Culp in 1988. Toledo's black community rallied behind Culp, and the controversy followed Hawkey to California, causing racial animosity when Pasadena city directors selected him over two black candidates in April.

Culp's firing, instigated by a review of his operations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, exacerbated Toledo's uneasy racial tensions.

In a 94-page ruling filed Monday, the magistrate said Culp was entitled to a hearing to clear his name because of the publicity surrounding the firing. Carr also said the issue of whether Culp had access to a post-firing review as called for under Ohio law and whether Culp received adequate due process before he was fired must be decided by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Culp has contended that although he had been promoted to commissioner, he continued to enjoy civil service protection because of his initial hiring as a classified employee. He also charged that white employees who had been punished were generally treated with leniency.

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