published Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Paul Page expected to resign as Chattanooga's director of general services


by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Chattanooga General Services Director Paul Page, pictured during a recent groundbreaking ceremony, will likely resign this week in the fallout over allegations of sexual harassment made by two women employees, Mayor Ron Littlefield said.
    Photo by Jenna Walker.
    enlarge photo

Paul Page, the city's director of general services, likely will resign this week in the fallout over allegations of sexual harassment made by two women employees.

"He's expressed a desire to me to get out of the shooting gallery, which I can understand," said Mayor Ron Littlefield, who hired Page in 2005 and later created a high-paying position for him.

Page has been under fire since early September, after a finding by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Page had harassed an employee in October 2008 and that the city had retaliated against her after she filed a complaint. The letter stated that EEOC could go to court if the city didn't resolve the matter.

After a second woman filed a sexual harassment claim against Page in November 2008, he was disciplined with five unpaid days off.

Page has denied wrongdoing.

But personnel records and interviews show that a sexual harassment allegation figured in his termination from a previous job. And altogether, records show, Page has been fired from at least four government jobs in his 39-year government career.

Page, reached by cellphone during a Florida vacation, declined to comment Friday.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd said Friday she agrees with his decision to resign.

"I think that's appropriate," she said. "I think that's the best thing for Mr. Page and the city."

Ladd said the council has talked with the mayor for the last week about how the situation should be resolved. She said all council members would be "wholeheartedly supportive of this action."

If Page indeed steps down, he would become the sixth city employee to either resign or be terminated in connection with allegations of sexual harassment within the last five years, city records show.

PAGE'S PAST

Littlefield has said his friendship with Page dates to the 1980s when Page was executive director of the economic development council in Walker County, Ga. Page used Littlefield as a reference on a 2000 employment application in Fort Oglethorpe and later when he applied to work in Chattanooga.

In 2005, Littlefield hired Page as the city's director of asset management. He later created the position of director of general services and named Page to the post, reporting to him. With 39 years of government service, Page now is paid $90,990 a year.

Page's résumé lists 10 government jobs since 1972. He was director of general services for Metro Nashville from 1975 to 1981. Nashville officials could not find his personnel records, but confirmed he had been terminated.

He also was fired from city or county manager positions he held in Fort Oglethorpe, Dade County, Ga., and Soddy-Daisy, records show.

He held the city manager position in Soddy-Daisy from 1983 to 1987.

His personnel records show he was terminated without show of cause by the Soddy-Daisy City Commission. Commissioner Gene Shipley, who was in office then, said Page was dismissed for poor performance and other reasons.

"I don't think we ever had any harassment claims brought forth to [the personnel department], but there were some allegations of harassment," he said.

Page was Fort Oglethorpe city manager for four years. Two of his annual reviews praised him for outstanding performance, but two others were overwhelmingly negative.

One review said Page spent too much time trying to pit Fort Oglethorpe council members against one another in an effort to get more of them "on his side."

The second review said he was rude, he didn't like questions from the public and he "lies too much."

Fort Oglethorpe fired him in 2004.

Page also worked as Dade County manager, at the Walker County Economic Development Council and as utilities manager in Sparta, Tenn. Officials from those governments did not return repeated calls over two weeks or said they didn't remember specific events during his employment. They responded to records requests by saying his personnel files were missing or had been destroyed.

OTHER CASES

Chattanooga has had 10 disciplinary actions regarding sexual harassment complaints since 2006, records show.

Half resulted in termination or resignation. City code states that employees who have harassment complaints are required to alert a supervisor, the personnel department, the mayor or other officials so action can be taken.

Personnel Director Donna Kelley said she investigates complaints and gives her findings to department heads and the mayor for a determination on how the employee will be disciplined.

Kelley said city employees are entitled to work in a harassment-free environment.

"At the end of the day, the city is going to take positive corrective action," she said.

Update: Paul Page resigns from City of Chattanooga post amid harassment allegations

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jesse said...

gonna be interesting to see where he winds up after he leaves city employment!

October 2, 2011 at 4:57 a.m.
dennis said...

I just wish that the Time Free Press could report that our beloved mayor Ron Littlefield was having to leave with this bum. I have always been told that crooked people always look after their own kind, and I think that this is a very good example. There's no telling how much of our money that these bums have made off with. My main question to Littlefield and the city council members is, how did they let this man have a job knowing his back ground. If the city of Chattanooga can't attract any better people than this for employment openings, the city needs to look at their employment packages. I sure that this is going to end up costing the city a lot of money in the long run from the law suits that I know are coming over this. And I know that if Page has done this type of actions at other places were he has work, he did't stop when he arrived her. Nice going Mr. Littlefield. You are going to be remembered for a long time after you leave office, but it's not going to be that way that you wanted it to be.

October 2, 2011 at 8 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Paul Page and Mayor Littlefield are an affront to women. He should have resigned before he went on vacation. Assume he didn't do it, so he could get paid vacation. Would have been nice if Littlefield took a stand and fired him, instead, we are all left waiting to see when he will resign.

The many groups who are planning on protesting Paul Page on October 12th should not let up until this guy is gone. Saying and doing so are two different things. He should have been gone a long, long time ago.

October 2, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.
memphisexile said...

I agree Sandy. This guy is a sicko who, from what the story says, has apparently been using his position to threaten others in order to gain sexual favors for his entire career. It baffles the mind to think that this guy has such a high level created position when it looks like he has been fired from every job he has ever held. It makes me wonder what kind of dirt he has on Littlefield, or what type of dirty work he does for the Mayor to entitle him to a position. The city better figure it out, or these ladies will sue and cost Chattanooga a ton of money.

Jerks like this guy in "created positions" have ruined Memphis and drained the city coffers dry. Created positions are political cronyism a la Andrew Jackson at its worst. They are usually expensive unneeded positions used to reward loyal followers. In Memphis, and it looks like in Chattanooga, the people who get these jobs are usually borderline crooks. King Willie Herenton created a bunch of them here, and they have helped ruin this city. I hope Chattanooga doesn't end up the same way.

October 2, 2011 at 10:12 a.m.
midnitewatchman said...

So instead of the mayor stepping up and terminating Page and making some kind of formal statement that this type of behavior will not be tolerated, he gets quoted saying he understands, page wants to get out of the shooting gallary? Sounds sympathetic towards page? I guess the mayor told page chattanoogans will recall you or want you fired just for the way you part your hair (what the mayor said in the documentary "recall fever" produced by the united conference of mayors, his 15k membership a year club) Page has been having this issue for years it would appear by this story. I believe sexual harassment laws require supervisors act upon report and handle the problem properly or they are just as accountable. I think these ladies need to get lawyers!

October 2, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
elkhart007 said...

The victims getting a lawyer won't fix anything. Littlefield will still let this weak response to the allegations slide and by time anything happened in the court room he'd be gone. And in the end who loses? Citizens aka tax payers.

October 2, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
esaletnik said...

After seeing his picture up top there, I find it very hard to believe that women can resist his advances. He has that Chris Christie thing going. Just look at how high he can fling that dirt.

October 2, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
lanaland said...

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wrote in its determination letter to the city that "evidence exists to establish that the Charging Party, and a class of individuals, were sexually harassed and retaliated against." That's several employees, not just the 2 women mentioned in the article above. Also, it's illegal to sexually harass and retaliate against an employee, much less several, so why the outsized attempt to downplay the number of employees in the federal findings? Additionally, city records show that Page has gotten raises since he was accused of harassing two women in 2008, and that he now makes more than $95k per year, not $90k, as stated in the article. I hope the city isn't negotiating a fat severance package for Page. Also, this story is about how Page might resign. But he hasn't. He still might not.

October 2, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
skyboxer said...

LOVE the picture the TFP used to run with this story ... "a picture is worth a thousand words." Brilliant editorial selection.

October 2, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.
jesse said...

if i'm not mistaken david cook had 2 OPINION pieces on this issue and even bennett broke down and did a cartoon on it!!

cook actualy seemed OUTRAGED about it! kudos to all the posters on this also!!

October 2, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.
UjokinRIGHTQ said...

If they got rid of all the perverts and people who abuse their positions of power the city would be down to a skeleton workforce in city and county government. That would include everything from law enforcement, jailers, and a host of other miscreants who routinely abuse and taken advantage of their positions.

October 2, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

Just wondering: When will the tables turn and someone start to dig up dirt and expose people y'all never intended to get slapped by the mud? What then?

when digging holes, dig two, three, four and more.

October 2, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

If that's true, pa, then why does your group ignore even worst violators of ethics and law? You seem very selective as to who you go after. That's hypocritical.

October 2, 2011 at 10:07 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Another example of what Mayor Ron Littlefield's cronyism has done (in a negative manner) for the City of Chattanooga. When Ron Littlefield tries to make a position for himself when his term expires, everyone should remember this. Yet another example of why he is the Worst Mayor Ever. Where is the outrage among the Chattanooga City Council? There is none, because they "rubberstamp" pretty much whatever Ron Littlefield wants. Everyone should remember this as well when the Chattanooga City Council members run for re-election.

October 2, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

Wow, I don't know this guy from Adam, but just looking at his picture gives me the creeps. And even if he (somehow) is innocent of all the sexual harassment charges against him ... he has been feeding at the taxpayers' trough far too long. Time for him to get off the gravy train for good.

October 2, 2011 at 11:35 p.m.
Legend said...

MasterChefLen said... Another example of what Mayor Ron Littlefield's cronyism has done (in a negative manner) for the City of Chattanooga.

That cronyism has been in place long before Ronn Littlefield became Chattanooga's mayor. That cronyism you allege is just an extension of every mayor, politician, and so on, prior to the present mayor and other city and county leaders.

October 3, 2011 at 7:19 a.m.
jesse said...

WELL if thats the case legend,maybe we ought to just ignore it,after all he just wanted to get laid! one way or another!

i mean you can just look at him and tell he is hurtin!!!

btw: thanks paying attn. i might have spent the rest of my life not knowing the diff!! :/

October 3, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
Overitall said...

It always amazes me how Littlefield automatically switches into "Hurt Puppy Overdrive" when somebody brings up something that he's done to hurt the city. I'm sure Ron thinks that if Paul steps down, all this will blow over. It's time for Chattanooga to get outraged and show them that this isn't the case.

October 3, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
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