Paul Page resigns City of Chattanooga post amid allegations of harassment

Paul Page resigns City of Chattanooga post amid allegations of harassment

October 5th, 2011 by Ansley Haman in News

Paul Page, Chattanooga's director of general services

Document: Paul Page's resignation letter

Paul Page's resignation letter to Mayor Ron Littlefield.

A saga that began in 2008 with two women filing sexual harassment complaints against Chattanooga General Services Director Paul Page seemed to end Tuesday with Page's retirement.

But some residents are still angry about the city's actions -- or lack of action -- about Page and are organizing an effort to review the city's personnel policies.

The city announced Page's retirement Tuesday morning, effective immediately. A hand-delivered letter dated Sept. 30 from Page to Mayor Ron Littlefield announced the retirement.

City spokesman Richard Beeland said Tuesday Littlefield "accepted this course of action."

Page has been under fire for several weeks after the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that he harassed an employee in October 2008 and the city subsequently retaliated against her. A second woman filed a sexual harassment complaint in November 2008. In that incident, Page was disciplined with five unpaid days off.

Page has denied any wrongdoing.

But even after Page retired, a loose group of residents is questioning Littlefield's response to allegations against Page. The group is organizing on Facebook and by word of mouth, said Chattanooga resident Joy Day, a member of the group.

"We are looking at next steps," Day said. "He's just a symptom of a more systemic problem."

A Times Free Press review of personnel records from Page's previous jobs with other governments such as Soddy-Daisy, Fort Oglethorpe and Dade County, Ga., showed that he was fired from at least four other government jobs, including one in which sexual harassment figured into his termination.

"Apparently it's felt that [Page's] behavior was regular and he was being covered for by his superiors," Day said.

The city welcomes residents to review its codified harassment policy, Beeland said.

"We have a policy in place, and we have training all the time," Beeland said. "We welcome residents to review it."

Page began as the city's director of asset management in 2005. Littlefield later created the general services director position and appointed Page to fill it. Page currently earns $98,462 a year.

Littlefield twice served as a job application reference for Page, including Page's bid for a job with Chattanooga.

Though Page will receive no severance, Beeland said he is still eligible for his city retirement benefits.

Danny Thornton will head Page's former department until a replacement can be found, Beeland said.

Connect with the Times Free Press on Facebook