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Continued: Tevlin: Once again, Minneapolis Civil Rights Department in turmoil

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 21, 2014 - 9:40 PM

“One thing to remember is that she was sent in there with directions to get stronger performance from that department,” Rybak said. “We set an incredibly ambitious goal: Do what it takes to get remarkably high standards.”

Indeed, controversy surrounding the head of the MDCR is nothing new. Korbel is the sixth director in nine years. Unbelievable. Headlines such as “Civil Rights Dept. in turmoil” go back at least to 1994.

At least one director was fired. Several failed to be reappointed. One director failed to give the council an annual report for five years. Cases brought to the department have at times taken years to resolve, if at all. One lesbian director was sued by two gay men who said she was interested only in discrimination cases related to lesbians.

Korbel and the department have been sued twice since she has been director, once by employee Seema Desai, who claimed she was frequently harassed by managers and forced to work long hours without overtime pay. The city paid her more than $38,000.

On and on. One of my predecessors as a metro columnist many years ago suggested it might be time to consider abolishing the department altogether, something I will echo.

Korbel, a U.S. Navy veteran with an MBA in human resources management, said when she was hired: “One of the things I see is the need for some stability.”

Now, Korbel’s “directness” threatens the department’s stability once again.

Yang is among those who think that’s a shame.

“Leadership is on the line,” he said. “I feel bad for her employees. They work hard and are underappreciated by everyone. They are very good people.”

Korbel said despite being a “target,” she loves the job and wants to stay.

“I would like to preserve the legacy of this department.”

 

jtevlin@startribune.com • 612-673-1702

Follow Jon on Twitter: @jontevlin

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