Local News

DMV's Promotion Practices At Center Of Lawsuit By State Employee

Posted May 9, 2002 6:06 a.m. EDT

— There are more problems for a state agency already under investigation for possible ticket-fixing and bribery. A race discrimination case against the state Division of Motor Vehicles calls into question its hiring and promotion practices. A hearing on Thursday set the stage for the case next week.

The case involves Charles McAdams, an inspector for the Division of Motor Vehicles in Greensboro. In the 1990s, McAdams held the rank of captain, the only black captain in DMV's Enforcement Section.

McAdams was demoted to inspector after Alexander Killens resigned as DMV commissioner. He said he never got a reason why. He has applied several times for a promotion, but he never got one.

Alan McSurley, McAdams' attorney, demanded, before a judge, that the DMV turn over records and answer questions needed for trial, saying discrimination is widespread at DMV.

"The essence of this case is race discrimination and retaliation against Inspector McAdams for his continuing standing up for his rights and objecting to race discrimination throughout the DMV," he said.

Thirty-seven out of 516 employees of the Enforcement Section are black. Six of those are above the rank of inspector. McSurley said he wants documentation about the DMV's hiring and promotion practices, but attorneys for the state say that goes too far.

"We've got to come back to what the issue is in this case, and it's whether or not he was discriminated against with regard to this promotion," said Tracey Curtner of the state attorney general's office.

McSurley said the case is broader than that.

"I will put in evidence that there is an intersection between racism in the DMV leadership and political corruption," he said.

Isaiah Green worked for the DMV and will be a witness next week. He claimed he, too, has been discriminated against.

"I started filing charges back in 1996. I've been in court for about 19 years concerning racial discrimination in the state workplace," Green said.

McSurley won a race discrimination case last week against the DMV. A judge ordered the DMV to give Brenda Parker a supervisor position in Henderson and backpay to 1999 when the court said she should have gotten the job.

This is not the first time DMV supervisors have come under fire. Almost five years ago, former DMV employee Algie Toomer received a $100,000 pay-off from the state. Toomer claimed he was harassed by his superiors. He also received a year of paid disability leave to recover from depression.