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Monday, May 19, 2008


Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Halifax is stuck in some sort of weird 1940s time loop:

Carol Macomber’s human rights complaint against Halifax Regional Municipality covered three areas.

According to her complaint, the former senior municipal staffer was discriminated against by her ex-employer when she applied for a director’s post around the time of an organizational shakeup. The restructuring took place in early April 2006, though the job competition started a month earlier.

Ms. Macomber’s formal complaint, a copy of which was recently obtained by The Chronicle Herald, maps out what she says went wrong.

"First, as an applicant for a director’s position, I had to go through a competition process that differed from the process used for male candidates for comparable positions," it says.

"Second, the terms of my employment were different than those of men.

"Third, I was not recognized and supported (support which was necessary for me to succeed) in my role in the same way as men."

Ms. Macomber’s complaint says this lack of recognition and support was evident a couple of years ago, during the initial planning for the Rolling Stones concert in Halifax. Ms. Macomber says she was kept out of the loop, although her job gave her responsibility for a budget that helped bankroll the municipality’s part in the September 2006 event.

She alleges male managers assigned to the Stones concert deliberately did an end-run around her.

"I learned of the proposal from my staff, who advised me that they were going to an in camera meeting of the regional council, which would discuss the (rock concert) issue," Ms. Macomber’s complaint says.

"I was scheduled to attend this meeting to deal with another matter. I received my first briefing on the (concert) during this meeting, together with council."

"I learned that HRM’s (chief administrative officer) Dan English and the World Trade and Convention Centre Ltd. were working directly with (municipal) staff and managers who reported to me and drawing upon the community, culture and economic development budget for which I was accountable without including me and without my knowledge."

As for the job competition process, Ms. Macomber said it was sexist.

"I was the only person who had to go through a competition after the restructuring to secure a position as director on a permanent basis in spite of the fact that my performance record has always been above average, and I have decades of experience in the programs I was managing," says her complaint, on Feb. 7, 2007.

"This was not the case for some of the men."

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