HINDS COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - A former Hinds County employee claims he was passed over for a promotion because of his race. Now he is suing the Board of Supervisors for civil rights violations.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court. In it, Ricky Moore claimed he was not promoted to Hinds County Emergency Management Director by the Board of Supervisors because he is white. Supervisor George Smith, who was board president at the time, calls the allegations completely false.
"Just because he was not hired. I had a lot of respect, but to make those allegations, erroneous allegations," said Smith.
It all began when EOC Director Larry Fisher announced his retirement in October 2009 and recommended his assistant of 20 years, Moore, for the job.
Shortly after that, the lawsuit claimed an unnamed board member told an unnamed Hinds employee that Moore would not be promoted because of his race. Then the job qualifications suddenly changed. According to the lawsuit, employment in a supervisory position could be a substitute to a college education, but that changed to a minimum requirement of a 4 year degree. Moore has a high school diploma.
"No way under the sun that we would make a change in the middle of the stream like that," said Smith.
In a four to one vote the supervisors confirmed Jimmie Lewis, an African American who was the Director for Permit and Zoning. The single vote for Moore came from the only white member of the board, Phil Fisher.
"When you bring someone in from a different department that has not been in the field for many years and you pass up somebody who has been in the EOC field and is well respected, I think it tells everyone else working in the county, you don't have much of a chance," said Fisher.
Moore's attorney, Dale Danks, told WLBT it is too early to comment on the lawsuit.
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