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Friday, April 24, 2009

Boks Resigns After NY Ruling Surfaces

Zach B at LAist.com called it first. (well, maybe second. Or third.) Poor Ed Boks has finally given up the ghost. The General Manager of the Department of Animal Services resigned today, effective July 1.

Boks has been under fire almost the entire time he was GM of LA's Animal Services department, and not without good reason. Remember "Hooters for Neuters"? Or the ever-popular pit-bull academy run by gang bangers and ex-cons? How about his questionable Match.Com entries?

Besides these gems, Boks dodged another bullet in February. The City Council had a vote of "no confidence" in front of them that they didn't act on when word got out that it was SEIU who was really after Boks. (Still wondering what exactly set this feeding frenzy off.)

However, Boks couldn't dodge all the shots. According to an article yesterday on Indy Bay, (moved - here's the new link) last month Boks was formally found guilty of racial discrimination at his job with New York City Animal Care and Control prior to being hired by Villaraigosa as LA Animal Services GM.

Adios, Ed.

Additional: one commenter said this:

"The councilmembers and employees saw the article yesterday and demanded that Boks be gone immediately. Boks was trying to get a golden handshake. He ended up getting $30,000 to leave. That is two months of salary plus vacations and medical leave.

Boks resignation letter to councilmembers and the Mayor stated he had a "medical condition." His letter to employees stated he was leaving because he'd done "such a great job!" It's all bullshit. It was either resign or be fired and get nothing."

Additional: here's the pertinent portion of the text from yesterday's Indy Bay article which seems to have conveniently disappeared in the last few hours:

In an opinion and order dated March 27, 2009 Judge Wood stated that "Viewing the available evidence as a whole, the Court finds that a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendants terminated Plaintiff because of his race." Since the judge's ruling, the City of New York has decided to settle with the plaintiff Wesley Artope. The exact amount is unknown at this time.

November 1, 2005 Wesley Artope filed a lawsuit against Ed Boks and New York City Animal Care and Control for racial discrimination and unlawful termination. African American Artope claimed that he was fired so that Boks could hire a personal friend, Richard Gentles who was white and had no experience. On top of this Gentles had recently been fired from the Parks and Recreation Department after being arrested and charged with a felony work-related crime.

To make things even more awkward Gentles was a friend of the woman Boks was "seeing" who sat on the board that over saw his Department. As per the lawsuit Artope had been with the Department for many years and was better qualified than his replacement. "Plaintiff was promoted regularly to positions of increasing responsibility. Plaintiff has an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Plaintiff also has licenses and certifications as a veterinary technician, animal handler, and animal rehabilitator, and work experience in animal training, handling, and treatment." Gentles who replaced him on the other hand had no animal-related experience at all. In deposition Gentles admits that his “only experience with veterinary personnel was when he took his pets to the veterinarian.”

Boks initially told Artope that he was fired for "budgetary and restructuring reasons." After Artope filed suit Boks changed his story and stated he was fired because of "poor performance." Oddly enough Artope had never been told his performance was lacking. In fact he was told his performance was "great." The Judge did not believe Boks' claim that he fired him because of poor performance. Boks tried to make the case that he did not discriminate based on race because he also fired two white people and demoted another. The records show that he only demoted one white person. Boks also failed to state that the white person was offered to be demoted instead of fired, and they accepted. Boks did not make this same offer to Artope. The Judge did not believe Boks' argument. Artope claimed that when he was fired he was not given the chance to apply for the new position which replaced his. In fact Boks gave the job to his friend Gentles without making it available to anyone which is against City policy.

Boks had no explanation for this action at all. A source close to Boks said Boks gave them this explanation for why he fired Artope and hired his friend Gentles. Boks stated that Artope was "just a lazy black employee." He wanted to fire him but couldn't because of the union. He decided to get rid of his position, then recreate his position with a new title. He wanted his personal friend to have the job because he was "like-minded" and needed a job.

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April 25, 2009 2:11 PM  

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