Detroit CFO Jim Bonsall, under fire for racial comments, resigns [Detroit Free Press]
(Detroit Free Press (MI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 15--Jim Bonsall, Detroit's chief financial officer, has resigned in the wake of an investigation over a racially tinged comment he made in a meeting with other city officials.
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who hired Bonsall this summer at an annual salary of $225,000, today accepted Bonsall's resignation, Orr's office announced today.
Orr met with Bonsall this afternoon to discuss the results of an investigation in his comments, apparently in jest, whether he'd be able to shoot anyone in a hoodie if he participated in the city's annual Angels' Night anti-arson patrols.
"Jim has decided it is best for the city and himself that he resign his post effective immediately; I have accepted his resignation," Orr said in a statement.
"Jim has made great improvements in how the city handles its cash and finance operations in the short time he has been here, but it is clear that new leadership is needed to continue to move the city of Detroit forward. I thank Jim for putting the needs of the city and its residents first, and for his dedicated service."
Orr's office is seeking a replacement for Bonsall.
Bonsall, 60, was suspended with pay pending the investigation, which came after the city's recently demoted finance director, Cheryl Johnson, said in a letter to Mayor Dave Bing, Orr and other city officials that Bonsall created a hostile work environment, berating employees in a manner that was particularly pronounced against minority women. Johnson's letter, obtained by the Free Press, said she believed she was demoted in retaliation for making complaints about Bonsall's treatment of employees and his comments. Bonsall is white. Johnson is black.
Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bonsall's hoodie remark was an apparent reference to the fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who died after a confrontation with neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
Bonsall apologized for the remark last week after the Free Press' report on Johnson's letter.
Still, several people have called for Bonsall's resignation, including the Rev. Charles Williams II with the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network.
"A public servant that serves an electorate that's over 86 percent African American should know better. We are calling for an immediated termination of his employment," Williams said in a press release.
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