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Former Milwaukee health official settles race discrimination suit

Patricia McManus got off to a rocky start as interim Milwaukee Health Commissioner after her appointment in early 2018 after she told a local radio audience that "the science was still out" on whether vaccines cause autism. The Journal Sentinel reported at the time that "her comments drew sharp criticism from several experts in the field."

Though McManus left the position in September of that year, memories of her bumpy tenure just received another jolt. The former head of the Health Department's Division of Disease Control and Environmental Health recently received a $30,000 settlement in a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed against the city.

Angela Hagy, who is white, claimed McManus, who is African American, gave preferential treatment to African American Health Department staffers. According to media reports, Hagy also claimed McManus removed her as manager of the city's lead abatement program and formally disciplined her because she is white.

McManus told the Milwaukee Community Journal that she was "shocked" when she learned the Common Council voted 8 to 7 to approve the settlement. She said the City Attorney's office had told her it would fight the suit.

She said the settlement tarnishes her reputation. "I'm not a racist," McManus said. "I can work with anybody."

Hagy is now in Texas, where she's Deputy Director of the Tarrant County Health Department. McManus said Hagy "probably made sure she's at a department with very view - if any - black people."

Months after McManus left Milwaukee's Health Department in September 2018, she blasted the city as "the largest plantation in the North."

According to news reports, in addition to the $30,000 Hagy is to receive vacation time reimbursement in the settlement and McManus's disciplinary letter will be removed from her personnel file.

Contact the employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates if a Milwaukee employer has discriminated against you on the basis of race or skin color.

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