Cedric Jackson (left) and Dante King address the crowd in front of City Hall during an Oct. 2 rally held by Black city workers. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara

Dozens of Black San Francisco employees, undeterred by hot weather and harmful air quality, rallied at San Francisco City Hall Friday afternoon to call for justice after recent revelations that a Department of Human Resources manager purportedly forged a fraudulent settlement agreement for a Black MTA employee. 

“I worked directly in DHR for four years,” said Dante King, the main speaker at the event, who is now with the MTA. “I will say this: During my time there I got to see people do things that undermined fairness, that undermined equality.”

The Black Employee Alliance and Coalition Against Anti-Blackness hosted roughly 50 participants at the rally at City Hall calling for accountability for city officials. The latter, they allege, are complicit in the suppression of discrimination complaints by Black city workers. 

Organizers specifically named Micki Callahan, the director of the Department of Human Resources, and Linda Simon, the director of Equal Employment Opportunity, an office within the department. . 

Mission Local recently spoke with San Francisco departmental HR officials  who said that discrimination complaints by employees were purposefully edited by the department to downplay the gravity of the accusations, then often disregarded entirely. 

King said that Callahan and Simon were either involved in the EEO manager Rachel Sherman’s alleged forgery scheme , or were incompetent in not knowing it was happening. 

Two days ago, a lawyer for Simon issued cease and desist letters to members of the Black Employee Alliance and the Coalition Against Anti-Blackness.  The groups defiantly disseminated the letters to their members and city officials. 

“Ms. Simon had no knowledge of Sherman’s actions. She did not condone Sherman’s actions or attempt to cover them up. For you to claim otherwise, and to assert, for example, that Ms. Simon was involved in ‘criminal activity,’ is defamatory,” the letter from Simon’s lawyer said. 

Organizers replied to Simon saying, “The Black Employee Alliance and Coalition Against Anti-Blackness will not relent from our quest for change, accountability, and transparency.  We will also not be intimidated by San Francisco City Officials or leaders who decide we are too vocal and/or ‘problematic.’ As Black people, we have been (and continue to be) forced to be silent about our oppression and our oppressors.  This is a blatant example and act of that oppression.” 

King, who frequently joked at the event that he might be fired for speaking out, has a history of calling attention to racism within the city government. 

Last April, King sent an email to San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott and his then-supervisor, Department of Human Resources Director Micki Callahan, accusing SFPD’s ranks of containing widespread, drastic anti-Black sentiment. 

King, who was then on the tail end of two years as an implicit bias trainer for the department, recalled an incident in which a group of SFPD captains and lieutenants took him to lunch, where they told him officers would respond better to the training if King were white. 

“We would be able to hear you better. Most of the people in the room would be able to hear you better,” King recollected one officer telling him. 

Although the name of that officer was redacted when city officials released the document to the San Francisco Examiner, the paper later confirmed that officer to be Captain Jason Cherniss. 

Organizers invited multiple city officials to speak at today’s event, including Mayor London Breed and more than half of city supervisors, whom they see as having “demonstrated consistent support for the challenges faced by Black employees and residents of San Francisco,” according to an email announcing the rally. 

Supervisors Shamann Walton and Matt Haney were the only city officials to accept the invitation to speak at the rally. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Supervisors Shamann Walton and Matt Haney were the only ones to take up the invitation. 

“It is not okay that Black employees have complaints that are not taken seriously. It is not okay to go to work and be mistreated,” said Walton, the lone Black supervisor. Addressing organizers, Walton said, “Thank you for doing this today and calling attention to an issue that has been going on too long.”

Haney acknowledged the “brutal” conditions of the day, citing the participants’ attendance despite the heat advisory, air quality advisory and ongoing pandemic, as evidence of their commitment. 

“It shouldn’t take revelations of a scandal for us to say, ‘you are absolutely right, we believe you and we need to do better,’” Haney said. 

Several Black city employees in attendance also spoke regarding their own experiences of racism in the workplace. 

Adrienne Heim, who works for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and is a member of the Black and African American Affinity Group, pointed out that Black MTA workers were disproportionately charged with disciplinary offenses.

Dennis Mars, who has worked for the Department of Public Health since 2014, says he applied for two promotions and was passed over both times, despite having never been late, never missing a day, receiving the top score on a test among supervisor applicants, and receiving sixth place on a managers test. 

Dennis Mars (right) speaks to the crowd about the discrimination he has faced while working at the Department of Public Health. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Mars said one of the people who got the promotion instead of him has only been at the Department of Public Health for about two years, and the other scored much lower on the applicant test. Mars believes he did not receive the promotion as retaliation for filing an EEO complaint against a manager for failing to take action when a coworker threatened Mars with violence in 2018. 

The City Attorney’s office is investigating the forged settlement agreement. The District Attorney’s office has also expressed interest in doing so.

 

We’re at the demonstrations so that you don’t have to be. Support Mission Local today.

 

 

Juan Carlos Lara

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at...

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11 Comments

  1. Did Dennis Mars botherr to tell everyone that this manager is also black and other porters like him. There is always more to the story and it’s not about race just because Dennis says it is.

    1. Just because he tested better on these civil service based exams does not mean he’s actually qualified for the promotion. Sounds like he’s being a litigious bureaucrat, trying to game the system…

    2. Just as you see Black people killing other Black people some people doing whatever it takes for them to succeed regardless of who they step on to get there Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation comes in many faucets and often it’s our own people doing it to our own kind. Just because you are born Black doesn’t mean that you want hate on another that looks like you. To GOD be all the GLORY

    3. The majority of Black people who state there is no such thing as Anti-Blackness are normally the ones who are living in the dark and benefiting from it.

  2. Anti-Blackness can come from anyone. Even another Black person. Stop being intentionally ignorant.

  3. Will Micki be allowed to retire and begin taking a monthly pension benefit that is most likely several thousand dollars a month, tax payers funded, along with a health care pension? Or will her retirement be put on hold, until the investigation is complete?

  4. In your report you concluded that Mrs. Phillips had no involvement in the “post referral” selection process of the 9102 classification. In your report you seemed to emphasize her non involvement in “post referral”, being the interview panel and the selection process. We were aware that Mrs. Phillips could not directly put herself on the interview panel because that’s would be a direct violation of fraud. In your report you failed to investigate and Mrs. Phillips involvement in the pre referral portion of the selection process. Mrs. Phillips was the qualified SME(Subject Matter Expert) for recruitment #CBT-9102-M00186. Mrs. Phillips was appointed by Louis Guzzo to participate in all aspects of qualifications, preparation, testing questions and answers outline (Q&A). Also job posting announcement criteria for the 9102 and 9104 Transit Car Cleaner hiring process with Larry Dominguez and Susan Wong. Guzzo, Dominguez, and Wong can all confirm that Mrs. Phillips was the only 9104 representing classification that had direct knowledge of any and all information pertaining to the test and interview questions/answeres. Larry Dominguez, Susan Wong and Mrs. Phillips were required to sign the “POSITION BASED TESTING JOB ANALYSIS SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT BACKGROUND QUALIFICATIONS AND STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY” (see attached) in this waiver it clearly states that the SME must disclose if they have a “family member, relative, or close friend filing for this examination…If at a later date, I learn that one of the above has filed, I realize I MUST notify the analyst”. Go through your records and recover Mrs. Phillips from that she signed and on that form she failed to state any of her relatives and friends. Mrs. Phillips took this oath and failed to inform the analyst that she is related to the following people: Andrew Phillips III, Ronald Brown, Janay Sappho, Marjorie Morgan, Robert Fitts, Nyiesha Golden,and Latanya Benson. These are just the names that are recently accounted for. There are countless other associates in the 40+ people who were recently hired. Since she took the oath to maintain absolute confidentiality can you explain how 7+ family members were hired? In your findings you state that Andrew Phillips III and Ronald Brown ranked 1 on the test, while Janay Sappho and Marjorie Morgan ranked 2. This seems to be a rather convenient coincidence that they all scored so well. You can not be that naive to see that there is suspicious activity going on. Why don’t you retrieve the scores from the interview portion, I am positive they have perfect scores because Myra coached them on everything they would be asked. In your findings you stated “all the panelist signed statements indicating that they were not aware that any of the class 9102 candidates were family members of Myra Phillips”. These three panelist and the deputy director committed perjury themselves, it is difficult to believe that none of the panelist recognize the name Andrew Phillips III. The 9104 on the panel has been a colleague of Myra and Andrew for over 30 years. The 7382on the panel works at Flynn Division and has been a colleague of Myra for at least 6 years. In your report you stated that they do not know Myra Phillips family members but you failed to mention whether they knew
    Andrew Phillips family members. You then stated that “the hiring manager Louis Guzzo was not familiar with the name Andrew Phillips III. How was Myra even allowed to be an SME if her son was a candidate? Also in your report you do confirm the fact that Ronald Brown is indeed her biological son. I guess Mrs. Phillips failed to inform you that Janay was her biological daughter and Marjorie was her daughter in law. How did you come to the conclusion that Janay was not her daughter? Did you ever request a birth certificate for Janay Sappho or did you take the word of Myra Phillips? Since Mrs. Phillips violated the statement of confidentiality, she is subject to disciplinary action arising out of her assignment as a Subject Matter Expert. Mrs. Phillips committed perjury then signing the following oath: “I acknowledgement and agree under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, that:
    1. I have reviewed and understand the provisions of San Francisco Charter section 8.325, which provies: 8.325 Aid, Hindrance, Fraud, and Collusion in Examinations ”
    ” No person or officer shall, by himself or in cooperation with other persons, defeat, deceive or obstruct any person in respect to his or her right of examination; or falsely mark, grade, estimate or report upon the examination or proper standing of any person examined hereunder, or aid in so doing; or make any false representations concerning the same, or concerning the person examined; or furnish to any person any special or secret information for the purpose of either improving or injuring the prospects or changes of any person of being appointed, employed or promoted. Any eligible securing standing on a list by fraud, concealment of fact or violation of commission rules shall be removed from such list and if certifies or assigned to a position shall be removed there from”;

    SFMTA needs to terminate Mrs. Phillips family immediately. She clearly committed fraud and collusion in the examination process. According to San Francisco Charter section 8.325 ” Any eligible securing standing on a list by fraud, concealment of fact or violation of commission rules shall be removed from such list and if certified or assigned to a position shall be removed there from”. In regards to Mrs. Phillips she needs to be terminated for her actions. By signing her name in that waiver she agreed to the following statement “I understand and agree that I will be subject to disciplinary action for any breach of confidentiality arising out of my assignment as a Subject Matter Expert for the development of Civil Service examination(s)” Mrs. Phillips should be terminated based upon her actions. She blatantly committed these crimes, she has consistently lied, deceived, and manipulated. She has a strangle hold on the entire. Ar cleaning department and we are fed up with the nepotism and corruption. She let greed get the best of her and now she must pat for her actions. Jeffrey Tumlin, Julie Kirschbaum, and Kimberly Akerman have consistently defended her and believed her lies. Now the look completely foolish for having any faith in her. There is no place for Myra and her corruption in our agency. I am sure that this will be further investigated after the events that transpired at SF DHR last week

  5. There are many Black Managers Directors HR Representative, does not meen that they are all honest and don’t participate in favoritism

  6. Just as you see Black people killing other Black people some people doing whatever it takes for them to succeed regardless of who they step on to get there often Discrimination Retaliation and harrassment comes from many different faucets.

  7. I’d like to add Hallie Albert, Angela Platzer, Maribel Mora, Rhonda Simmons, Angelica Boilard Jude Diebold. Rosaly Viera, DPH is involved at San FranciscoGeneralHospital, and has work with Mikki Callahan, Linda Simmons, Rebecca Sherman who are now fired for corruptions. There is ADA trsnsfer fruad, disability Workers Comp, forgery, intimidation, threats, fake Medical Seperation and hearings fraud, withholdings of evidence, falsifying pictures complaints lost and unfiled, lots of disability fruad. I can go on. Just please

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