[In the player above, watch previous I-Team coverage of emails from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport employees reporting workplace harassment.]
CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has learned Cleveland’s chief human resources officer didn’t leave city hall after all. He just got a new job there.
But a new statement from the mayor’s office doesn’t end the mystery surrounding Paul Patton.
The mayor’s office now says, “Paul Patton has not been terminated. He has been reassigned to provide advice and counsel regarding human resource and collective bargaining issues. This is all we are able to share at the moment.”
So, the city has not explained why Patton has a new job or if he will continue to earn the salary of $190,008 he earned as the head of human resources.
Last month, the president of city council said Patton revealed he was leaving, and other council members said he was out. But for days, the mayor’s office revealed nothing and would not answer questions about it.
Then the mayor’s office released a statement, saying, “Paul Patton is transitioning out of his role,” and “We … wish him well in his next chapter.”
City officials also stated that Eduardo Romero, who served as commissioner of risk management out of the Department of Finance, would serve as the interim human resources chief.
Yet, why the change? Why the mystery? It’s still not clear.
The I-Team, however, recently reported many Cleveland Hopkins International Airport employees emailed Patton and other top administrators about what was described as harassment and discrimination in the workplace at the airport.
When we recently sent follow-up questions to city hall, a spokesperson wrote:
As we begin the search for our HR department’s next leader, we have a significant opportunity for a top to bottom evaluation of best practices and areas for improvement.
To that end, the city’s law department is collaborating with outside counsel Perez Morris, an Ohio-based, women-owned firm with deep experience in labor and employment law, to assist in the review of our policies and procedures.
We also followed up seeking clarity about why they need to review policies and procedures. And, why the importance of a “women-owned firm” to handle the job?
We’ll update the story as we uncover more.