Thursday, December 10, 2020

Nashville health director Michael Caldwell resigns after sexism investigation and 21 Council members call for his ouster.

Dr. Michael Caldwell
by Rod Williams, 12/10/2020 - Under threat of being fired if he did not resign, Nashville's Health Director Michael Caldwell resigned today after a city investigation substantiated some allegations of discrimination against women in his agency. Among the allegation against the doctor was that he attempted to fire a pregnant employee and questioned her “emotional stability.” 

At first he resisted resigning. He groveled and said if he exhibited bias it was “unconscious,”  "I ask that you focus on the actual findings in the report and know that they have shaken me to my core, fundamentally, and changed my point of view," Caldwell said.  "This is a wake-up call for me, both personally and professionally." He insisted he was still “redeemable.” With the writing on the wall, he resigned and agreed to serve in an advisory role, with pay, until the end of the year. The board accepted his resignation 6-0.

Before the board met today, 21 Nashville council members signed a letter urging the board to remove Caldwell. In addition to citing the alleged discrimination, the letter criticized the director for his handling of the city's Covid-19 response. The letter states Caldwell's leadership as the city combats the coronavirus has fallen short as the city has received "confusing and inadequate information regarding COVID-19 safety measures." 

The most vocal member in calling for Caldwell's resignation was Council member Ginny Welsh.  This is a list of those who signed the letter: Colby Sledge, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Kathleen Murphy, Ginny Welsch, Joy Styles, Sharon Hurt, Antoinette Lee, Emily Benedict, Zulfat Suara, Jennifer Gamble, Kyonzt√© Toombs, Tanaka Vercher, Angie Henderson, Dave Rosenberg, Russ Bradford, Zach Young, Freddie O'Connell, John Rutherford, Brandon Taylor and Sean Parker. 

 If you look at who signed the letter, it is the most liberal of our liberal Council except for one or maybe two names. None of the "good" councilmen signed the letter. Robert Swope, Stove Glover, Larry Hager, Thom Druffel, nor Cortney Johnson signed it. 

Given the absence of any of the reasonable councilmembers signing the letter, and given that Ginny Welsh was the apparent leader of this attempt to oust Caldwell and given the era of extreme political correctness in which we live and the craziness of of the "me-too," movement, I give the benefit of the doubt to the accused in a case like this unless I have more information than that provided in the news accounts. 

News reports do not report what the employee did that caused the director to think she needed to be fired. Maybe the investigation found evidence to support the finding but if it does, it is not reported by news sources. 

I would fault the Director, however, for not being savvy enough to the perils of the age in which we live to know that one does not bluntly state that a women may be "emotionally unstable," pregnant or not. I would never do that. I might think it, but some things you just don't say. If he wanted her fired, he should have developed a case for her dismissal. 

If more information comes to light on this matter, I will post it.  To read more on this and see the source of the quotes see link, link, link.

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