County Commissioner Warren Mackey on Wednesday said social media "is blowing up" over the issue of a longtime employee at the 911 Center allegedly being told she must go back to her natural hair color.
He played to the commission a four-minute video of City Councilman Anthony Byrd bringing up the issue on Tuesday night at City Council.
Councilman Byrd said, "This woman has worked there for 30 years and has had the same color for say 15 years. I know about four women at the county who have purple hair and one who has pink hair."
He added, "I know we don't have any control over the 911 Center, but we do contribute right at $5 million to the center."
City Councilman Russell Gilbert said, "These kinds of things are beginning to be a pattern at 911. They say they are on the county HR program. Has this been run through county HR?"
He said, "No one should be bullied on the job."
Commissioner Mackey said the social media response has been "that racism abounds in Hamilton County government. People are angry. They want something done about it."
Sandra Ellis, who heads county human resources, said her office is involved with the 911 office on certain matters, but not on discipline. She said different county offices are allowed to set their own policies on workplace appearance.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, "Racism has not, is not and will not be tolerated in county government. We're way past that."
He said there are few racism complaints and Ken Jordan looks into each of those and resolves them.
Commissioner Mackey asked if Mr. Jordan can be directed to look into the hair color situation at 911 and report back to the commission. County Mayor Coppinger said that would be "an overreach." He said 911 and its director are under a board. He said Mr. Jordan could only get involved if asked to do so by the 911 Board.
John Stuermer, 911 executive director, did not respond to an email request for comment.