Explosive Allegations In Lawsuit Against City By Former Technology Chief

Pat Loeb
April 08, 2018 - 5:15 am
City Hall
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A lawsuit filed against Philadelphia officials, last week, alleges the city engages in illegal reverse discrimination in hiring. The suit also questions a $12 million no-bid contract for police body cameras. 

The city denies the charges, brought by the fired chief of the Office of Innovation and Technology.

Charlie Brennan served as the city's IT chief from the start of the Kenney administration until January, when, in a spokesman's words, it determined a "change in leadership was appropriate." Brennan's suit charges the actual reason he was fired was for objecting to hiring based on race, gender and ethnicity, rather than color-blind qualifications. Mayor Kenney, he charges, "wanted to appease his voter base...by immediately transitioning the government to a large percentage of African-Americans." Brennan, who is white, says he's all for diversity but that "it is per se illegal to alter a workplace demographic by giving preferences to race or gender."

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He also says the city violated the law in awarding the body cam contract without asking for bids. 

The Mayor's spokesman, Mike Dunn, acknowledges, in an emailed statement, the city is intent on hiring more employees of color.

"This Mayor and this Administration are extremely proud of our commitment to improving the diversity of the City’s workforce so that it is representative of Philadelphia as a whole, and to improving overall workplace climate.  As the Mayor has said repeatedly – both as a candidate and since taking office -- this is a priority not only because it is the right thing to do, but because studies shows that more diverse workplaces perform better. And that benefits all of Philadelphia," the statement reads.

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As for the body camera contract, Dunn says he cannot comment specifically on the allegations because the litigation is pending. However, he does say, "this Administration is extremely judicious and cost-conscious when procuring goods and services with taxpayer dollars from outside vendors and closely adheres to all applicable laws and the terms of the City’s contracts. We will aggressively defend our record on these matters as this litigation moves forward."

Brennan did not respond to interview requests but his attorney, Zachary Zahner, also emailed a statement:

"Mr. Brennan, after serving the City of Philadelphia for approximately 35 years, was surprised and hurt by the treatment he was subjected to during his employment.  We look forward to the discovery process including depositions and document exchanges to vindicate our client’s rights."