Municipal authority issues apology for ‘racially insensitive’ remark

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — On Thursday, the Wilkes-Barre General Municipal Authority issued an apology for a ‘racially insensitive’ comment made by an employee at Hollenback Golf Course last month.

According to the written statement filed by a Forty Fort man through the NAACP, the employee approached him while he and a colleague were about to tee off for a round of golf on April 6th and allegedly said, “I didn’t know they allowed blacks to play here.”

The statement claims the employee later said, “I hope you weren’t offended by what I said earlier.”

“We want to make sure that this is not something that anybody across any city-owned anything or leased-anything feel like they can do something like this,” NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch President Jimel Calliste said.

Mayor George Brown tells Eyewitness News the course is leased by the municipality authority, who employs the staff.

One month later, in the apology letter on behalf of Hollenback, Chairman Charles Majikes says the Board of Directors has ordered the accused employee to undergo sensitivity training and also give a public apology.

“I am going to make sure that the organization stays on top of, and follows through with our process as it pertains to the complaint, so we are going to push it up the ladder,” Calliste said.

Calliste says the organization intends to work with Hollenback to see if they can help with the training of employees to promote awareness of attitudes and behavior towards others in the workplace.

Calliste still intends to present this case at the authority’s board of directors public meeting later this month.

The NAACP of Wilkes-Barre plans to send the complaint and corresponding documentation to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for review.

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