TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma City Council has authorized paying fired economic development chief Ricardo Noguera $174,000 to settle a claim he filed against the city after he was removed from his post.
Councilmen Chris Beale and Justin Camarata both voted no on the resolution Tuesday night. Both said they couldn't comment because the resolution is still technically a matter of pending litigation.
Noguera was fired in December after an investigation found he “created an environment that has left his female staff feeling demeaned, demoralized and unwelcomed.” In response, Noguera signaled in a claim filed with the city that he intended to sue and alleged that City Manager Elizabeth Pauli treated him and other people of color unfairly.
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While Pauli fired Noguera from his position as director of the Community and Economic Development department, she offered him another post where he wouldn't be in a supervisory role, The News Tribune reported at the time.
Under that arrangement, Noguera, as the city’s new “chief development officer,” would have been paid for three months at a rate equivalent to $141,000 a year, down from his director’s pay of $168,896 a year. The city also offered a one-time payment of nearly $7,000, according to The News Tribune story.
In his claim against the city, Noguera said other city department heads had complaints against them weren't fired because they are white, and he was discriminated against because he is a person of color.
His claim asked the city to settle the matter by paying him $1 million, providing a year of health and dental insurance for him and his family, giving him a good reference and following confidentiality and non-disclosure clauses.
City attorney Bill Fosbre said the claim never got to the lawsuit stage. He said the city chose to settle the matter because at this point "it's best for both parties to move on."
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