Mayor, police chief square off, but chief takes home $160,000

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The borough of Ellwood City has agreed to pay $160,000 to former police chief Richard McDonald to settle charges of racial discrimination.

Almost immediately after being hired in June 2007, McDonald clashed with Mayor Donald Clyde, who believed McDonald was not qualified to run the department.

McDonald previously worked as a detective with the Pittsburgh Police Department and an investigator for the state Attorney General's Office.

During one argument with Clyde, McDonald slammed his hand on the mayor's desk hard enough to break its glass cover.
The mayor reportedly used a racial slur in the presence of McDonald, who is black, although both men said the slur was not directed at McDonald.

In October 2007, McDonald lost his police certification due to a back injury. Shortly after, Clyde wrote a memo accusing McDonald of impersonating a police officer. In response, the borough council changed McDonald's title to chief of police operations.

In 2008, McDonald filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. As part of the settlement, McDonald released the borough from further claims, but retained the right to sue Clyde as a private citizen.

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