BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP (WWJ/AP) – A governing board in Michigan wants a township clerk to resign after she was recorded using a racial slur to describe a black supervisor.
A resolution passed Tuesday night by the board in Saginaw County’s Buena Vista Township calls for Gloria Platko to step down, MLive.com reported, echoing similar requests by some area groups and residents.
Platko was the only board member absent from the meeting to discuss her conduct.
The resolution states the resignation would be “for the purposes of moving the township forward and uniting the township for the betterment of all its citizens.”
Platko, 69, said she was advised not to attend the meeting. She has previously apologized and said she wouldn’t resign.
“I don’t have a discriminatory bone in my body,” Platko said in a letter to MLive.com. “I spoke out of frustration following a long history of difficulties with the supervisor. That is not an excuse for my language but I hope it relieves any hurt feelings my remark may have caused anyone.”
The resolution is largely symbolic, since the board in Buena Vista Township, about 80 miles northwest of Detroit, can’t fire an elected official.
Tuesday’s meeting followed one April 22, where interim township manager Dexter Mitchell played an audio recording of a January phone conversation between himself and Platko, which included Platko using the slur when talking about Supervisor Dwayne Parker.
“I forgive her, Clerk Gloria Platko, for those words,” said Parker, who voted for the resolution Tuesday. “They were hurtful, they were painful but I want to move on.”
At the meeting, the vice president of the NAACP’s Saginaw chapter, Terry Pruitt, renewed his organization’s call for Platko to step down. Saginaw City Councilman Norman Braddock was also in attendance, representing the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony.
“As an elected official myself, I’m not one who normally supports recall efforts but this is one of those rare cases where it may be in order,” Braddock said.
Buena Vista Township resident Betty Garza said she believes Platko’s use of the slur was wrong, but offered words of support for Platko. “She does have a kind heart and she has helped many people in this community,” Garza said.
Community groups are also speaking out against Platko.
David Alexander Bullock, of the Change Agent Consortium, agrees she should resign. He’s calling for a nationwide zero tolerance policy when it comes to racist speech.
“Calling an African-American supervisor an ‘arrogant N-word’ resurrects images of America’s not to distant past of practiced overt racism,” Bullock said. “One hundred fifty years since the Emancipation Proclamation there is no excuse for this type of defamatory language. We encourage her to step down immediately.”
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