By Carol Cole

Transcript Staff Writer

The Norman City Council approved $25,000 Tuesday to settle a federal lawsuit brought by sewer line maintenance employee Robert Green.

The city admitted no liability in the settlement, decided in a 27-minute executive session.

Green, a black man, alleged the city subjected him to racially derogatory comments, discriminated against him because of his race and retaliated against him because he participated in protected activity.

He originally joined an April 2003 federal lawsuit by Bucky LittleCharley, who is American Indian. That suit was dismissed on summary judgment when Green did not present his claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to being added to the lawsuit.

Green and LittleCharley refiled in June 2004 and were scheduled for trial in October 2005.

LittleCharley settled his lawsuit with the city for $190,000.

Green’s settlement proposal also included harassment training for the city’s line maintenance division, a one-year option to transfer to a comparable position, an agreement to forego collecting the $5,602.35 judgment entered against the plaintiffs in LittleCharley I vs. City of Norman and an agreement that Green first use the grievance procedure for work-related problems prior to litigating them.

Both parties will bear their own costs and attorney fees.

The council approved an amendment to the University North Park Planned Unit Development to allow its owner, the University of Oklahoma Foundation, to sell or lease unplatted portions of 40 acres or more to a buyer or tenant.

“The first thing I want to say is this has nothing to do with a (Tax Increment Financing District,)” said Harold Heiple, attorney representing the OU Foundation. “This is a housekeeping amendment.”

Ward 1 councilmember Bob Thompson questioned whether the item should have been forwarded from the Planning Commission because the vote was 3-0-4 to recommend approval of the amendment. Four planning commissioners abstained because of ties to the university. Thompson said because of the abstentions, he was concerned there was no quorum.

City Attorney Jeff Bryant assured councilmembers because the planning commission is a body that only recommends, that they did not have to have a quorum to vote for the recommendation.

Ward 6 Councilmember David Hopper questioned a charge to developer Terre Verde Development LLC for the Trailwoods Addition of $33,882.80 of deferred capital improvements to Rock Creek Road.

In the late 1990s, Rock Creek Road was widened to a 44-foot, four-lane road.

Public Works Director Jimmy Berry said at some point, as the area develops, it will be necessary to widen the road to 48 feet.

The funds required of Terre Verde would be refunded if Rock Creek was not widened within 10 years. The widening project is included in the Norman 2025 Master Plan.

Hopper said the funds should not be held if the city does not have plans to widen the road within the next decade.

All other items on the consent agenda were approved.

Carol Cole


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