LAWRENCE — A former city parking clerk, who faced larceny charges, has filed a discrimination complaint against Mayor William Lantigua alleging he will not rehire her because she is not Hispanic.
Ann Anzalone, 52, of Salem, N.H., filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination claiming that Lantigua has "hired only Hispanics for clerical positions throughout City Hall and other departments outside of City Hall."
"If I were Hispanic, I would have been given the opportunity to interview and secure a position with the (city)," Anzalone wrote in the June 4 complaint.
Lantigua denied the accusations and said Anzalone was not rehired because she is not suitable for employment with the city.
Lantigua, the first elected Hispanic mayor in the state, said he has hired Hispanics, but also pointed that his two top aides, Leonard Degnan, chief of staff, and Patrick Blanchette, interim economic development director, are both white. "Are they Latino and I didn't know?" Lantigua asked yesterday.
Lantigua said Anzalone offered her support while he was campaigning for mayor. She also volunteered at his Jan. 4 inauguration. The mayor said both Anzalone and her husband contacted him and members of his staff numerous times about job openings at City Hall.
"She is mad because she wanted to be rehired. She got desperate and somebody motivated her to file this," Lantigua said.
Ann Randazzo, a city attorney, is preparing an official response to the discrimination complaint.
"I'm ready to defend my actions," said Lantigua, summing up the complaint as "a waste of time."
Previously a senior clerk at the Museum Square parking garage next to Lawrence District Court, Anzalone was accused of destroying and stealing computer files and charged with larceny of property in 2007. Her case was originally handled in Lawrence District Court, but the case was transferred to Haverhill District Court in February 2009 to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
A month later, Judge Michael Uhlarick dismissed the case against her.
Attempts to reach Anzalone for comment yesterday were unsuccessful. In her complaint, she wrote that her job duties consisted of bookkeeping, filing, money handling, sorting parking tickets, and generating other reports assigned by Frank McCann, the former public works director who retired on June 30. In the complaint, Anzalone noted that McCann is white.
"My performance during my employment was very well. I received no warnings," she wrote.
She also referred to a Feb. 13, 2007, proclamation she received from the City Council for her "dedication and contribution to the Lawrence community."
Former Mayor Michael Sullivan, who Anzalone also noted is white, was in office at that time.
Anzalone wrote that on March 21, 2007, she was laid off due to budgetary constraints. Since then, Anzalone wrote that she's applied for "many different jobs" with the city without success.
Earlier this year, on Feb. 2, Anzalone applied for a senior account clerk's job in the Water Department. On March 5, Anzalone said she received a letter from Frank Bonet, city personnel director, "stating that I was not selected for an interview for the position."
"The person hired for this position was of Hispanic background (a female Hispanic)," Anzalone wrote.
When discrimination complaints are filed, the commission will assign an investigator to each case. The commission hopes to complete the investigation in 18 months and will make settlement recommendations or call for other action, according to information posted on the commission's website.