The former Rockdale County interim director of public affairs, Holly Lafontaine, filed federal discrimination charges against the county and county CEO Richard Oden on Friday.
Lafontaine's attorney, Joshua Capilouto, announced in a released statement that the charges for discrimination based on race and retaliation were filed on Aug. 6 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia.
"Lafontaine alleges that there were irregularities during the interview process, including the alteration of interview scores, and that she was not selected despite her superior scores," wrote Capilouto.
Also among the charges is that Oden, who is black, fired Lafontaine, who is white, after her attorney complained about discrimination.
Lafontaine was one of the three finalists for the position of director of public affairs. She had been the acting director for nine months, after former director Julie Mills was let go last year, and had been the department's deputy director for about eight years before that and had worked with the county for 15 years. The position went to the current director of public affairs, Erica Fatima, who is black. Fatima had been the deputy press secretary with the Georgia Department of Transportation for about two years. The third finalist, Lisa King, is also black and had worked in the press office of former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
The interview panel which evaluated and scored the short list of about 10 candidates, was made up of Tax Commissioner Dan Ray, Tax Assessor Lamar Sims, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fred Boscarino and Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council head Glenn Sears.
The deputy director position and one other public affairs position in the four-person department was cut at the end of June as a part of budget cuts that eliminated about 30 positions altogether.
Lafontaine also filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an administrative body, which is currently investigating the charges.