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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, January 29, 2023

After months of warnings and suspensions, former candidate for mayor Toriana Pettaway has been placed on paid leave for speaking to an advocacy group during a three-day suspension. 

Former write-in candidate for mayor placed on paid leave for conduct

Former candidate for mayor Toriana Pettaway has been placed on paid leave from her position as Madison’s racial equity coordinator as a result of working during an unpaid three-day suspension last week. 

Her paid leave comes after Pettaway gave a presentation in front of United Way of Dane County, an advocacy coalition, while she was on suspension last week, according to an email from Pettaway to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Pettaway was notified of her extended leave when she came in to work at 9 a.m. Monday.

Pettaway has been under scrutiny for “insubordination and failing to follow work rules” since November of 2018, according to an internal memo obtained by the State Journal. These investigations led to her suspension from Wednesday through Friday of last week. 

Since December, Pettaway has received a written warning, a one-day suspension, a three-day suspension and is now on paid leave for her workplace conduct.

Since November, Pettaway and her supervisor, Department of Civil Rights Director Norman Davis, have clashed over multiple instances of workplace related conflict. According to Davis, Pettaway has been disrespectful, insubordinate, has failed to notify him where she is during the workday and has failed to complete tasks on time.

According to the State Journal, Pettaway has repeatedly complained that she does not have the proper support or resources in order to complete her job effectively, and has even proposed creating the Office of Racial Equality and Social Justice, which would move her work outside of the Department of Civil Rights.

Pettaway was hired as the city’s first racial equity coordinator in 2015 and is responsible for “developing, administering and implementing citywide policies and procedures involving racial equity and social justice.”

In her campaign for mayor, Pettaway found fault in more city processes during the handling of her nomination signatures, calling the process in the city clerk’s office “some white supremacy BS” when they invalided a number of signatures on her nomination papers, making her just short of the necessary amount to make it on the primary ballot. 

Pettaway said she does not know when she will return to work and a date for a hearing has not yet been set. When asked if she will take legal action, she responded “I have a plan. I'm keeping that close," she said. "I have to have an attorney to protect myself." 

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