Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell is out of a job because of what he described as an “unconscious bias against women.”
Caldwell addressed this topic and resigned his position during a Metro Board of Health meeting this week.
This, after various women complained about Caldwell’s behavior. During the meeting Caldwell apologized and said he took full responsibility.
“As the fact-finders have concluded, I have acted with unconscious bias against women,” Caldwell said referring to a report that described his behaviors.
“I ask that you focus on the actual findings in the report and know that they have shaken me to my core fundamentally and changed my point of view. This is a wakeup call for me, both personally and professionally.”
One colleague, for instance, complained that Caldwell called on men before women at meetings.
“The bias was something I was never aware of, and I am focused on improving myself both personally and professionally,” Caldwell said.
“I believe I am redeemable.”
District 16 Metro Council member Ginny Welsch tweeted this week that Caldwell is “a less-than-forthright leader.”
“His arrogant and dismissive behavior is unacceptable,” Welsch wrote.
“He must resign, or be removed from his position as Metro’s public health director immediately.”
The Nashville-based WKRN reported that “the Metro Board of Health unanimously voted 6-0 to accept his resignation during a meeting called to address Dr. Caldwell’s behavior.”
“Dr. Caldwell’s resignation is effective immediately and he will clean out his office Friday,” the station reported.
“However, he will serve in an advisory position through December 31. He will still be paid as a Metro employee during this time until his employment ends on the 31st.”
As The Tennessee Star reported in May, Caldwell explained Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions at a press conference that month. For the first offense county officials would tell business managers how to comply — and come back later to make sure they were doing just that. For a second infraction county officials would deliver a warning.
“Even after the warning, if they do not listen to us there are a number of actions we could take,” Caldwell said.
“There is fining, as well as [actions against] whatever permits they may have, depending on the type of facility that they are. They will jeopardize those permits, but we don’t want to get to that level.”
Caldwell also encouraged people to never give business to any establishments that don’t toe the line.
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