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Jul. 10—ANDERSON — After receiving complaints about the actions of newly appointed Anderson Street Superintendent Levi Cox, city council members are seeking answers.
The administration of Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. appointed Cox to the position in June, but the official announcement was made last week.
Several posts from 2019, since deleted from Cox's Facebook page, could be construed as offensive to immigrants and Muslims.
Cox said he considered them "comical" and didn't express his feelings.
Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes said Thursday during a meeting of the Anderson City Council that there was a problem with Cox working with a diverse population.
"If we know the discrimination laws, we shouldn't be getting sued and wasting taxpayer dollars," she said.
Crumes said the Facebook posts should have been a red flag and now there are alleged complaints.
She said the street department shouldn't be run like a plantation, a reference to slavery in the U.S. prior to the Civil War.
Councilman Ollie H. Dixon said he has received several complaints about Cox.
He said complaints have been coming about alleged discrimination from the street, parks and water pollution control departments.
David Eicks, chairman of the Anderson Board of Works, asked Crumes to call him because the allegations are considered a personnel matter.
Councilman Jon Bell agreed the specific allegations are a personnel matter, but added the problem is a lack of professionalism among department supervisors.
"There are professionals willing to serve the public," he said.
Crumes said all supervisors and department heads should receive training on interacting with employees.
The Washington, D.C.-based Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization, in a press statement called on Cox to publicly renounce the posts and apologize to Muslim congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
"Similar offensive posts, including from (President) Donald Trump, have led to both women receiving death threats," said Madihha Ahussain, senior policy counsel for Muslim Advocates.
Ahussain further stated that if Cox fails to renounce the posts and apologize to the two congresswomen, Broderick should immediately terminate Cox's employment.
"Cox's non-apology demonstrates that he does not understand the seriousness of his actions," he said. "Someone who remorselessly shares dangerous, anti-Muslim hate like that cannot be trusted to ensure all of Anderson's residents have safe and equal access to public services, regardless of their background."
Muslim Advocates said Facebook bears some of the responsibility.
"Muslin Advocates is also suing Facebook for deceiving customers by claiming that the company prohibits hateful, anti-Muslim content on the platform," he said. "Half-measures are not enough. Facebook must not let elected officials or anyone else spread disinformation and hate without consequence."
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.