Del. NAACP Holds Fourth Employee Discrimination Hearing - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. NAACP Holds Fourth Employee Discrimination Hearing

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Sussex County NAACP President Jane Hovington discusses how Sussex state employees are less likely to report complaints. (Photo: WBOC) Sussex County NAACP President Jane Hovington discusses how Sussex state employees are less likely to report complaints. (Photo: WBOC)

SEAFORD, Del.- The Delaware chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People listened to more state employees about their experiences with workplace discrimination at a private hearing Wednesday night. 

A number of state employees, Sussex County residents and congregants of the Immanuel House of Praise church in Seaford gathered there to express their concerns at a fourth hearing organized by the NAACP.

A retired state corrections officer, Matthew Gibbs, had the chance to speak out about the workplace discrimination he once endured.

"They need a better program as far as how you can get promoted," said Gibbs.

Gibbs said during his 31-year tenure with the department, favoritism and nepotism were how others got ahead.

"If there's a buddy-buddy system or a family member," Gibbs said as an example, "'I know Joe, he knows Sue, let's move Sue up and give her the lieutenant position,' or whatever is available."

Complaints like these and more are why Sussex County's NAACP chapter president Jane Hovington say it's time to call on Delaware's leaders to make a significant change.

"We feel it's time. We've heard too many complaints," said Hovington.

"We've gotten complaints here, complaints in Kent County, complaints in Wilmington. So we have gone to Gov. [Jack] Markell with these issues and asked him, 'What is going to be done? We need some action taken,' because these issues need to be addressed. People should not have to work in conditions such as this," said Hovington.

Some NAACP officials say there aren't enough minorities represented in public office. However, some Sussex residents say they do feel represented in Delaware's democratic sphere.

"If I ever needed something on the side of the road or if I ever needed advice," said Kerry Carr of Laurel, "I know the places to go and I definitely have the support of my officials, my neighbors, and just everybody in the community in general."

Markell did send a letter to state employees encouraging these hearings, saying he is convinced there are valid concerns to hear.

The next hearing is Sept. 3 at the Mt. Pisgah AME church in Laurel from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The meetings are private and closed to the media so as to protect the identities of the state employees wanting to speak out.

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