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Rev. Charles Williams, of the Michigan Chapter of Natl. Action Network, calls for the termination of Detroit CFO Jim Bonsall. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

Detroit —Activists are calling for a “zero-tolerance policy” and the immediate firing of the city’s chief financial officer, who is on paid leave amid claims he made racially insensitive comments.

Jim Bonsall was suspended Thursday after publicly apologizing for offending co-workers during a meeting about the city’s Angels’ Night.

“We should not be dividing ourselves, we should be building bridges so we can all benefit from the recovery that is Detroit,” said the Rev. David Bullock, president of the Change Agent Consortium. “There’s nothing about working in the city of Detroit that licenses disrespecting Detroiters.”


The city’s Human Resources Department launched an investigation last week after city Treasurer Cheryl Johnson sent a letter to Mayor Dave Bing and other officials complaining that Bonsall‘s behavior “has created a hostile work environment.” The probe is expected to take a “few days,” according to Orr spokesman Bill Nowling.

The Rev. Charles Williams II, who heads up the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network, warned if the state fails to act, a national-scale campaign will be launched.

“He should not be sent for vacation, he should be sent for termination,” said Williams II.

Johnson, who is black and was recently demoted from the city’s finance director to treasurer, is alleging Bonsall, who is white, has made racially charged remarks. In the Oct. 8 letter, Johnson also claims she was demoted for disclosing Bonsall’s “ethnic harassment.”

From The Detroit News this report was brought to you by CHRISTINE FERRETTI

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