Investigation has helped clear the air

Noticeable improvements have taken place in Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority facilities since Melody McClurg was hired as director less than a year ago.

For one thing, as authority Chairman Tony Morelli pointed out last week, former management at the JMHA had built up a backlog of more than 2,000 work orders for repairs and upgrades of housing units. The backlog has been reduced to 306.

But through much of McClurg’s tenure, the potential for a severe problem has hung over her and the authority’s board.

Gloria Martin, who had worked for the authority for 23 years, applied for the director’s position last year.

She was not interviewed for it. That prompted her to file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, alleging racial bias against board members.

Commission members investigated and found no grounds for Martin’s complaint, it was revealed last week.

That was excellent news, of course.

It cost the board about $10,000 to deal with the complaint. As Morelli said, that money could have been used, instead, “for a lot of other things.”

Indeed, $10,000 could have accomplished much.

But, especially during an era when complaints of racism seem much more common than they were just a few years ago, it is critically important that the public know formal allegations of it are handled fairly and decisively.

In other words, the money was not wasted. It served an important purpose. It is good that the state commission found no evidence of racial bias — but, again, being able to assure members of the public such claims are investigated thoroughly is vital.