Racial slurs alleged at Basin Transit Service

Update:  The Basin Transit Service Board of Directors met Wednesday to address the allegations.

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The assistand manager of Basin Transit Service in Klamath Falls is accused of using racist language against an employee.

BTS Lead Mechanic James Barnes says Paula Quinn called him the ‘N’ word last December.

“We were in counting vaults, and she says, ‘What’s up, my n_____r?”  Barnes stated.  “And I went, whoa – I couldn’t believe what I heard.”

BTS Administrative Secretary Candice Shepherd claims she witnessed the incident.  “And my response was something like, ‘How does that work?’ or, ‘We do that now?’ – because I was shocked.”

NBC5 News spoke with Paula Quinn by phone, she denies the allegations.

“This is a serious thing.”  Responded Barnes.  “So I can see where she probably would deny it.”

Basin Transit Service General Manager Mike Stinson says the incident triggered a 2 month investigation.

It concluded that the slur was used.

“We had a grievance.”  Confirmed Stinson.  “Filed by an employee that stated a manager had used inappropriate and racial comments when addressing the employee.”

Stinson adds several steps are being taken.  “First, we’re going to apologize to the employee.  We have some anti-bias training we will be implementing.”

“The damage is already done.”  Barnes notes.  “So I don’t think that an apology is going to make any difference in my opinion.”

Barnes says he now plans to retire from BTS in October.  “I don’t want to be employed there is she’s going to be there in charge.”

“Removal is what I would suggest.”  Agrees Shepherd.  “I don’t think they’ll do that, but that’s what I think should happen.”

Stinson says the personnel issue isn’t fully resolved.  “If that includes firing, we haven’t made that determination yet.”

The Basin Transit Board of Directors will host a public meeting Wednesday afternoon at 4:15 in their office on Adams Street.

They plan to read a public letter of apology to Barnes.

Barnes says he does not plan to attend.

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