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Metro commission again lacks leader

Director’s short stint a reminder of agency tumult


The Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission is again without a director.

The agency, which investigates discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and education based on sex, race, religion, disability, ancestry, national origin or place of birth and sexual orientation, announced Tuesday that executive director Cathy Serrano had resigned Monday.

Serrano took the position April 16, 2012.

Commission Chairman Larry Wardlaw said Serrano left to pursue another job opportunity.

He said he approached her about doing her annual performance review and she asked whether she could meet with him privately. At that meeting Monday, he said, she told him she had a job opportunity she wanted to pursue which would take her “back into another role.”

Serrano, a licensed attorney, was Allen County’s human resources director before taking the Metro position.

Wardlaw said he understands the sudden departure will raise questions, especially considering Metro’s past: A history of the agency at times reads like a melodrama, with board members taking paid staff positions, former directors filing bias lawsuits against the organization, and critics saying Metro is unfair.

Serrano replaced Gerald Foday, who was let go as director in 2011 with no explanation. Foday was hired into the position in 2004, replacing director Greg Shade, who was fired after facing an internal sexual harassment investigation.

Wardlaw said there were no problems or issues and that while “left to pursue other job opportunities” is often given as a cover for more scandalous reasons for sudden departures, that was not the case here.

Attempts to reach Serrano were unsuccessful.

Wardlaw said that, similar to when Foday left, the agency will not name an interim director while it conducts a search for a replacement, but will instead rely on the leadership of staff attorney Dawn Cummings.