Superior city clerk agrees to resign under separation agreement after being reprimanded

Camila Ramos accused of insubordination and inappropriate treatment of staff

Camila Ramos
Camila Ramos works at the main counter at the City Clerk’s office in the Government Center in Superior on June 29, 2021. Ramos has agreed to resign as part of a separation agreement reached with the city on March 24, 2023. Photo courtesy of Jed Carlson/Superior Telegram

The city clerk in Superior has agreed to resign as part of a separation agreement after being reprimanded for insubordination. That agreement includes an acknowledgment that she is pursuing a federal discrimination complaint against the city.

Under the agreement, City Clerk Camila Ramos stopped working immediately March 24, but she will continue to receive paid leave until her resignation takes effect on June 24. Ramos had been placed on administrative leave on March 15 following an unsuccessful appeal of a reprimand by the mayor.

The Superior Telegram reported that city officials were weighing whether to bring charges to the city’s civil service commission to terminate her employment.

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On Thursday, Superior Mayor Jim Paine declined to rehash details of the reprimand, which involved allegations of mistreatment of staff. “However, I should point out that I did say publicly that the information within the reprimand did merit termination,” Paine said.

He added the city would have examined new information that wasn’t included in the reprimand if a separation agreement hadn’t been reached, although he didn’t provide further details.

“I’m very grateful for Clerk Ramos’ service,” Paine said. “I’m glad that we came to an agreement in the end.”

Multiple attempts by WPR to reach Ramos on Thursday were unsuccessful.

According to the separation agreement, Ramos has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Paine said he’s confident the city has pursued a process that treats employees fairly and without discrimination. He expects the complaint won’t be substantiated.

“It’s always good to have outside eyes looking at your organization because everybody has some implicit bias. Everybody is capable of mistakes, and every organization can improve,” Paine said. “Any kind of investigation that can help us do better and become a more fair and just workplace is always welcome.”

A spokesperson with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it’s prohibited from providing information about investigations, citing strict confidentiality provisions.

When charges are filed, a notice is sent to the employer within 10 days. If mediation doesn’t apply, an employer may be asked to provide a written response to the charges. Investigations may be closed if a charge is untimely or the laws enforced by the commission don’t apply, and investigations typically last about 10 months.

The mayor appointed Ramos city clerk in 2021 with approval from the city council. She had been employed at the city since 2016.

Under the separation agreement, Ramos will receive three months’ pay and benefits. Cammi Janigo, the city’s human resources director, estimated Ramos’ salary would cost the city roughly $20,500 while she will receive around $12,000 in accumulated paid leave. She will also receive health and dental coverage through July 31. Family health coverage will also be allowed under time banked through Dec. 31, 2024.

Earlier this month, the city’s human resources committee upheld the letter of reprimand issued by Mayor Paine against Ramos.

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In the letter, Paine said he and Janigo had tried to counsel Ramos in May of last year for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct against the former deputy clerk and clerk assistant.

“At that time, both of your full-time staff had resigned their positions and cited your treatment towards them as the primary reason,” Paine wrote.

Paine also cited her denial of time off for another staff member during the February primary election. The letter states Ramos sent mixed messages about granting the request and denied the leave on a Saturday night after providing written assurance to the mayor that it would be granted. When confronted, it states Ramos accused Paine of abuse of office for declining to authorize additional staff if she denied the request.

The mayor said the assertion was “not only false but egregiously insubordinate” and required immediate improvement or her resignation.

According to the Telegram, former deputy clerk Stephanie Becken told the city’s human resources committee that Ramos insulted her when she received compliments from city staff and accused Becken of benefiting in her role because she’s white. Heidi Blunt, who is now acting city clerk, was the one who was denied leave by Ramos. She also recounted instances of inappropriate or unprofessional treatment that included dismissing her ideas and comments about her face. Ramos reportedly argued the election was the reason she denied the request for time off, saying “the No. 1 job of the city clerk’s office is to administer safe, secure and transparent elections.”

In its decision, the human resources committee upheld the reprimand, citing “evidence of insubordination.” The committee recommended Ramos be given an opportunity to receive additional training.
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Paine said it’s best the city and Ramos reached an agreement, noting it’s not an admission of guilt by either party. In the meantime, he’s confident the city will be able to properly administer the upcoming election on April 4.

“We are ready to move forward. The election is in good hands,” Paine said. “It is well-supervised by a number of experienced and expert personnel. I believe that acting clerk Blunt is extraordinarily capable and ready to lead.”

The city will begin the hiring process for a new city clerk after the April 4 election.