CITY REPORTER continued

This is where community support for the program is critical, says Cozen. That is also why Landmarks has been holding public meetings with community members for the past few months. It hopes that after citizens take a good look at the plan, they will in turn lobby hard to their city council representative to vote for the plan.

"We would really like to be invited to give a presentation to the different neighborhoods, so we can really get the community to support this," says Cozen.

The third public meeting was Monday night at the main library, where about three dozen citizens turned out to show their support and voice a few concerns with the plan. Landmarks members will try to incorporate the citizens' concerns into a final draft.

Copies of the preservation plan are available for review in all public libraries or can be purchased in room 443 of City Hall for $2 each (there are two volumes).

And anyone who wants to make suggestions to the commission can attend its next meeting on July 15, 1997, at 4:30 p.m. at the main library, 1850 Peabody.

Cozen says he expects a final draft of the plan to be completed in three weeks, when it will be ready for presentation to the city council.


Teenagers at the Bridge Builders youth diversity camp Sunday use teamwork to pass one of their peers through ropes without letting her limbs touch them. But the real goal of the exercise is to use each other's talents and ideas to open their own minds and learn leadership skills by embracing diversity.

Held on the University of Memphis campus, the camps run for a week and include workshops and outdoor activities. About 120 students from 45 area schools are participating this week.

Jermaine Ousley, 17, from Northside High School, says that the most important things he learned so far were teamwork and patience. "If everyone is talking at one time and no one stops to listen to each other, things will never work," he says.

And this is exactly what camp director Chris Musser wants to hear. "I told them that this week I really want them to open their ears and open what's between those ears," he says. "In the real world you are going to have to deal with issues about race, gender, and religion. And it's always best to work on this when you are still young."


FedEx Loses Demotion Lawsuit

by Jacqueline Marino

FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION HAS lost a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit brought by a former 16-year employee who accused the company of demoting him unfairly.

FedEx has said Keith Keltner, a former senior manager in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was demoted from his $61,000 position in 1994 for hiring his wife, which he denies. Keltner says the real reason for his demotion was that his wife refused the sexual advances of his former supervisor, who instigated an investigation into her hiring and demoted Keltner to a non-management position a month later.

FedEx denies the Keltners' charges, and, in February, Keltner's wife, Diane Sarbiewski-Keltner, lost a sexual-harassment lawsuit against the company in a Pennsylvania U.S. district court. The same jury, however, decided in favor of Keltner, who sued FedEx for not following the proper internal grievance procedures as set forth in the company's employee manual. Keltner was awarded $3,500 in damages.

"The law that was established in this case is a great victory for the employees of Federal Express," says Franklin E. Fink, Keltner's attorney. "It establishes that the guaranteed fair treatment procedure (GFTP) is a policy that Federal Express can't walk away from."

Senior FedEx attorney Colby Morgan declined to be interviewed. But through a spokesperson he said, "Neither the court nor the jury ever found that the Federal Express Corporation's policy and procedures, including the guaranteed fair treatment procedure, constitutes a binding contract."

Keltner, now an operations manager at Waste Management of Pennsylvania in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, says FedEx managers did not properly investigate his claims or give his case a serious review.

"What really makes it worse is that this is not a case of a disgruntled employee," Keltner says. "I loved the company and always did. I would still work there. I loved my job. People say I was purple-blooded."


Employees Say New Grocery Denies Wages

by Olivia Ralston

ALBERTSON'S, INC., THE SUPERMARKET chain that recently announced plans to open a store in Bartlett, cheerily professes a commitment to customer satisfaction and low prices, but allegations by employees suggest a dark side to the company. They claim that Albertson's encourages off-the-clock work and unpaid overtime in an effort to keep costs low and profits high, an accusation in sharp contrast to the people-friendly legacy of the chain's founder, Joe Albertson, who died four years ago.

According to Boise Weekly, in September 1996 employees in California, Washington, and Florida filed a series of class-action suits against Albertson's, complaining that employees are regularly deprived of wages, regular and overtime.

Albertson's public-relations director and sole spokesperson, Michael Read, says the allegations are part of a scheme by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) to jump-start membership. Employees in 14 of the 20 states where Albertson's has stores belong to the UFCW. But both union and non-union employees have registered the same complaints against the company.

The UFCW claims to have fielded 5,000 calls and over 2,000 certified complaints alleging that the chain skimps on wages and overtime pay. Read counters that Albertson's paid an average of $26 per week in overtime to each employee last year.

With 839 stores in 20 states, Albertson's is the fourth-largest grocery chain in the country and, with a 6 percent profit margin, one of the most profitable. The Bartlett store, which would be over 61,000 square feet in size, would be Albertson's first in Tennessee.

The Bartlett Planning Commission approved a shopping-center master plan by developer Cypress Southern Co., Inc., on July 7th. Specific site plans, site layout, and subdivision plans still await approval.


Short Takes

* The Shelby County Sheriff's Department has withdrawn its appeal of the right of former deputy jailer Earley Story to receive unemployment benefits. Story was arrested for allegedly buying pot from an undercover officer in late January.

Story was fired shortly after the incident, though he has yet to be indicted. General Session Court Judge Ann Pugh threw out the case in a preliminary hearing because prosecutors did not produce an eyewitness. The department has a policy that allows it to fire employees for criminal involvement even before they are convicted in a court of law.

Story was initially denied unemployment benefits, but was later approved. He receives $220 a week. The department was in the process of appealing Story's right to the benefits, but withdrew its appeal last week, according to Debbie Henderson, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Board of Review.

Shelby County Administrator of Personnel James Martin says that it's not unusual to withdraw if they have a pending criminal case. Such appeals may affect future litigation, he says.

* Massachusetts-based Barnstable Broadcasting, which already owns and operates WGKX-FM (KIX 106) and WSSR-FM (Star 98), announced late last week that it has agreed to purchase WWKZ-FM in New Albany, Mississippi, from Meridian-based Radio South. The 100,000-watt station will begin covering the Memphis market from a transmitter now under construction in Olive Branch once the station's license is reassigned to Como, Mississippi.

WWKZ will become the eighth station in Memphis with 100 kilowatts or more, three of which will now be owned by Barnstable. According to John Bibbs, president of KIX Broadcasting, the station will be programmed out of the KIX/Star 98 building at 965 Ridge Lake Boulevard, although he wouldn't disclose what its format will be.


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