Sherrod Turns Down Vilsack's Job Offer

Former USDA employee says uncertainty about potential new position prompted her to decline.

Published on: Aug 25, 2010

Shirley Sherrod, the former director of USDA's Rural Development Program in Georgia, has accepted a personal apology from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for her wrongful firing. During a lengthy face to face meeting on Tuesday the Secretary formally offered Sherrod the position of deputy director of the office of Advocacy and Outreach, a position created in the 2008 Farm Bill. But, Sherrod turned down Vilsack's offer. The position is designed to improve the department's civil rights efforts and image nationwide.

Sherrod told CNN's Tony Harris that she was uncertain about that role as there are still many questions around that position. Sherrod was forced to resign from her position in Georgia in July after misleading and incomplete video footage of a speech she gave was posted on the internet and picked up in media reports. Sherrod says she enjoyed her work with USDA and would want to see it continue.

"I'm encouraged there are people who want to seriously talk about the racism that exists in this country," Sherrod said. "I'd like to see how we can deal with it and move forward. If I can help promote that discussion, it's something I would really like to do. I'd like to see us once and for all deal with it."