Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore is facing criticism for remarks he allegedly made about black people, women and the disabled.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says there is "reasonable cause" to believe Moore has discriminated, finding “direct evidence of bias."
Moore supposedly compared the weight of a desk to 10 dead African-Americans, but using the 'n' word to describe them.
In a press conference on Friday, Monroe County Democrats discussed the remarks and the ruling.
Steven Schultz is running against Moore for Henrietta Supervisor and said he’s not surprised by the comments, though he is appalled. Jamie Romeo, Chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee said it’s indicative of a larger issue.
“I think it’s been clear since even prior to the Trump administration coming to the White House that bigotry and racism has been a very big problem, including in this community as well,” she said. “I think the unfortunate findings that we’re seeing come to light today is a demonstration that we really do need to take these issues head on.”
Moore has waved off the complainants as being “disgruntled” employees but Barbara Bresnan, a maintenance mechanic for the town, takes issue with that label. She is one of the employees charging Moore with discrimination. She claims he made unwanted and derogatory remarks about her appearance and sexuality and even removed her from some assignments because of her gender.
Bresnan added that she’s never had a negative employee review or anything that’d suggest her work is subpar. She said she began documenting their relationship four years ago. In the ruling for Bresnan, the EEOC stated there’s evidence Moore made derogatory or sex-based comments to other female employees.
An EEOC filing refers to witness testimony which talks about how Moore reportedly referred to differences between two employees with the same name, Marie. He allegedly referred to them as “Big Marie” and “Little Marie” based on their different chest sizes. Marlene Youngman and Steve Mangino have also filed with the EEOC with Mangino arguing that he wasn’t allowed to return to his previous job after taking disability.
However, the ruling doesn’t mean the EEOC has decided Moore discriminated but that there’s enough evidence to have the conversation in a court of law, according to Town Attorney Patrick Naylon. He released a statement which said:
"The Town long ago denied the validity of any of the charges. Indeed, some of these claims are literally several years old. The EEOC determinations did not determine that discrimination took place. The determination means that the claims may go to the next phase, potentially to a lawsuit. In fact, we do not even know at this time if they will go to suit. If they do, the Town and the Town Supervisor look forward to defending the claims before a neutral tribunal and establishing that no unlawful discrimination took place."
Democrats didn't use the press conference to call for his resignation but to instead appeal to voters.
“To be honest he should’ve stepped down two years ago when this stuff started and unfortunately it seems that he got bolder upon getting re-elected,” said Schultz. “I would like to see the voters make a choice. I’d like to see the voters vote him out more than him step down. I don’t have faith that he’d step down. I don’t believe he thinks he’s done anything wrong.”
A possible lawsuit would be the next step. The Town Attorney says because of the threat of litigation, he has advised the Supervisor and the Town Board to refrain from further comment.