cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I have been struggling over the issues involved in the case of the alleged sexual harassment that was reported by Tom Kertscher, the resolution passed by the Village Board in unanimous support of Village President Kempinski, the budgeting process and the general cloud that hovers over some village workers.
It is true that the woman who made the accusations has not filed a formal complaint, at least so far as the public knows, and that may well be a necessary precursor before any other action could be considered. I am not an attorney and do not profess to know the answer to my question. If someone does, please comment.
It is true that the board has publicly resolved that it supports the president.
It is true, if the memo is to be believed, that the woman involved has stated that she simply wants to be left alone to do her job.
It is true that the village is involved in developing its budget for the coming year.
My problems are these:
Would the village and the president be sued by the woman who made the allegations if her position were to be adversely affected by the budget process as she has stated would be the case? If so, is she, in effect, holding the budgetary process hostage? Does that also transfer over to her job performance? If so, is she now assured a position no matter the financial or performance questions that may exist? If performance questions were to be raised, can she legitimately claim that her performance has been adversely affected by the harassment that she alleged?
The identity of the woman has not been made public. How do the other women working for the village feel about the notoriety that has been brought on them because they are women and might be viewed by some in the general public as possibly being the person who made the allegations?
We have a 'she said' - 'he said' - 'they said' conundrum going on and it seems that simply hoping it will go away is fraught with problems.
Does that approach deal with the problem or simply delay the fact that it may have to be dealt with?
Do the citizens simply ignore the allegations and trust that the 'solution' so far revealed has been sufficient in this case? Again, we are not privy to whatever process may have been used behind closed doors to bring this situation to the point it has reached.
If there is no truth to the allegations, will the person making the complaint still be able to work in the same environment and be effective. If there is no truth to the allegations, will the president still be an effective representative of the people or does he risk having been somehow compromised in this process?
I do not know if there is a good answer to all the questions. I do think the questions are valid.
No matter how long nor how often I've pondered this set of questions, I have continued to arrive at the same position.
Toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube no matter if the squeezing of the tube was an accident or was intentional. There may be no truth to the allegations made by this woman, as the board seems to believe, but the allegations were made nonetheless. That toothpaste is out of the tube. I cannot help but believe that her relationship with other employees has been affected whether rightly or wrongly, and I cannot help but presume this will never be something that doesn't have an effect on relationships.
For example, a male employee would have to think that he might be putting himself at risk if he were to meet alone with this woman if that were ever required. Female employees could harbor a grudge as the result that would threaten to affect the overall harmonious environment in the building.
I believe that the village should be looking at some kind of termination buy-out that would help the woman through the process of finding other employment and that would bind the woman to making no other allegations or threats of suits against the village.
I understand that this Blog will probably be something akin to a 'lightening rod' but I believe there is a very real problem needing resolution without any profession of guilt or innocence. At this point, I don't care about innocence or guilt; I do care about the tenuous position the village could find itself occupying if something such as this isn't done.
I do not believe the current 'fix' is a lasting fix for the reasons I've discussed earlier in this piece.