Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moore's remarks show disrespect, not lack of sensitivity

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 4:42 PM

Henrietta Supervisor Jack Moore is taking a ton of heat for his widely-circulated, "city cousins" remarks. Monroe County Republican Chair Bill Reilich wants him to resign, as do Henrietta Democratic Committee Leader Simeon Banister; Democratic County Executive candidate Sandy Frankel; the Rev. Lewis Stewart of the United Christian Leadership Ministry; and the Democrat and Chronicle editorial page.

The Rev. Marlowe Washington, pastor of the Historic Parsells Church in the city, has invited Moore to his church to "co-mingle with parishioners" and to apologize to city residents.  

Moore's remarks came to light because they were overheard by a town employee, Donald Youngman, who then filed a complaint with Henrietta's Ethics Board. WHAM Channel 13 broke the story Tuesday night, and aired segments of the remarks captured by video cameras in Town Hall; Moore could only be heard, not seen. There's no question that Moore made the remarks, however, since he has admitted it. He's told local media that he intended no offense, that he's sorry, and that he's taken sensitivity training.

The question at this point is whether Moore should go. He says that he won't resign and that town voters will decide whether they want him in office, since he's up for re-election this year. It's a big re-election year countywide, which may have "encouraged" Reilich to dump Moore so quickly. 

But there's another leg to this story, which WHAM also deserves credit for uncovering. 

Moore faces three Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaints, all of which allege that he made insensitive, offensive, and inappropriate remarks to or about the people who filed them. In one case, Moore allegedly gave someone the nickname "fat tortoise." Moore is dismissive of the complaints. He told WHAM that he's applying business standards to government, which is causing "employee discomfort."

If Moore doesn't resign, Henrietta residents ought to give serious weight to the EEOC complaints and the "city cousins" remark when they go to the polls this year. Combined, they paint a picture of a leader who lacks respect for many members of the community — news flash, Jack Moore: black people live in Henrietta, too — as well as the people who serve them. And that's something that sensitivity training will not fix.

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