TONIGHT: During public comment at tonight’s Ulster County Legislative meeting, request that county legislators immediately censure any county offical when in violation of county sexual harassment policies.
Tuesday, October 15th @ 7:00pm
County Office Building
244 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12401
FIND YOUR ULSTER COUNTY LEGISLATOR
On Friday October 4th, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) called on the legislature to publicly condemn Legislator Hector Rodriguez (D), who has been credibly accused of sexually harassing as many as eight women according to an independent investigation.
“Clearly, these actions, had they involved any member of my own administration, would lead to a summary dismissal. Legislator Rodriguez violated the public trust, violated women, and is unfit for public service.”
In summarizing the testimony of the women, the investigator found that “Mr. Rodriguez exploited his position as a legislator to gain access to multiple women in an effort to proposition them and ‘hit on them’.” When the women declined his advances he retaliated by refusing to interact with them professionally. At least two of the women directly confronted Legislator Rodriguez about his sexually harassing behavior and one woman stated that he “forcibly kissed her.” Additionally, while working at the Golden Hill Nursing Home, Legislator Rodriguez received a written warning in 2014 asking him to cease making sexual advances after an employee reported that he engaged in unwanted physical contact and made her feel “uncomfortable.”
While individual legislators have condemned his behavior, the legislature itself has not issued a collective statement acknowledging the wrongdoing and upholding a commitment to zero tolerance. There have been discussions at censuring Legislator Rodriguez at tonight’s meeting at 7pm, though not all members of the caucus support censure.
WHAT IS CENSURE?
“Censure is a formal, and public, group condemnation of an individual, often a group member, whose actions run counter to the group’s acceptable standards for individual behavior.” A formal statement of disapproval is the least that the Ulster County Legislature can do in this circumstance.
Censure holds no professional repercussions beyond what Rodriguez has already revealed, but it has significant meaning to the victims and the public-at-large to know that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in Ulster County government.