Ancram investigation shows 'disrespective treatment towards women'
Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge reports for Columbia-Greene Media that an investigation into gender-based discrimination among Ancram town officials found "a perceived theme of dismissal and disrespective treatment towards women by many of the women who were interviewed." The report, by Attorney Elena DeFio Kean, did not find any violations of laws. The investigation was spurred by public comments in January from Jack Lindsey, chair of the Ancram Ethics Board. “As chair of the ethics board I have fielded approximately 15 calls over the past year and a half and have had numerous additional telling conversations with a number of Ancram residents, both men and women,” Lindsey said. “Uniting all of these conversations is the concern about dismissive, sometimes hostile and often inappropriate treatment of women who serve the town at the hand of certain men currently serving the town.” Kean interviewed 20 town employees, elected town officials, and volunteers for town committees and reviewed town board memos, draft resolutions, a potential code of conduct, the town handbook, the town code of ethics, and relevant emails. “The perceived dismissive behavior during meetings either through an individual’s tone, or perhaps chuckling through someone speaking, talking over people when other people were talking, which really left people feeling treated disrespectfully,” Kean said. “Concerns that the board would communicate directly with committee members if a resident complaint was received, and people feeling criticized for their work or not truly valued for the work.” Town Supervisor Art Bassin said the report would be on the agenda for the board’s May meeting, and may lead to a new code of conduct. “I think we all agree that Jack provided the community with a valuable service by raising this issue,” Bassin said. “As difficult as it must have been for him to do. And I think we’re all going to be better for this because we will figure out a way to resolve this issue going forward.” Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.