It is difficult to find rhyme or reason in the employment practices of the Ducey administration. From news reports of bonuses paid to controversial and caustic department heads, to heads of public servants served up on platters, the only thing consistent is the inconsistency in treatment.
Take the case of Gerald Richard. Richard, a democrat with a sterling reputation as a man of God was fired last year from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. The February 2017 termination only became news in December 2017 when the Phoenix News Times jumped on the #metoo bandwagon and requested documents related to “sexual harassment and other harassment allegations by state employees in the past two years.”
In the over one hundred pages the Phoenix News Times received from the Arizona Department of Administration, nine focused on Richard.
Nowhere in the nine page document, prepared by Human Resource Officer Michelle Ashley, is there any background information about Richard. Nowhere in the twenty-something paragraph article by Ray Stern was there any background information about Richard.
In fairness, Richard did not return Stern’s call. Understandably, Richard did not return Stern’s call.
In an article for The Harvard Crimson, Elizabeth Bartholet, addressed concerns about the #metoo movement and the “rush to judgment,” the lack of “principles of basic fairness,” and the “differences between proven and merely alleged instances of misconduct,” and the “important distinctions between different kinds of sexually charged conduct” that “have too often been ignored.”
She’s right, but she left something out. We need to know more about the accused before making a rush to judgment at the same time we must be skeptical about any allegations made about the accuser.
While Governor Ducey may be quick to throw positive-public-relations-risking-employees under the bus, we must resist positive public relations if they come at the cost of the truth.
Who is Gerald Richard?
Gerald Richard, a pastor with the A.M.E (African Methodist Episcopal Church), has served the public for nearly thirty-five years. An attorney by trade, Richard was a prosecutor before serving as Assistant to the Chief of Police of the Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department. Richard also served in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as a Special Policy Advisor for Law Enforcement.
Richard serves on the board of Project 25, an organization dedicated to protecting victims of human trafficking. In his role, Richard serves both young men and women by supporting programs that teach them how to avoid becoming victims of trafficking. The organization also provides training to law enforcement officials on how to identify and assist victims.
Richard also formerly chaired the board of the G.R.E.A.T. Foundation which provides funding for “the ideas and projects of G.R.E.A.T. students who have made commitments to help their schools and communities stay free from violence.”
Nothing in his background would indicate that Richard is not keenly aware of and sensitive to victims of sexual abuse and violence.
Richard told me that he “was raised by a great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. I have three sisters, a wife, two daughters and a granddaughter. In no way, would I intentionally sexually harass someone.”
“DES is not a place where highly professional attire is required,” said Richard. “So, if someone dressed in business attire; I would offer a compliment. It is something that I have always done. I was of the opinion that you never know what someone is going through. If you take the time to tell them that they look nice, it might be the only thing that someone says to them that is positive for that day. I have addressed youngsters, teens and young adults and I have always professed to try and find one thing you can say nice about someone, their hair, makeup, nails, attire, something and compliment them. After this incident, I am carefully rethinking that advice.”
According to Richard, he has never made a comment to a female colleague which he felt would be unacceptable for someone to say to one of his treasured daughters.
Yet, through an amateurish investigation and at the mercy of an erratic administration, Richard was found to have subjected women to “inappropriate treatment” and was summarily dismissed from his job as deputy director of the DES’ Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).
“Missing pieces” and “some lies”
A trusted source, intimately familiar with the investigation, told me the final report is “missing pieces” and contains “some lies.”
That wouldn’t be the first time a report was issued by Ducey minions that is “missing pieces” and contains “some lies.”