Ethics complaint filed against Flower Hill trustee for harassment

Ethics complaint filed against Flower Hill trustee for harassment
The Village of Flower Hill is one of a number of local municipalities that will see its election rescheduled to Sept. 15. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

An ethics complaint has been filed against Village of Flower Hill Trustee Kate Hirsch just weeks after she filed a similar complaint against village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer.

Hirsch has been accused of harassment by two unnamed staff members. The details of ethics complaints are kept confidential under village code, according to an email from Shatzkamer.

Trustees Jay Beber, Frank Genese, Randall Rosenbaum, Gary Lewandowski, Deputy Mayor Brian Herrington and Mayor Robert McNamara all departed for an executive session at the beginning of the trustees meeting on Monday to appoint special counsel for the two complaints.

All six who gathered in the session are members of the Flower Hill Party, with Rosenbaum, Lewandowski and McNamara running for trustee positions and Herrington for mayor in the village’s March 18 election. Hirsch is running for mayor under the Liberty Party.

Hirsch, who recused herself from the session, acknowledged while the trustees and mayor were gone that she had filed an ethics complaint against the village, and said she believed that the complaint against her was “retaliatory.”

“I was advised to recuse myself from the executive session, and I think this was ridiculous, it’s retaliatory and it’s meant to make a point,” Hirsch said.

In a statement to Blank Slate Media on Tuesday, Herrington did not mention Hirsch by name.

“I am saddened that last night our village board had to take steps to investigate two claims of harassment,” Herrington wrote. “The Board recently received a complaint from two staff members directed against one of my fellow Trustees. This is the first time since I have been on the board that an issue like this has come up. It might be the first time in the village’s history. As a result of these complaints, members of our staff have reported to the Board that they are deeply upset and hurt. Our Village recognizes the importance of ensuring that all persons within our village are assured that their work place is free from violence, harassment and discrimination. We are committed to conducting a prompt, fair and thorough investigation into these allegations and will await the outcome of that investigation before making any judgment and will act appropriately on its findings. These allegations are serious and should not be trivialized.”

Last week, Hirsch filed an ethics complaint against Shatzkamer, who she claimed was assisting the Flower Hill Party in the election at the expense of the Liberty Party.

Hirsch said she would have further comment later.

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