EATON — Preble County Commissioner Chris Day has been accused of making “inappropriate comments” to a Preble County Council on Aging employee. According to a letter submitted by PCCOA Executive Director Shelley Ratliff, the incident occurred in late January and left herself and two other employees feeling “uncomfortable.”
The letter asked that Commissioner Day refrain from visiting the Senior Center, issue a written apology, and attend a sexual harassment sensitivity class.
The letter reads in its entirety, “On Jan. 30, 2019, when you and your fellow commissioners attended the filming of the Preble County Council on Aging’s observation of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Ohio Association of Senior Centers, I overheard a comment you made to one of our staff members that I found to be completely inappropriate.
“More importantly, the employee found the comment to be very disturbing and she was still very upset when I spoke with her about the incident some time later. Another employee heard the comment and reported to me that she also found it to be inappropriate and her her feel uncomfortable, and the comment was not even directed at her.
“I would give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you thought you were being funny in saying to the woman that she made you ‘feel horny’ while you were handling a bicycle horn. However, you need to understand that sexual innuendo is not humorous to everyone and in this case it made the woman to whom it was directed feel embarrassed and belittled.
“I asked her if she wanted me to take this to my Board of Directors for direction as to an appropriate response and she said that all she wanted was to receive a written letter of apology from you and for you to attend a sexual harassment sensitivity class so that you might understand why comments like yours might be hurtful.
“If you are willing to take these steps, this matter will go no further. I look forward to your cooperation and confirmation that you attended an appropriate training within the next three months. Also, I think it would be a good idea that you not visit to senior center in any capacity for the time being.”
Since this letter was submitted, Commissioner Day has sent a letter to Ratliff and attended events at the senior center. Day has not attended any sexual harassment training since receiving the letter, but has in the past and plans to attend similar training in the future.
At press time, Ratliff added, “I was respecting an issue with an employee [by submitting the letter].”
She had no further comments on the issue.
At press time, Day added, “Basically, we were asked to come down and do a video for the Council on Aging, in support of them. Through the process of doing that, they had some different props and stuff they had out there. They pulled something out and told me I was going to hold it.
“I made a comment, which was off of a movie and I didn’t think anything of it, but I made a comment based on that movie. Obviously, someone took it out of context and took offense to that and I apologize for that. I will make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“I feel really bad that someone took my statement out of context, it was not meant to be offensive to anyone. I had no intentions of that being taken out of context and being offensive to anyone. Because of the prop that was handed to me, I said that, and I regret that someone took offense to that. That would have never been my thought, it was said in more of a joking matter,” Day said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH