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Cherry Denounces "Conscious Act of Deception," Calls for Final Report's Release

Written By Editor on 10/28/13 | 10/28/13


Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry, who previously blasted the board of supervisors decision to release only the first portion of Fitzmaurice's findings as a "betrayal," issued a press release this morning that further denounced the board's decision to release only the speculative original copy as a "conscious act of deception," that he "considered to be a betrayal of the public trust."
 
Adding in his conclusion that "I find it disturbing that the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors has intentionally misled the press and the public by releasing an eight-month-old summary of undocumented hearsay and deceptively labeled it as a “Final Report”. Stating in the last sentence that he hoped that the "public and the press will join me in demanding that the actual Final Report, which was delivered to the Board on October 24th, be released immediately."
 
Mr. Cherry's release in its entirety:
We have been told for months now that the investigative report into claims of discrimination and harassment in the Schoharie County workplace was still being investigated and compiled and was not ready for release.  This matter has been brought up month after month at Board meetings throughout the summer and fall of this year, most recently on Friday, October 18th when it was announced by the Chairman of the Board that Attorney Mark Fitzmaurice could not attend the meeting that day as expected because he was still working on the final report.  It is important to note that on the date October 18, 2013 the final Fitzmaurice report was not yet completed, as stated for the record by the Board Chairman.  
On Thursday, October 24th, after a entering into a four-hour executive session with labor attorney Mark Fitzmaurice of White Plains, NY, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors released to the press and the public a document labeled the "Confidential Final Report Concerning Discrimination, Harassment and Intimidation in the County Workplace".   Note the very important word “Final” in the title of that document.  The Board of Supervisors also promptly posted this 104 page document on the official county website under the title “County Investigation Report”.     
It is no wonder that news sources as well as the public immediately concluded that this was, in fact, the final report that we have all been anxiously awaiting for the past 12 months.  We were lead to believe that this was the very same “final report” that was not ready for release just six days earlier on October 18th.  We believed that because that is exactly the way the Fitzmaurice and the Board have labeled it.  “Final”, by definition, means end result or ultimate conclusion.  But does anyone find it curious that on page 104 of the recently-released report, you will find that the date that it was actually delivered to the Board was on February 5, 2013?  More than eight and a half months ago…  This is NOT the document that was delivered to the Board on October 24, 2013.   

The document that was released and labeled as “Final Report” is actually nothing more than a “preliminary summary” and is more than eight months old.  Why was this stale document mislabeled as the “Final Report” and released on the very same day that Attorney Fitzmaurice delivered the actual final report to the Board?  Can it really only be a coincidence that on the same day that Fitzmaurice delivered the true results of their year-long, $317,000 investigation, the Board decided to release to the public Fitzmaurice’s preliminary report that the Supervisors had already had in their possession for most of this year?   They could have chosen to release this 104 page document at any time during the past eight months.  It seems to me that there is a distinct possibility that the “real” final report that was delivered on October 24th was going to be embarrassing to some members of the Board of Supervisors, most of whom are running for reelection, and election day is now only a week away.  That may be the reason for this conscious act of deception that I consider to be a betrayal of the public trust.  
I submit that this act of deception was not a coincidence.  I believe that the Board of Supervisors intentionally released the “old” preliminary report in an effort to satisfy the press and the public’s outcry for the final report.  They did this despite the fact that they knew very well that the preliminary report would unjustly damage the reputations of some public officials, including myself, because it included unfounded hearsay, rumors, and baseless accusations without any proof or evidence.  On page 5 of the report, Attorney Fitzmaurice says in reference to his questions during the interviews with county employees:  “Regardless of the source of the information, we wanted to determine if they had heard or knew about acts of discrimination, intimidation or harassment in the Schoharie County Workplace.  This part of the question was designed to elicit a broad range of information, including hearsay…  We told the interviewees we did not care where the source of their information came from.  Even rumor, innuendo and hearsay were to be confirmed or dismissed if possible.”  Not documented facts mind you – they were asked to give the interviewers rumors and hearsay.  
I find it disturbing that the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors has intentionally misled the press and the public by releasing an eight-month-old summary of undocumented hearsay and deceptively labeled it as a “Final Report”.  And worse yet, they released this compilation of hearsay on the exact same day that they did in fact receive the actual final report from Attorney Fitzmaurice in a closed-door executive session.  One can only conclude that the Board took this action in an effort to satisfy the public outcry for the report, while at the same time protecting themselves or their friends from the embarrassing results of what Fitzmaurice delivered to them on October 24th.  I hope the public and the press will join me in demanding that the actual Final Report, which was delivered to the Board on October 24th, be released immediately.
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1 comments:

Linda Truax said...

One would think that full disclosure would be what all voters would and should demand. So where are you and why aren't you? Aren't you sick of the lying and misdirection of politicians?

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