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County Board should publicly apologize

In reference to the actions of the Hubbard County Board at their meeting July 7 (Park Rapids Enterprise Editorial, July 14), I request that the County Board publicly apologize to Erika Randall for their demeaning and sexist remarks. Ms, Randall, due to take maternity leave in November, was taunted by the query, "How'd that happen?" to which one commissioner suggested, "They say you get pregnant when you use your spouse's toothbrush. Have you used his toothbrush?" County Coordinator, Jack Paul, was quoted as saying, "Is this gonna happen often?" The Enterprise Editorial noted that "... the board sometimes engages in tasteless jokes and bad behavior." I would ask further that they conduct themselves with the dignity expected of elected officials and treat all constituents with the courtesy and respect they'd demand for themselves and, I hope, for their wives, mothers, daughters, and granddaughters.

I spent some time talking with the County Coordinator, Jack Paul, July 16. He characterized the Board conversation as "inappropriate" but no more than a minute in length. When I spoke by phone with my own commissioner, Dick Devine, and asked what corrective measures the County Board might take regarding the issue he suggested that the incident lasted only about three seconds and required no further action. He defended his colleagues as generally very respectful. Regardless of the time spent by the commissioners and County Coordinator degrading an employee, their inappropriate actions could, rightly, result in a lawsuit against the county for sexual harassment, a costly expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

What happened to Assistant County Attorney, Erika Randall, isn't right. The least she can expect is a public apology from the County Board.

Florence Hedeen

Park Rapids