County Executive Astorino ‘Blesses’ Sexual Harassment Email

The Sequence of Events
**Tuesday, May 10th, George Oros, who is County Executive (CE) Rob Astorino’s Chief of Staff, and the CE’s Liaison to the Board of Legislators (BOL) and a former County Legislator himself, watched a live in-house broadcast of a BOL Committee on Community Services meeting at which closure of mental health facilities was being discussed.  The closure of these centers affects thousands of Westchester residents and is being proposed by the CE.

**While Legislator Judy Myers, who is a Democrat representing Rye City, Mamaroneck Town, Larchmont, and parts of the Village of Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and Rye Town and is the only woman in a leadership position on the BOL, was discussing the impact the closures will have on mental health patients, Chief of Staff George Oros expressed his response to her comments with the following email:

“Judy sounds so breathless – “ooooohhhhh yeeeeesssss.”

**Oros, at 4:02 p.m., emailed the above to Legislator Myers. Some say he did this accidentally—maybe yes, maybe no.

Oros – Disrespecting and Insulting ALL Women
As Phil Reisman pointed out, George Oros’ email was “… practically a direct quote from Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally.” (Click here to read Reisman’s comments.)
Oros was not responding to what Legislator Myers was saying. Oros was sexualizing Legislator Myers. He took away her mental capacity and saw only a sexual object.

Legislator Myers was elected by thousands of constituents in her district to represent them on the Westchester County Board.  They thought of her as a bright, articulate individual capable of looking out for their best interests.

Chief of Staff Oros stripped away all of that respect and replaced it with nothing more than the Old Boys Club idea that women serve only as subservient sexual entities.

The Role Modeling of CE Astorino
CE Astorino’s response to this sequence of events was to laugh it off and call it “silly.”

His explanation was that at one time Oros and Myers worked together as legislators and that that somehow made this okay.

Clearly Mr. Astorino does not understand that “harassment in the workplace” means exactly that—harassment by a co-worker in the workplace.

The expression a fish rots from the head applies here and the head is CE Astorino.  He has made it clear that in this administration women are to be second class citizens. There is not one woman—not a single one—in a decision-making position working in the County Executive’s Office.

Oros’ frat house behavior cannot simply be dismissed as boys-will-be-boys. It is not simply silliness, but instead a serious offense.  No one should be permitted to refer to another individual in such a derogatory and demeaning manner.

If it is okay when it happens to an elected official, then it will be okay when it happens to our daughters, sisters, mothers, partners, or aunts. We must be outraged now, before it hits any closer to home.

Take Action
Contact CE Astorino’s office and say, “We will not tolerate that behavior.”

Demand Mr. Oros’s immediate resignation.   Contact the County Executive’s office at 914-995-2800 or by email at ce@westchestergov.com.

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