By Fran Fox-Pizzonia
On October 8, 2021 the public learned two important facts through an article released by the Mid-Hudson News. First, it revealed that Legislator Steve Brescia “violated the county’s policy against discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, according to an investigation by the county’s human resources department”. Second, we learned that Mr. Brescia himself released the findings letter to the Mid-Hudson News to “avoid the perception of a coverup”. In fact, it weaponized the report.
Both actions should have serious consequences. I join Republican and Democratic leaders in calling for the resignation of Mr. Brescia from his Legislative duties effective immediately.
Violations of Sexual Harassment Policy and the very systems designed to protect complainants should be taken seriously. We have come a long way to create systems to bring sexual harassment complaints forward by offering protections to complainants to end workplace harassment, intimidation, retaliation and fear.
I also call for the Bi-Partisan Orange County Legislative Chamber to act swiftly and effectively in enforcing immediate sanctions against Mr. Brescia should his resignation not be forthcoming.
Mr. Brescia has a long history of treating colleagues and women with blatant disrespect without consequences. This incident has been no different. Instead of responding with dignity and empathy, Mr. Brescia doubled down to minimize his behavior by releasing information to the press to convince the public and his constituents that his offensive behavior ‘wasn’t that bad.’
This past summer we learned that Mr. Brescia’s Mayoral violation of three women’s First Amendment rights resulted in a settlement, costing taxpayers over $30K. Mr. Brescia’s response was that it was ‘covered by insurance’ and then blamed the public for his loss of self control.
Mr. Brescia’s actions are reprehensible. He has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the moral fiber, upstanding character and basic integrity to hold public office.
For decades, Mr. Brescia’s Legislative colleagues failed to address his inability to carry out the duties of his office with dignity and respect. With just a few weeks to go before Election Day, it is now up to the voters.