Moody County will be doing sexual harassment training with its employees after a county commissioner admitted he spoke inappropriately in a public meeting.
The county commission met in a special meeting Friday under the description of “Commissioner Conduct,” to address something Commissioner John Schiefelbein said in the regular meeting on Aug. 6.
At that meeting the Sheriff’s Office had requested $45,000 in its 2020 budget to buy new car cameras and body cameras, which are going into the fifth year of use with a life expectancy of five years.
Commissioner Dan Miles asked if there is any value in the used cameras so that they might be sold or traded in. Sheriff Troy Wellman said no, and Commissioner Tom Ehrichs asked if they would be of use by a private citizen such as himself or Miles, for example.
Commission Chairman Rick Veldkamp asked what he would use them for.
“Sex,” Schiefelbein replied.
Veldkamp quickly interjected, “I think it’s time to move on.”
Schiefelbein did not apologize or retract his comment at the time.
In the special meeting going over his conduct, he said the word “sex” isn’t vulgar, but these days everyone is sensitive about what is said. He tried to blame others for what he said he was “provoked” to say and to question why it rose to the level of a special meeting on conduct, saying it was just a little zinger meant to be funny.
“A little humor is good I guess. Perhaps I went too far by saying the word ‘sex,’” Schiefelbein said.
He now understands that he should not have said it.
“Looking back, it was wrong,” he said. “I’m sorry I said that.”
While commissioners can have a little fun at meetings, they need to make sure it is appropriate, said State’s Attorney Paul Lewis.
Veldkamp said commissioners always need to look at themselves and make sure their conduct is appropriate.
The harassment training will be given to all county employees and is being considered to be offered on an annual basis.
Wellman said this is the second time the county has had to turn to sexual harassment classes, which seem like a smear to all county employees when it is based on one individual’s actions.
“Unfortunately, it makes us all look bad to the people that voted us to be in the spots that we are in,” he said.