ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Late Friday night, the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee issued a statement concerning the independent investigator's report looking at harassment claims against County Board Chairperson Frank Haney.
The report put together by an Itsaca lawyer determined that Frank Haney committed three specific acts of harassment against Winnebago County Administrator Carla Paschal. It alleges Haney repeatedly said to several people that Paschal would bat her eyes to get what she wanted. The report also claims that Haney made a suggestion of a "creepy relationship" between Paschal and current board member Dave Fiduccia. The report also claims that Haney threatened Paschal that he would suspend or fire her if he had the power to do so.
Here is the full release from WCRCC Chair Jim Thompson:
On August 15, 2019, it was announced that an independent investigator concluded
Winnebago County Board Chair Frank Haney harassed County Administrator Carla Paschal. Three
distinct interactions were identified to support these findings. Pascal is the last of three
administrators to leave - all of whom were brought into county government by Haney following his
election in 2016 (Paschal’s last day is the end of August).
Winnebago County Republican Central Committee (WCRCC) Chair Jim Thompson
condemned the actions set forth in the report. “The Republican Party has held since its creation the
protection of civil rights of all, including women and minorities, as one of its core tenets. As this
county’s Republican Party Chair, I was disturbed to read the investigator’s findings and strongly
rebuke these improper actions of Mr. Haney.”
An investigative report by the Rock River Times found trouble began in the Haney
administration during the first year with the departure of County Administrator Amanda Hamaker.
Hamaker's agreed separation in 2017 started a review by the county board into various other
departures and separation agreements - some of which seemed at odds with the transparency
promised in Haney's election campaign.
Thompson, noting that Haney’s tenure as Board Chairman will be over soon (Haney has
chosen not to seek re-election), stated “It is important to turn the page and move Winnebago County
forward in a manner to benefit all of the county's residents”.
23 News contacted Haney for reaction to the WCRCC release and Haney responded:
"I stopped supporting the WCRCC after its chairman, Jim Thompson, sent out racist slurs and jokes in their newsletter. Now they are looking to score political points when many of their members are disenfranchising the voters that caused the dysfunction currently on full display at the county. What Jim omitted was that was a major finding of the report.
Harassment is an important issue. But a 6 month witch hunt concluded no wrong doing prior to the January 2019 coup on the chairman position. No smear campaign can cover up the behavior of those directly involved. "