I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Independent probe clears Wiener of sexual harassment
Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener — not to be confused with Rep. Anthony Weiner, who faces calls to resign after mistakenly tweeting a picture of his crotch intended as a direct message — has been cleared of sexual harassment by an independent staff commission. The commission did characterize his comments as “inappropriate,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Here’s the gist of the employee complaint:
In Smyer’s complaint, she said Wiener stood in the doorway to her office and said “looking good.” His tone of voice and the way he looked at her made Smyer think he was “talking about her physical appearance,” according to the report.
Wiener maintains he was talking about the office’s decorations and fresh paint. It hadn’t been occupied by anyone previously, he said.
“It was simply a misunderstanding,” he told the Journal in an interview last week.
According to the investigative report, Smyer said that on another occasion, Wiener told her an offensive joke, a pun on his name and the last name of Commissioner Wayne Johnson: “Did you know that the (County Commission) now has a Wiener and a Johnson on it?”
Wiener said later that he was talking about the different kinds of hot dogs, not male genitalia, and that he was just repeating a joke he’d heard from another commissioner…
On another occasion, Oliver said, Wiener leaned over and made a sexual joke during a commission meeting. There was talk about changing positions on a certain issue, and Wiener told her, “I don’t care what position we take, as long as doggy style is included.”
Wiener has a history of off-color comments as commissioner — he forwarded racist e-mails last year:
The forwarded message – titled “Sex in the Shower” – suggesting that most African-Americans are either in prison or have been. He sent the message from his private email account to the government accounts of two other county officials.
Wiener later said he doesn’t have a “racist bone in my body.”
Wiener also faced criticism last year for other emails. In one message, he referred to a Santa Fe man as “VERY Hispanic and NOT very sophisticated – very very BLUE Collar.” He signed another email “Commissioner Rodney King” after quoting King – “Can we all get along?” – in a message about a neighborhood dispute over loud music.
The complaint did not meet the threshold for “hostile work environment.”