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Below is the headline and text report submitted by WLOS reporter Darren Botelho on May 1, 2018.
BUNCOMBE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TAKE PART IN HARRASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION TRAINING
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) —
Following accusations former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene abused her position of power and after months of #MeToo revelations, county commissioners took part in harassment and discrimination training on Tuesday.
“We’ve been through a lot in the last year. We’ve heard a lot about people being afraid to make complaints in their workplace or retaliation they received, and, so that initiated it,” Buncombe County Commissioner Ellen Frost said.
Within the last month, Greene was indicted on embezzlement and fraud charges.
Federal prosecutors said Greene and her son misused their county-issued credit cards and cards distributed to other employees, who ranked below her, to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of improper purchases.
“We have numerous instances of employees who heard about wrongdoing by the past county manager that were afraid to speak out, because when they did they had retaliation. So, this is another step in ensuring that that can’t happen at all,” Frost said.
The training was also to help ensure county commissioners understand lines not to cross.
“If you would not say it or do it in front of your momma, your children or a reporter for the newspaper, don’t do it or say it at work,” Sabrina Rockoff, an employment law attorney who led the discussion, said.
Commissioner Mike Fryar said he and other commissioners were not focusing on human resources issues and could just focus on the voters.
“My job in the county is to try to help the taxpayers get the benefit of the tax money we’re spending,” Fryar said.
Commissioners said the next training would be on trying to avoid stereotyping others.
But, a date for that was not set as of Tuesday.