Blog: Ohio mayor was right to resign after gay slurs

9:41 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
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A small town Ohio mayor resigned Saturday after being accused of bias against a gay police officer. I'm ashamed that she's an Ohioan.

Yes, I know there is ignorant bias afoot everywhere but most people keep it to themselves. This mayor has embarassed all Ohioans.

Mary McAngus, 78, was the mayor of the Village of Pomeroy and, if you haven't heard about this, she is accused of repeatedly referring to police officer Kyle Calendine, 21, as a "queer."

She is also to have said "I don't like a queer working for the village. I might be old-fashioned but I just don't like it."

Really? Seriously? That's her excuse? Old-fashioned?

Calendine, who is openly gay, was hired in September as a part-time officer and has the support of the police chief, a man who supports gay rights and said the comments created a hostile environment in the village.

Police Chief Mark Proffitt warned Village Council in a six-page statement about what McAngus repeatedly said and that her remarks could open the village to a lawsuit.

That statement also included that McAngus had complained about Calendine's partner coming to the police department to visit. Calendine said before her resignation that he was considering a lawsuit just to show how difficult the situation was and to teach McAngus a lesson.

The town newspaper -- the Pomeroy Daily Sentinel -- wrote "McAngus is accused of using offensive language to describe Calendine to his peers and superiors, repeatedly asking fellow Village employees for their opinions regarding Calendine's sexual orientation while expressing her disapproval of his service to the Village, treating Calendine and his significant other differently than other public employees by ordering Calendine's domestic partner to leave public police station grounds while heterosexual employees continued to entertain visitors during lunch and down time and blocking efforts to make Calendine a full-time officer."

McAngus came to politics late in life, serving on Village Council for just one term before becoming mayor almost 14 months ago.

Let me tell you about Pomeroy. It has been the county seat of Meigs County since 1841. The village has a population just under 2,000 and covers 3.3 square miles along the Ohio River.

A quick check of the area shows that, according to state lists, there were 7 registered sex offenders living in Pomeroy as of February 10, 2013.

Doing the math, the ratio of number of residents in Pomeroy to the number of sex offenders is 278 to 1.

Now you're probably asking, what does that statistic have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing except that it is one of the very few entries you can read if you Google "Pomeroy Ohio."

Pomeroy may be a beautiful village but you would never know it from the lack of information about it on the internet. Unfortunately, this episode has put Pomeroy on the map, so to speak, for all the wrong reasons.

Now, to be fair, I live in a small town that was incorporated in 1844 and has a population of about 4,113 and covers 2.14 square miles. We, too, have a Village Council and we have a wonderful police department.

Sure, being a small town, we know more about our neighbors and our shopkeepers than you would in a larger city. Most of us know our police officers, service department workers and firefighters by name.

I can't even imagine anything like this situation in Pomeroy happening here, so being that Pomeroy is a "small town" is no excuse.

It just goes to show that some people -- no matter what generation they are -- forget how to treat others with respect.

The Pomeroy Village Council will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday. I would love to be a fly on the wall Monday night.


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