Editor’s note: Language in this article may be offensive to some readers. The language used in the statements provided to The Daily Sentinel has been preserved due to the nature of the allegations.
POMEROY — Pomeroy Police Chief Mark Proffitt provided details of the allegations of discrimination against Village Mayor Mary McAngus during an interview on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Unfortunately, allegations have been made by several officers and dispatchers in reference to Mayor Mary McAngus’s continued behavior and vulgar language used against a gay officer in our department,” Proffitt stated.
“Officers have provided me with statements that they were made uncomfortable during interviews with the use of [the term] ‘queer’ by the Mayor,” said Proffitt. “She also called an officer into her office and informed him that another officer was ‘queer’ and used the word many times. She then asked if [the officer called in] was gay, and he became uncomfortable and left. Another officer responded to the mayor that he has a family member who is gay and did not feel someone of her stature (mayor) should talk like that about an employee.”
Proffitt provided copies of those statements made by himself, Village Administrator Paul Hellman, Patrolman Kyle Calendine and his significant other, Harold D. Barnhart, Jr. [who is not employed with the Pomeroy Police Department], as well as four other village employees who wished to have their names withheld.
In the statements, allegations have been made regarding comments, actions and language used by the mayor against or in reference to openly gay officer Calendine and his domestic partner Barnhart.
Calendine has been employed as a part-time officer with the village since Sept. 7, 2012, when he was hired following and interview with both Proffitt and McAngus.
In his statement provided to The Daily Sentinel, Proffitt states that the first incident of vulgar language by the mayor occurred approximately two weeks after Calendine was hired.
McAngus called Proffitt to her office and stated that she heard “Kyle was a queer.” She then proceeded to ask Proffitt what he was going to do about it. Proffitt advised that he was not going to say or do anything about it, because it would be discrimination. According to the statement, McAngus also said she didn’t like a “queer” working for the village.
Proffitt’s statement adds that the Mayor had confronted several employees of the police department and continued to make crude remarks about officer Calendine being gay.
Over the course of the past three weeks, Proffitt said McAngus has asked him to make Barnhart leave the building even though it is a public place. Proffitt was also asked to write Calendine up for Barnhart being at Village Hall, something Proffitt said he could not and would not do.
Proffitt said that many employees of the village, himself included, have family members, spouses, significant others or friends stop by to have lunch or bring other items to employees. According to the statement by Proffitt, McAngus does not want Barnhart on the property at anytime.
The statement by Proffitt reads in part:
The next morning the Mayor spoke to me and stated that I should not have told Kyle they could have lunch in the court room, she stated she didn’t even want “the boy” in the building. She stated “I don’t like that boy and I don’t want him around.” Again I advised her that we all have friends and family come in and have lunch, etc. and we could not discriminate against him.
The allegations against the mayor continued on Jan. 25. Village Administrator Hellman, in a written statement provided by Proffitt, stated that while at the Mayor’s house to have contracts signed, she told him that there was a gay guy working in the police department and she had to ‘run off’ Calendine’s boyfriend. According to the statement, “she went on and on about how she didn’t like Kyle being gay and being on the police department.”
According to Proffitt’s statement, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, in interviews with new officers, McAngus informed both potential hires of a gay officer working in the police department. She also asked one if he was gay, making him uncomfortable according to the statement.
Proffitt’s statement concluded:
I feel that the mayor has been discriminating against Officer Calendine and his partner for a long period of time, it has recently gotten worse. I also believe that she doesn’t want me to hire Kyle full time because of his sexual preference. When I would tell her that I was going to hire him full time she would state, “Oh Mark we just can’t do that.” She has tried to influence her power to my employees to be against his lifestyle and has come to be “out of control” in my office.
On Thursday, Council President Jackie Welker stated that he had no comment at this time.
Pomeroy Village Council will meet for a regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday at Pomeroy Village Hall.
As of press time, calls to McAngus by The Daily Sentinel were not returned.