Assemblymember Wallace on Sexual Harassment Incident Involving Village of Lancaster Employees, Town of Lancaster Elected Official

“A vulgar and sexually offensive video involving Village of Lancaster employees, including Town of Lancaster Councilmember Adam Dickman, has been circulating in the community and reported about by media outlets, including the Buffalo News. The behavior in the video is outrageous and reprehensible. Both the Village of Lancaster and the Town of Lancaster must conduct thorough, independent investigations to hold everyone who participated in that conduct accountable.

“According to the Buffalo News, the Village of Lancaster is already investigating the incident and has appointed outside counsel to conduct the investigation on its behalf.  I applaud the Village of Lancaster for doing so.  The vile conduct captured on the video has no business occurring in any workplace, much less a government workplace.  As part of its investigation, I urge the Village to investigate the conduct of every employee in the room when the incident occurred, including those who participated in the planning, making, and distribution of the video and any other employees who otherwise “egged on” the harassment by laughing and encouraging the perpetrator. As the Buffalo News reports, male laughter can be heard in the background of the video. A room full of men had a big laugh at the expense of the 20-year-old female employee in the room.  It is shocking that anyone could find such behavior amusing in 2021. Because several did, I also encourage the Village to conduct a climate survey to assess whether this is an isolated incident or a symptom of a much larger problem within the Village of Lancaster Department of Public Works.

“Moreover, because the incident involved Town of Lancaster Councilmember Adam Dickman, I call upon the Town of Lancaster to conduct its own independent investigation into Dickman’s role in the incident to determine whether any Town harassment or ethics policies were violated. The Town of Lancaster’s sexual harassment policy appropriately states that “[p]reventing unlawful harassment is everyone’s responsibility.” No employee, and certainly no elected official, should ever participate in or condone the behavior depicted in the video. If the Town of Lancaster takes sexual harassment seriously, it must conduct its own independent investigation to assess the elected official’s conduct in light of its own Town policies.  Like the Village, the Town of Lancaster should appoint outside counsel so as to ensure the investigation is free from political influence.”