Kathy McGuiness issued a victim shaming press release today against her State Auditor candidate, Kathleen Davies. Seeing this is showing McGuiness has to be worried about losing a primary (again) in September! In her latest stunt, she sent an email to her “supporters” today about the News Journal article on Davies that appeared online yesterday.
The urban dictionary describes victim shaming as this- “When the victim of an event is blamed, or partially blamed, for their own attack.”
While I first wrote about why Davies was unfairly dismissed from the Auditor’s office on June 5th, it took the News Journal twenty days to (finally) catch up with that news. But they didn’t assign a political reporter to the story, but rather an education reporter. Both of our articles were very similar in citing the unemployment hearing report. I did my thing but the News Journal did have some new information.
Bies wrote about an upcoming Merit Employee Review Hearing. This hearing will determine if Davies gets her job back. Bies did a good job at expressing Davies’ thoughts on the matter:
“Merit employees are subject to a process that is controlled and driven by the state,” she explained in an email. “Hence, I had to follow the state’s guidelines and processes, which meant I had to stay on paid leave as long as the state kept me there in order to exercise my merit and legal remedies. I and other merit employees have suffered through this process with no option other than to engage legal counsel and wait.”
“The state chose to keep me on paid leave for the 19 months before I could move forward with the merit and legal process,” Davies said. “My legal representation, as is the case with other merit employees, is at my own expense. Had I resigned from my position during the 19 months, I would have lost my rights to these remedies.”
But here comes Kathy McGuiness, sending out a VERY misleading email today, calling on Davies to make her merit hearing public AND to release a report that the Auditor’s office paid over $100,000.00 for. Yes, the Grant Thornton report. The same report that was incomplete at the unemployment hearing. Which begs some serious questions- why didn’t Wagner release the full report to the unemployment hearing officer? Were there allegations against Wagner himself in that report? Did Wagner’s office have the ability to edit that report or redact information since the full copy wasn’t released to the hearing officer?
The McGuiness campaign wrote the following “press release” today which is begging for a red-lining!
Kathy McGuiness, Democratic candidate for Auditor, responded to today’s News Journal report detailing the latest developments in Kathleen Davies’ dismissal from her post as Tom Wagner’s second-in-command and issued the following:
McGuiness acts like this has been in the press every single day for two years. It hasn’t. She wants to put a focus on something that was already solved. In short, Wagner screwed up!
“In two months, Democratic primary voters will be choosing their nominee for this critical state office and deserve to know what was found in the independent investigation leading to Kathleen Davies’ initial dismissal from the Auditor’s Office.
Wagner dismissed Davies before that investigation was even complete. Now if you are talking about the unwarranted and unethical “independent investigation” conducted by an audit manager in the office without any authority to do so, we can talk about that. Which led to Davies’ wrongful termination and was ruled by the unemployment hearing officer to be unethical.
Based on the News Journal account, the Wagner-Davies Auditor’s Office operated without leadership for years.
Actually, they did operate with leadership which most likely scared half the people in the office. All of a sudden, not long after Davies came aboard, that office was doing real audits that wound up resulting in real jail sentences for crooked charter school leaders. But apparently some didn’t like Davies in a leadership role so they trumped up bogus charges against her. It backfired. Davies proved she does have what it takes to get the job done!
The decision allowing her to receive unemployment insurance is only the first step of the investigation into Ms. Davies’ professional conduct while working for Tom Wagner.
Even though, based on testimony of others in that office, including Wagner himself, it was proven Davies professional conduct was above and beyond and she did her job. Okay. It seems like McGuiness is screaming about smoke but there is no fire.
The Auditor’s office has to operate transparently and maintain the public’s trust.
For someone who talks so much about transparency, why doesn’t McGuiness open up the books on her many years on Rehoboth City Council? Where is the Rehoboth City Council online checkbook? For a council she served on for so long, how come she never begged for that kind of transparency down there?
To have critical investigative information about a candidate for State Auditor withheld from the public and to have a hearing closed to the public, where serious accusations about her professional conduct while on the job is a disservice to voters and undermines the public’s confidence.
To see my own take on McGuiness, just look at this article. Yes, this is the same McGuiness who wanted LLCs to have voting rights. Who had to hire an attorney to figure out if she lived in Delaware or Utah in order for her to qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Who changed her political party several times. For the record, Davies has not said one way or the other whether or not the hearing will be public. I would imagine she has a lawyer involved and she would make a decision based on her own legal counsel. And this hearing is NOT about the serious accusations about her professional conduct. It is about Davies serious accusations against the Auditor’s office which had a light as bright as the sun shining on Wagner’s office after the unemployment hearing. For McGuiness to sit there and victim shame Davies is very low, even for Delaware politics. But I guess you have to do what you can to win, right?
Because she is a candidate for public office, I call on Ms. Davies to authorize the Auditor’s office to release to the public, the content of the Grant Thornton investigation as well as any other pertinent information relating into her conduct as Tom Wagner’s top assistant, and permit her July hearing before the Merit Employees Relations Board to be open to the public, so voters have all the facts.”
You are assuming she has the ability to “authorize” the Auditor’s office to make a report they paid for public. Regarding a personnel issue. And once again, the same report that could very well have been doctored to such a degree to make Wagner try to look good. Which it failed to do at the unemployment hearing by the way. Even though the unemployment hearing report cleared Davies of the wrongdoing this “audit manager” trumped up against her, that isn’t enough for McGuiness. She wants this report released which would, in most likelihood, make Wagner look even worse than he already does.
What McGuiness failed to mention in her email is the heart of the News Journal article which was this- Tom Wagner unfairly terminated Davies. And it went on to state how it was unfair. Instead she is trying to make a “thing” out of something that was already solved when I put up my article three weeks ago. These are the actions of a desperate woman who thought she had a sure thing in running for State Auditor. Someone who likes to talk about transparency but doesn’t even release her own reimbursements with the City of Rehoboth.
But McGuiness doesn’t even bother to write how the Merit Employee Review Board deals with grievances Delaware state employees file against the agency they worked for. Davies isn’t the one on trial here. The purpose is to hear what Davies has to say in regards to the grievances she filed against Tom Wagner. I have no doubt she viewed Davies as a distant runner in the race and didn’t count on her being vindicated in the press. So she wants to attempt to stir up trouble instead of reaching out to a political candidate. The right thing for McGuiness to do would be to sympathize with Davies, woman to woman, and recognize that, yes, our state employee merit system is very jacked up. Nope, she wants to try to throw Davies under a victim shaming bus and that is just wrong.
Kathy McGuiness wants to talk on her campaign stops about diversity as she sits on the all-white and well-off Rehoboth City Council. She is just wrong for State Auditor and if that hasn’t become clear to anyone in Delaware yet, I strongly encourage you to look beyond the “image” of McGuiness. She will happily show up at any event in the First State and tell you why she should be State Auditor. But that doesn’t make her the real thing.
This is an ongoing issue between Davies and Wagner. Davies was cleared in the first round. That has been made public already. If McGuiness wants to victim blame another candidate to make herself look like a viable candidate, that is certainly her right but it is a new low. Which would make me very concerned about her ability to hold statewide office and how she would deal with those who cross her path in a way she doesn’t like. This is the Kathy McGuiness that, when she feels threatened, would victim shame a good and decent woman. While some in the Delaware Democrat party pledge allegiance to McGuiness, they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. And they know what those reasons are. They want McGuiness because she is malleable and will serve at their behest. But I can promise it will be a decision those Democrat power brokers would live to regret down the road. The optics of politics is a messy thing. Delaware deserves a State Auditor that is not malleable and will not serve power brokers. Delaware deserves Kathleen Davies.