Editorial: Should undersheriff make sexual advance on employee?

The St Johns County Sheriff’s Office has sustained more than its share of complaints by former employees who tell Historic City News that there is a failure in the culture of the para-military agency that overlooks unwanted sexual behavior, especially by individuals in power.

When the sheriff, David Shoar, and the undersheriff, Matt Cline, engage in public displays of affection, it is toxic to the working conditions at the Sheriff’s Office. It is not a joking matter to rank-and-file employees when they are exposed to it, and at the very least, it sends the wrong message about what constitutes appropriate behavior.

We are told that there are times that complaints go unreported for fear of retribution, embarrassment in front of employees, or even reassignment to less preferable duties.

A couple of female employees say they resigned from the agency when the sexual harassment, reported and unreported, became so prevalent that the employees no longer felt comfortable reporting for work.

We think it is past time for 55-year-old Sheriff David Shoar, who is paid $138,662.99 annually plus benefits, to stop ogling women as if they were sexual objects for his satisfaction, especially when they are his employees. He is married, after all. Shouldn’t he act it?

A female deputy told Historic City News that she resigned after she reported sexual misconduct by her superiors and several male employees. After she did, she was told by Sheriff Shoar that he would take care of the problem. She says that the “problem” became her, and that it became clear that if she stayed and continued to voice complaints, those involved would be sure to manufacture enough complaints against her to get her fired.

Innuendo, off-color humor, sexual flirtation, and other suggestive remarks are completely inappropriate in the workplace — in fact, they are against the law. We say 40-year-old Undersheriff Matt Cline, who is paid $124,114.64 annually plus benefits, needs to grow up and act the part.

Photo credits: © 2017 Historic City News

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