UPDATED: 11/22/14 Police Pop PWC Planning Post Perv
Virginia Virtucon has been provided documents detailing an alleged pervasive sexual harassment scandal in the Prince William County Planning Office with Chief of Long Range Planning Ray Utz being accused of being a central player in it all.
First up is a memo written to Planning Commissioner Kim Hosen by women who attended an April 23, 2008 Planning Commission meeting who were appalled by Utz’s treatment of Hosen during the meeting and alludes to conditions allegedly faced by female employees in his office over the course of the previous two years. Allegations contained in this memo include that women working for Utz were “verbally abused, professionally intimidated, humiliated and demeaned.”
Next up is a January 26, 2009 letter to the Prince William County’s Human Resources Dept. from an individual whose identity we will keep confidential for fear of reprisal. She writes in part:
No female professional should ever experience the indignity, humiliation, abuse and non-professional experience I and other females have suffered working at the Planning Office under Ray Utz.
This six-page letter goes on to allege various abuses and unethical behavior in detail as well as support the allegations in the aforementioned memo to Ms. Hosen by providing names of other female employees who had allegedly been harassed and discriminated against (also redacted to prevent reprisals against them.) The letter raises the issue of potential conflicts of interest and preferential treatment, citing the Walsh Colucci Lubeley law firm as a possible beneficiary of such action by the Planning Office. The author of the letter alleges that Planning Director Steve Griffin has engaged in covering for Utz as well.
Now, the Craig Gerhart, outgoing County Exec., connection. The letter points this out:
To add salt to injury, as soon as I was transferred to the current planning department (Steve Griffin transferred me as he stated “I noticed the tension between you and Ray Utz”), Ray Utz employed Matha Gerhart, the County Executive’s spouse to sit at my desk and intern on a non-compensation basis and is currently working on the land use chapter of the comprehensive plan. I found this move very improper considering that the office at that time had sufficient comprehensive planners to handle the land use chapter planning.
I am encouraged that the BOCS appears to be heading in the direction of conducting a nationwide search for a new County Exec. Only by hiring an experienced, competent manager from outside the county who brings no personal agenda and who will respect the authority that the voters have placed in their elected officials can we finally clean house and bring our county government into the 21st century. Virginia’s second largest county and one of America’s wealthiest counties deserves nothing less.