October 6 – When a sudden resignation of the Secretary of Legislative Affairs in Pennsylvania happened last week, it left some people wondering what was going on.
Shortly after that announcement, reporting came out that there were a number of sexual harassment allegations against Mike Vereb, the former secretary, from a woman who worked in his office.
Allegedly the harassment had been going on for months.
Since then, Governor Josh Shapiro has kept kind of quiet about the whole thing, likely hoping the hype would cool down.
That may not be happening, though.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Elections have consequences, ladies and gentlemen. We’re 31 days away from another election here in Pennsylvania. This is not a great looking 10 months and now he (Shapiro) has this thing. And Penn Live and also ABC27 calling into question his dance around this mess? It’s not a good place for Josh to be right now.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll noted, “Yesterday is the first time the governor has made public statements on this. He was out in the eastern part of the state, doing some unrelated things I think related to public parks and recreation, and it was at the press conference, which they did outside, that a reporter I believe was someone from the Philadelphia Inquirer made him go on the record. Okay, Governor, what’s your response to this sexual harassment complaint that involves your former top aide? So he did make some comments publicly about it yesterday. We also know that over the last few days, Shapiro has met privately with female Senators. They wanted an audience with him to hear what’s going on. What’s your office doing about this? There were sort of mixed reactions from some of the people in that Senate group that met with him, but it does not seem like it’s been terribly well handled.”
The details of the allegations are still unclear.
Barkdoll said, “We don’t know if she is pursuing any kind of a formal claim here? Or are there any other investigations that might be pending on this? So it’s an issue and it’s probably going to continue to be an issue and to the extent he addressed it publicly for the first time yesterday, I think he’s clearly not terribly comfortable with this whole situation.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “Well, and him showing off about I have strong women leaders in my administration, and then to say what he said about the strong women leaders in the Republican side of the aisle, the president pro tem, Kim Ward, saying, consider the source. I mean, that is a very stupid comment to make at this juncture.”
Barkdoll said, “The irony of this, he wanted this bipartisan cabinet and this person who resigned under the cloud of controversy was a former state legislator, was a Republican, that Shapiro made a big deal out of putting these Republicans in his cabinet and this is the person now that has these allegations against him. The whole landscape of sexual harassment has changed so much because back in the day, this would be the dominating news story, of course, but I feel that so much of this happens now, particularly at the federal level, that a lot of voters just get numb to the issue. But yet I think his silence on it has actually hurt his ability to move on from it because he was not coming out making any comments on it. The press, other people in Harrisburg naturally are continuing to ask questions. Where is the governor on this? What are you going to do about this situation?”
Ryan said, “And tell me where the money is, too. I want to know who’s paying for what out of this one.”
Jansen asked, “Why did it take six months for something to happen after the complaints were made, especially in an atmosphere from Democrats who try to see microaggressions everywhere? This was sexual conduct that might have been well beyond that, but it still took six months for anything to happen.”