Sexual Harassment Claims Lead Board of Supervisors to Consider Censuring County Assessor

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Photo from Contra Costa County website

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will consider censuring County Assessor Gus Kramer after an investigation found he was more likely than not to have performed sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to the resolution, an independent outside attorney investigator sustained the following allegations, meaning that the investigator determined that it was more likely than not that the incidents listed below took place:

  1. As to the initial complainant, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr. Kramer engaged in the following conduct in 2014 and 2015:
    • Kramer frequently visited the complainant’s cubicle on the first floor and the complainant frequently visited Mr. Kramer’s office during 2014 and up to March 2015. During these visits they discussed work related and non-work related matters.
    • On one occasion Mr. Kramer told her that he had given a vibrator to a woman (not a County employee) as a gift. She thought that this was inappropriate and offensive.
    • Kramer sent her two text messages in 2014 that she believed suggested a romantic/sexual interest in her. The Mr. Kramer sent her two text messages in 2014 that she believed suggested a romantic/sexual interest in her. The partial text messages provided by the complainant in support of this allegation are attached. She considered the texts to be inappropriate and unwelcome.
    • In May 2014, he offered her a rose, which she interpreted to be a romantic gesture.
  2. As to the second employee/witness, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr. Kramer made a comment in her presence in 2008 and told a story in her presence in 2013 concerning his social interactions with women that she thought were inappropriate and offensive; and that on one occasion in 2015 he made a comment to her that she believed was intended to be sexually suggestive and considered inappropriate, offensive and unwelcome.

According to the agenda:

There are six County departments that are managed by elected department heads: the Assessor, Auditor, Clerk-Recorder, District Attorney, Sheriff, and Treasurer-Tax Collector. These elected officials are responsible for managing the County employees who work in their departments. The Board of Supervisors does not have the power to discipline elected officials when their conduct fails to meet the standards of behavior expected of all other County department heads.

In 2018, the County hired an outside independent attorney investigator to investigate two allegations of sexual harassment by County Assessor Gus Kramer in 2015 or earlier. The investigator found that, prior to mid-2015, it is more likely than not that Mr. Kramer made certain comments and engaged in conduct that the two individuals who worked in his department considered to be offensive and inappropriate in the workplace, as further described in the attached resolution.

The Board adopts the attached resolution to censure County Assessor Gus Kramer for engaging in the conduct described the attached resolution, which it considers to have been inappropriate and unbecoming of a County official. The Board reminds Mr. Kramer that, as a County officer, he is expected to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment. This is what the Board expects of all of its department heads, regardless of whether they are appointed or elected.

The Board also refers this issue to the Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury to determine whether further investigation of the Assessor’s conduct or the operational procedures of the Assessor’s department with regard to sexual harassment complaints is warranted.

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3 COMMENTS

    • You are correct. And men, leave your door to your office open at all times. There are men who will act inappropriately and women who will make false accusations. Keep the door open and keep it professional. Interacting with the opposite sex should be very easy, regardless of marital status. You’re not in a bar.

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