Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore has received calls from local leaders to step down after allegedly making racist statements to a town employee in which he referred to African-Americans as, “your city cousins.”
Moore, a Republican, had allegedly been discussing the Affordable Care Act with employees inside the Department of Public Works April 10, and made the following comments in an audio recording that was first released by WHAM-TV:
“You don’t know about cousins in the city? We get all kinds of them; they bus them out here, ok? This Obamacare, I think that’s how we’re going to pay for your cousins in the city.”
Afterward, video footage showed an African-American man walking toward the building, at which point Moore remarked, “Yeah, that’s one of your cousins.”
Another employee named Donald Youngman reportedly overheard Moore’s statements, then filed a complaint with the Henrietta Board of Ethics.
The board is scheduled to meet in a few weeks to decide what will happen as a result of the allegations.
Following the release of the audio, Henrietta Town Democratic Leader Simeon Banister immediately called for Moore’s resignation.
“Having just watched the 13WHAM ABC story on Jack Moore’s racist and reprehensible remarks, I call on the Henrietta Supervisor to immediately resign his public office,” Banister said in a press release. “There is no room in politics, or in our community, for the hateful and divisive words he spoke to public employees in a public facility. He owes the men, women and children of all races an apology – and we deserve his resignation. Henrietta is much better than Jack Moore, and his inexcusable comments.”
In a radio interview May 20, Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich said Moore should step down as well.
But, reportedly, Moore has refused.
And, since making the comments, Moore’s said he’s taken sensitivity training for making the “insensitive” remarks.
“I’ve literally had at least a thousand people that have worked for me,” Moore stated regarding his Gro-Moore Farms business. “I’ve never had a complaint.”
However, according to Banister, Moore has ultimately damaged his capacity to lead.
“I don’t know what’s in his heart, but, at the end of the day; what it boils down to is that, the comments that he made were inappropriate, and they were made in a public building, talking to public employees, about a public policy matter,” Banister said. “He’s injured his ability to lead, and that’s why we feel that it’s time for him to step down, and it’s incumbent upon the Henrietta Ethics Board to send a clear message that his beliefs are not in line with the town of Henrietta’s beliefs.”
Banister also said Moore’s refusal to step down continues to show a lack of sensitivity.
“I think it demonstrates his lack of sensitivity, and it suggests that he probably needs more training,” Banister stated.
Moore was elected town supervisor in 2013, and reportedly said he plans to run for another two-year term in November.