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Shapiro Responds to Vereb Allegations, Defends Administration Response

Gov. Josh Shapiro

In his first public statements since the resignation of a top aide, Gov. Josh Shapiro tried to reassure Pennsylvanians that there is a healthy, safe, professional working environment in his administration.

He spoke in Bethlehem at a press gathering to announce new state investments in recreation and conservation projects across the Commonwealth.

“Given the fact that this is a person, I can’t comment on any specifics,” said the former state Attorney General. “And that’s really designed to be able to protect all parties involved in in any manner.”

“Our administration is led by two women, strongly – my chief of staff (Dana Fritz) and our general counsel (Jennifer Selber). And we work every day to make sure that we have a healthy, safe, professional work environment for all of our employees. And I want everyone to know who works in the state government, or anyone observing state government, that should anyone feel that we’re not meeting those standards, that we have an independent, robust, professional process to allow people to come forward safely and have their concerns heard. That’s something that I’m committed to the leaders in my administration are committed to and that is something that we adhere to, in every case.”

Mike Vereb, Secretary of Legislative Affairs and a long-time confidant of the governor, resigned his post last week after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. Vereb has been accused by a former staffer who left her post after just five weeks on the job back in March.

State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh/Northampton) also spoke in support of the administration. She, along with seven other female senators, met privately with Shapiro on Wednesday.

“As a female state senator, we were able to sit and meet with Governor Shapiro and his team yesterday,” said Boscola. “We came out of that very confident that he’s handling this and he’s right. He has two powerful women that know what they’re doing when they come to personnel issues. So I’m very confident he and his administration are handling this as best as they can.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) was critical of the administration’s handling of the situation, calling the allegations, “appalling.”

“Despite this being a personnel matter, the Governor’s office has offered official comments and conflicting information on the issue. This not only raises concerns related to their workplace practices, but also whether this matter has influenced our current unfinished budget situation, and how taxpayer funds are supporting this issue,” Ward said.

“The alleged offender remained in his influential role until he tendered his resignation leaving the victim in an unsafe space, to fend for herself, with limited options. This is unacceptable.”

When asked for a response, Shapiro said “First of all, I just say consider the source when it comes to the president pro tem. We have an independent, robust process. That is one where any employee should feel comfortable coming forward, and that their voice will be heard.

“You know, from my time as Attorney General, one thing I learned is when … you have any allegations come forward, you owe it to a witness, you owe it to a complainant, you owe it to a victim to make sure that you have a confidential process. You have a rigorous process that’s grounded in integrity, to ensure that their voice can be heard and to ensure that appropriate outcomes are brought about and we are committed to doing that and do it in our administration.”

“There are legitimate questions about the handling of harassment allegations inside Governor Shapiro’s office,” said Michael Straw, the communications director for the Pennsylvania State Republican Campaign Committee. “Instead of taking the opportunity today to be transparent and answer a question on a serious topic, he attacked the credibility of the first female Senate President. Pennsylvanians deserve answers from Josh Shapiro.”

11 Responses

  1. “What did you know and when did you know it” are not personnel questions. Neither is “what did you do about it”?

    1. You’re absolutely right. However we all know answering those questions would lead to his demise.
      Another question the press should be asking is if they other names mentioned in the leaked complaint have been fired. Houssain, and his behavior is also foul.

  2. This is absolutely absurd, and the folks mentioned in the article show me they’re seriously out of touch with reality.
    Having a sitting Governor have his boy who he’s known for decades, sexually assault a person who works for him, then intimidate and retaliate, isn’t a partisan issue. We need both R’s and D’s to come out and speak out against this, form a committee and investigate this to the fullest. Right now, there’s zero accountability. Politics aside, what’s wrong is wrong. End of story.
    I’ll echo Shapiros statements when he was AG that no one person is above the law. Well it looks like that’s the case, unless you’re Shapiro himself or his buddy.
    Again, enough with closed door meetings. Be open and as transparent as you claim you are Governor.

    1. Funny how the Trump supporters are now saying what’s wrong is wrong – classic. The GOP made this a partisan issue when they looked the other way. They continue to look the other way. So Trump is found liable in a court of law for sexual assault but is still fit to be president? I laugh at you, but it’s really not funny.

      1. So let me get this right. Because I criticized a Democrat, I’m automatically a MAGA R? That’s some wild logic. Stay focused. The article is about the Governor, not Trump, who is also a piece of garbage. I’ll say it again so you can understand. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHICH PARTY YOU COME FROM, THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS NOT OKAY.

  3. I find it unbelievably ironic that ANYONE in the GOP would criticize the Governor when their standard bearer, Donald Trump, was found liable for sexual assault. Republicans have ZERO credibility on this issue and would be well served to stay mum.

    1. Neither do Democrats. So are you saying we should all be silent and do nothing because of our political leanings in the face of sexual harassment?

      1. I’m sorry Jane, but this is the double standard that the GOP has cultivated. Kim Ward has no credibility in my book not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a Republican that supports Trump. I think a bigger question being overlooked is, should any male be immediately fired or resign when a female co-worker accuses them of sexual harassment? Many of the accusations made were refuted by other individuals present in meetings cited by the accuser. If there’s evidence that lies or exaggerations were made by the accuser, then how much can we believe her entire complaint? What if there is evidence of poor job performance? Even if the Governor knew of the accusations, I think he was right to not intervene until the investigation was completed.

        Regardless, Vereb is gone. Considering that Republicans are outraged over pretty much everything these days, it’s hard to know what’s actually outrageous anymore. So when social media or the GOP tell you to be outraged over something, I agree with the Governor, “look at the source”.

      2. Not true. Democrats acknowledge, address the issue head on and take appropriate action while R’a turn a blind eye to allegations while attempting to discredit the victims. No one’s fooled by your “whataboutism.” Please, huh?


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