Liberty Township officials issued a formal reprimand to its newest trustee on Monday.
Trustee Melanie Leneghan was asked to apologize after she called the Liberty Township Fire Department’s only front-line female firefighter the “token” female on the force, 10TV’s Chuck Strickler reported.
Officials said that Leneghan violated the township’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.
According to investigation documents, the incident occurred at the Starbucks inside a Kroger store in Powell on March 2.
Firefighter Kelly Imler said that Leneghan approached her and said, “You’re the girl, the girl firefighter, the token female.”
A fellow firefighter also said that Leneghan made “snide comments about Imler being a single woman and sleeping in the same engine house as ‘all those male firefighters.’”
Imler confronted Leneghan at Monday’s trustee meeting.
“I just want an apology,” Imler said. “I’m not a token. I earned my position, I took the same test the boys did, I have the same education, and I don’t want anyone to undermine the stuff I’ve done to get where I’m at.”
The two other trustees apologized to Imler, but Leneghan said that she would not apologize.
“I sent a response,” Leneghan said. “I followed the procedures, and in that response was plenty of information.”
In the statement, Leneghan said that she was sorry Imler misunderstood her comments and that she did not mean to be disrespectful.
Imler said that the incident would not affect how she does her job, Strickler reported.
“I’ll do my job and do it the way I’ve always done it – with integrity and pride - and with the support of the guys I work with,” Imler said.
Leneghan said that the incident was “all politics,” and that firefighters were retaliating against her because she opposes the proposed fire levy, which trustees voted 2-1 in favor of, putting it on the November ballot.
Leneghan had the only dissenting vote.
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June 18, 2012: Firefighter Allegedly Told She Was ‘Token Female’