McGowan declares he’s going to “KEEP WORKING FULL-STEAM AHEAD,” despite damning DCI Investigation & AG’s Report that the opposite was happening

Is he kidding?  Aaron McGowan, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney, has issued a response to the damning DCI Investigation & AG’s Report on the legalities of removing him from office, despite the Governor’s report of behavior which she termed as “unsettling.”  And it does little more than ignore the elephant in the room.

From the response to the report, as noted in the Argus Leader:

McGOWAN TO KEEP WORKING FULL-STEAM AHEAD

And..

Aaron received a copy of the public report from the media and disagrees with several portions of the report, which are largely taken out of context or based upon unnamed sources of information.

and…

Aaron will not be doing any further interviews or commenting further on this matter.  McGowan will continue his responsibilities to serve as the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney.

and…

Aaron would further like to apologize to his staff for this distraction.

Read it all here.

Aaron is talking a lot in the third person in this press release. Aside from the fact that McGowan’s statement implies move along, nothing to see here, and tries to portray the report as having been “taken out of context or based upon unnamed sources of information.”

Unnamed? Really? Because what was in the report were the facts that people currently and formerly working in that office actually went on the record to Division of Criminal investigators. Employees who directly brought up a booze soaked office culture, including a former female employee who had to endure a drinking session at her home with the boss.

Think this is the last we’re hearing about this? I really don’t think so. The people making those statements might have been unnamed in the report delivered to the governor and made public, but they clearly went on the record with state criminal investigators.

To try to pooh-pooh that in a press release with the laughable headline of “McGOWAN TO KEEP WORKING FULL-STEAM AHEAD” declares that he’s oblivious to what got him here in the first place.

And just does the voters a ridiculous disservice.

27 Replies to “McGowan declares he’s going to “KEEP WORKING FULL-STEAM AHEAD,” despite damning DCI Investigation & AG’s Report that the opposite was happening”

    1. Anonymous

      Are there any statutes that would perhaps apply to the report being released or not released? One would think other states attorneys would speak out if the AG shouldn’t have released it to the public. He does have to work with 66 counties so I’m guessing he took a cautious approach.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        The AG didn’t release it. He gave it to the Governor who released it.

        I don’t see any fault with the AG….he should be candid with the governor about the finding of his investigation.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          But is it against any statutes? I’m curious because it seems like it undermines the ability to investigate by publicly maligning someone. Did these people know their words would be made public? If not it undermines candidness in investigation. these people used to tarnish a reputation and an office.

          Reply
            1. Anonymous

              I feel it is. Other SA’s should bring the handling of this up at their next meeting with Ravnsborg. This should never have been released.

              Reply
  1. Anonymous

    …who had to endure a drinking session at her home with the boss.

    No, she did have to endure this. She could’ve said no. She admitted to buying the booze and opening the door knowing full well what she was engaging in was inappropriate. Maybe she doesn’t have any morals? Maybe several people in that office do not have morals? I would not have allowed that to happen to me. In fact, just tonight, I said no to a male patron who asked me to join them for an after-shift drink.

    Reply
    1. anon2

      Yep blame the woman…how about he just gave her the day off like everybody else…or if at work would she have been asked to bring the booze to him like others…come on….he needs to go

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        She certainly holds some responsibility. I agree, he could’ve given her the day off or just said no. I never said he didn’t need to go, I think he should resign. We need a clear-minded, focused SA and other employees who are able to speak up when issues arise. Looks to me like there’s no accountability within that office, it’s very unsettling.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous

      It’s not a matter of her morals. She’s easy prey. Predators always assess their prey. He figured she wouldn’t know how to say no, and she didn’t.

      When he said he would give her the day off if she bought alcohol and invited him over, she should have said “how about you just give me the day off and I’ll forget you ever made that suggestion?”
      Or she could have said “how about you give me the day off or I’ll quit?”

      She did neither; she bought the alcohol and invited him over.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Sure, some may think it’s not a matter of morals. However, IMO, if she had some it would’ve been easy for her to say no and speak to a co-worker or our governor.

        You may think she’s weak and stupid not knowing how to say no, but I’m pretty sure she bought the requested booze and let a married, family man into her home knowing full well it was wrong – I think she just didn’t care, her compass was probably broken on that day and every other time she engaged in activities similar to this one?

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          That’s a lot of victim blaming.

          Maybe she needed the job, until she could find another one away from her dumpster fire office. Since shes a former employee it sounds like that’s what she did.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            Well, you tell me which crime she is a victim of and who is going to be arrested for such crime.

            Maybe she could’ve said no – Personal Responsibility.

            Reply
        2. anon

          How about this? How about you spend just a tiny bit of the energy you are spending going after an employee and direct it at the boss who made the inappropriate demand to begin with? IF she had refused, been fired, and sued, and you were on the jury, you’d probably be one of the people saying that if only she’d been wearing a full-length veil — given that she had the temerity to work around a married man — he wouldn’t have been “tempted”.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            I think he should resign and several other people in that office should too, I’ve said that a couple times. I think the office is full of lies, no one is held accountable… it’s a toxic environment and it’s not like they’re working at a fast food joint.

            No, I would follow the law, I have morals. If she was fired only because she didn’t allow a SA to come into her home so to drink booze, she would have my vote. It takes two to tango and she holds some responsibility.

            Reply
  2. anon2

    Unnamed sources…maybe in the written report…you think the AG and DCI doesn’t have the actual names…really?

    He has to stay on…who would hire him….hopefully not the people again next year!!

    Reply
  3. Troy

    A couple of comments on the home visit:

    It is relevant if her discomfort was fear of something physical or not. It could have been discomfort seeing her boss struggle with an addiction and feeling she was enabling unhealthy behavior.

    The fact we (including the employee) jumps immediately to it being inappropriate because of the cross-gender reality. From McGowan’s perspective (influenced by alcohol), it could have been a desire to have a casual setting with a business colleague to discuss work and or develop/repair a comraderie.

    I say this because if the employee had been male, I am sure our uninformed perception would see it more innocuously. McGowan deserves some openness to such an interpretation. And women who want to be considered equals in the workplace and included in after-hour social actions.

    Reply
  4. Jess

    He went to her HOME. The request was not “Buy me a drink in public” but in private. Plus this is her boss, there is a power difference which he used to get what he wanted (booze and company), maybe she knew if she said “No” there would be consequences that could hurt her career since he was obviously unstable.

    Knowingly or unknowingly he put her in a terrible position, but it was still 100% his fault and hopefully he at least apologized to her. It’s sad to see that people are trying to defend these actions and blame her.

    Reply
    1. Troy

      Jess,

      If you are inferring I’m blaming her, I’m doing nothing of the sort. What you say may be true or it may not be. You weren’t there and neither was I.

      1) We have to ask her what made her uncomfortable (him drinking, him being at her house, sexual innuendo, all three, or something else).

      2) And no matter what her perceived discomfort was, it may not have been his intent. Alcoholics will do anything to find reason to drink with someone and they can rationalize what we find absurd.

      3) I know it is messy and there are trade-offs. But, if every time a male boss is limited by what he can propose (like sitting at one or another’s house, having some drinks, and talking shop) to a valued male employee (and not be demonized) vs. to a valued female employee (and be demonized), women need to understand why they are not included in certain after-work activities. Fantasy football leagues, fishing or hunting trips, even going to an out-of-town high school football game. Because our work is where we spend most of our time when we aren’t with family, our friends often are also work colleagues.

      So, to be clear, if a boss proposes something after-hours, no matter the discomfort, ALL employees have to feel free to accept or decline for any reasons. If they feel uncomfortable declining, they have to figure out how to get comfortable. Preferrably they become comfortable telling the boss no or they can take it to HR. And, when declining, accept being left out.

      Otherwise, the boss is between a rock and a hard place: If I invite, I’m in trouble. If I don’t, I’m in trouble. Again, it is unrealistic for social activities and work activities not to be conflated and combined, especially in the professions where “collaboration” and “relationship” are critical to success.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        Troy, I’d say that you hit the nail on the head when you said it was inappropriate to do this with ALL employees. Keep in mind the claim is that he made it a requirement of a vacation day after a long trial that she open her home for him to drink, and that she supply the booze. It’s outrageous to imply that any employee should have to put up with it to be “one of the boys” or they can’t have a career. So you are back to blaming women.

        I am astounded that anyone could possibly think that McGOWAN’s action was appropriate! It is frankly repulsive to see some anonymous political operatives smearing an unnamed individual and “her morals” just so they protect a bigwig.

        Reply
      2. Jess

        Hey Troy, I don’t think you are blaming her but some of the other commenters seemed to be. And you’re right, I (like many others) am making inferences to try to fill in some of the blanks.

        In my opinion it doesn’t matter what made her uncomfortable, the fact is the report says she was. And frankly, it doesn’t matter what his intent was, it was still wrong (and a part of the disease gripping his life). I didn’t intend to cut someone off in traffic this morning, but I still did and I shouldn’t have.

        I completely agree with your final point, professional relationships in a workplace can be messy and it’s a two-way street. But it should be common sense to be respectful and inclusive to coworkers, it should be common sense that when you’re out with coworkers it’s different than just being “out with the guys/girls.” There are certain things I would do/say with my girlfriends that I wouldn’t with my male coworkers, and I expect there are things my male coworkers (and boss) do/say with their guy friends that they don’t around me. That is fine and I don’t think it takes away the equality of men and women in the workplace.

        Either way I still think showing up at an employee’s house to drink alcohol uninvited is rude and unprofessional no matter what the gender dynamic is.

        Reply
        1. Troy

          I agree with everything you said Jess with one exception:

          I do think it matters why she was uncomfortable. I’ve been places where initially I was comfortable and it changed. And, others where I was uncomfortable from the beginning. Each have different ramifications and remedies.

          Lynne,

          You may think it inappropriate to do this with all employees. But, every night in most bars are groups of work employees often delineated by gender. And, several backyards include two work colleagues (usually delineated by gender but not always and shouldn’t have to be) having an adult beverage talking personal stuff and work stuff. THEY ALL DISAGREE WITH YOU.

          I’ve never said I thought his particular behavior was appropriate. I’m just making a case we can’t jump to conclusions or make broad prohibitions about two work colleagues (same or different gender) getting together to discuss work, personal matters and have a few drinks.

          And, if one proposes something which makes the other uncomfortable, they have at least some responsibility to express themselves (otherwise, if people are expected to read minds, they will just leave people out without including them. AND THAT WILL ULTIMATELY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WOMEN.

          Yes, there may be specifics in this case which makes this situation inappropriate broadly (it appears you think it inappropriate for two work colleagues to ever meet at one another’s houses regardless if they are cross-gender) but we weren’t there.

          Also, what I’m try to add to the discussion the complicating factor- alcoholics rationalize anything which gives them what they believe is a cover to drink. Its not right. It shouldn’t happen. But, until an alcoholic gets help, they have a demon that clouds their judgment. And, if one doesn’t confront the alcoholic, one is not part of the solution and maybe part of the problem.

          Second, I do think the boundaries are hard to navigate. Is it better to invite to College Game Day party where there will be guys drinking, ultimately someone (who may or may not be a colleague) will use course language and tell a risqué joke or leave the one member of the team who is a female out?

          There is a method of moral reasoning called casuistry which says broad rules are important but it is important to delve into the specifics because the simple application of the broad rules may not be just.

          To that point, I think it important to remember is men and women interacting in the work place is relatively new in the context of history AND fluid rules about appropriate behavior outside of work (what I think is appropriate is very different than my kids). For that reason, it will be messy as we try to figure it out. And, when things are messy understanding of mess ups goes a long way.

          Reply
          1. Lynne

            I am not saying it is always inappropriate for two work colleagues to get together at one’s home. I am saying that it is inappropriate for a boss to require a subordinate to allow the boss to treat the subordinate’s home as a bar. Why do so many people here have a hard time with that concept? That shouldn’t be a controversial or murky, nor should you be saying that the subordinate has a responsibility to call her boss on it
            Whether or not you realize that is blaming the victim, that’s exactly what it is.

            Reply
            1. Troy

              Nobody does.

              1) Unless you were there and had full context of what occurred, you don’t know that is what happened. You have a once sentence description to which McGowan has not had a chance to give his side.

              2) While I don’t know if McGowan is an alcoholic, an alcoholic’s mission is to try to make everyplace they go an acceptable place to have a drink. Its part of the disease.

              3) I think people who avoid calling out alcoholics are part of the problem and are enablers. If employees don’t do it at the time, they need to do it after, either directly or take it to HR.

              4) That blaming the victim statement is crap. Your attitude which gives people a pass to not do anything and only emboldens the person to do something worse to someone in the future.

              Lynne, you are part of the problem. First, you have no expectations for people to speak out and in essence provide cover for people who do bad things. And, then when the bad happens, you scream bloody murder.

              For every school shooter, rapist, sexual harasser at work, bully, etc, there are hundreds of people who saw things and said nothing. Like it or not, they too have blood on their hands.

              Reply

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