By Allen Payton
In a brief interview while he is out of town on vacation, Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer responded to the censure against him by the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Tuesday, August 14 over sexual misconduct allegations. (See related article).
The conversations and text between assessor Kramer and complainants were mutual and consensual, he explained.
“In fact, most were initiated and or sent by one of the complainants,” Kramer stated. “No inappropriate physical behavior was claimed at all. No touching or asking out on dates of any kind.”
It was only after the two women were not chosen in civil service competition for a supervising appraiser’s position in the Assessor’s Office in 2014, were the complaints made.
“Only then did the conversations become unwelcome,” he said.
Upon being advised of their complaint, Kramer said he stopped all communication with both of the complainants, and they were advised of all of their options.
“None were pursued,” he pointed out.
The independent investigator, hired by the county in 2018, who is a female attorney in Oakland, determined there was no sexual harassment on Kramer’s part. The investigation was not conducted until this year, over three years later, when he was facing re-election.
According to Kramer, during that same time, and at least five years prior, one of the complainants had been lobbying members of the Board of Supervisors to be appointed to the position of County Assessor, should he retire or leave office midterm.
“She didn’t want to stand for election because she did not want to spend the money on a public campaign,” Kramer stated.
He ran unopposed in the June primary and won re-election for another four years.
The Board’s action occurred when neither Board Chair John Gioia nor Kramer could attend the meeting and defend himself or offer his point of view before the vote. He is considering suing the county.