Home > Featured > County: Commissioner Kitty Jung Violated Conduct, Harassment Policies

County: Commissioner Kitty Jung Violated Conduct, Harassment Policies

By Bob Conrad
Kitty Jung, incumbent for district 3.
Kitty Jung, incumbent for district 3.
Kitty Jung, Washoe County Commissioner

Adult language warning.

Washoe County today released documents relating to allegations made against Commissioner Kitty Jung. She was found to have violated the county’s discrimination, harassment, and conduct policies.

“It has been alleged that you made comments that were inappropriate and/or of a sexual nature towards an employee,” wrote Patricia Hurley, the county’s HR and labor relations director. “Based on the preponderance of the evidence, the allegation that you made comments that an employee’s superior ‘needs to go’ in violation of the Washoe County Code of Conduct is substantiated.

“The allegation that you made discriminatory comments related to gender and sexual orientation i violation of the [county policy] is substantiated.”

Two complaints against Jung were made by Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District employees.

One complained that Jung made comments about the fire chief needing “to go,” according to the complaint. “I need you to get two other commissioners to vote with me,” Jung reportedly said. “Jung continued with intagible comments about someone ‘being gay [redacted] ugly’ and [redacted] name I cannot recall, ‘can’t fuck [redacted] Continuing, Jung said, ‘I hate all fucking men and no man should be in power.'”

The employee said that the comments made them feel “extremely uncomfortable,” causing the employee to leave the office. Jung reportedly denied this version of the conversation. Other witnesses substantiated the complaint, though.

The employment law firm Littler Mendelson investigated the claims. TMFPD paid the firm $6,500 for the investigation.

“Commissioner Jung denied making any inappropriate, discriminatory comments,” the firm’s Sandra Ketner reported. However, “given the consistences in [redacted] verbal and written description of the exchange with Commissioner Jung, which was supported by the verbal and written descriptions of [redacted] statements to other witnesses as well as additional witnesses’ representations that Commissioner Jung has made comments of a similar nature in the past, ‘I conclude that Commissioner Jung violated the Washoe County Discrimination and Harassment Policy.'”

Specific conclusions were redacted from public records provided to ThisisReno, but Ketner found that Jung’s statements were “discriminatory and sexual in nature” and that she violated county policies.

A second employee also alleged “inappropriate, offensive, and discriminatory statements.”

“During the course of my employment I have been subjected to comments from Commissioner Jung that are sexual in nature and discriminatory against [redacted] gender,” according to the complaint. “I have endured these comments for too long.”

Jung also denied these allegations, Ketner said. However, “I conclude that Commissioner Jung violated [county policy] by making comments that were sexual in nature and discriminatory regarding gender and sexual orientation. I further conclude that the remainder of [redacted] complaint is unsubstantiated.”

Further: “Commissioner Jung denied saying that she hates all fucking men and no man should be in power but acknowledged that she might support such a statement in the context of a more academic discussion related to the #MeToo Movement.”

The county recommended that Jung attend harassment training and to lead by example.

UPDATE June 5, 2019: County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung, chair, and Vice-Chair Bob Lucey issued the following statement today.

In accordance with Washoe County policy, Washoe County’s Human Resources Department responded to complaints made against Commissioner Kitty Jung and engaged an independent, third-party investigator to review and thoroughly investigate the complaints.

Washoe County and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District take harassment of any kind seriously, and are dedicated to a fair and consistent process for all parties involved. The existing policy related to Complaints of Policy Violations Against Elected Officials recognizes the autonomy of elected officials as well as the legal protections of employees, and seeks to balance these interests. When a violation of policy has occurred, appropriate and legally authorized actions to protect employees in the workplace and prevent violations of policies, are enacted.

The investigation determined that violations of Washoe County policy and Code of Conduct occurred. Specifically, Commissioner Jung was found to have made discriminatory comments about men in leadership positions, alleged sexual activities of staff, and sexual orientation of staff. Further, the investigator determined that all complaints were made in good faith.

Washoe County Human Resources has done the following:

* Directed a thorough, third-party investigation.
* Recommended specific training for Commissioner Jung; the requirements of the training were adopted by the Board of Commissioners in 2018 (Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy).
* Strongly suggested Commissioner Jung refrain from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
* Reminded Commissioner Jung that retaliation against an employee for filing a complaint or providing information related to a
complaint, is not tolerated.

Washoe County and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District have acted to the fullest extent of existing statutory authority on this matter.

For additional information on these procedures, click here: Complaints of Policy Violations Against Elected Officials.

Jung did not reply to requests for comment but sent a statement to other news media.

Read the documents received from the county below.

The story was first reported by Joe Hart of KRNV News Channel 4. (ThisisReno, in accordance with established journalism ethics, strives to credit other news sources that break stories.)

This story is developing and may be updated.



William Puchert June 3, 2019 - 3:14 pm

“There is no place for sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and our state agencies and key privileged license holders must lead by example,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said as he issued one of his first executive orders when he became governor on Jan. 7.

I think the substantiated inappropriate comments she made about the sexual activities and sexual orientation of the staff member was the most repulsive in my opinion and while some may say, Commissioner Jung has a great record on supporting LGBT rights in public, it is how you act privately that defines you.

In addition to the comment saying the former Reno city manager’s actions were far less egregious, remember former MN Sen Al Franken, who championed many progressive causes, was pressured to resign by his Democratic colleagues after h faced sexual harassment allegations. When sexual harassment allegations came to light earlier this year against former Sparks Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, he resigned immediately.

Think this is a reminder that our elected officials that they should be more humble and act like public servants rather than demonstrate a pattern of narcissism and self-entitlement.

Commissioner Jung should resign and progressive leaders should start rebuking her publicly or they will be labeled hypocrites and be accused of have a double-standard.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conrad June 3, 2019 - 3:22 pm

Willie, regardless of how this goes, it’s been incredibly disheartening to see some local progressives invoke Trumpian, blame-the-media responses in regard to this case. Thank you for your comment.

J. Tyler Ballance June 3, 2019 - 11:50 am

I have only had positive experiences with Kitty Jung. She has always been friendly and helpful when I have sought her assistance. In fact, I long ago gave up on trying to get Bob Lucey to act on our citizens’behalf. So now, if I need help with County issues, I call Kitty Jung or Vaughn Hartung.

Charlie Moore and I are distant relatives (My mother’s grandmother is from the Moore line). I have always had great experiences with Chief Moore and it is disconcerting for me to have two people who I like and respect at odds with one another.

This investigation repeatedly uses the phrase, “preponderance of evidence” when it appears the entire investigation is based on the statements of two people who appear to be predisposed to be hostile to Kitty Jung.

The statements of the supposed witnesses are identical. That almost never happens when one does this sort of investigation and it makes me suspect that the responses were rehearsed.

In my opinion, nothing that Kitty Jung said should be considered actionable for these reasons:

1. Kitty Jung is an elected official and answerable to the voters, NOT the administrators at the County government. I do not see that the HR department has any authority to direct a Commissioner to submit to political correctness re-education training, or anything else.

2. Kitty Jung and her fellow elected officials do not forfeit their right to free speech upon their election. She has the right to describe people in any words that she sees fit to use, even when some may be offended by her choice of words.

It is ironic that Andrew Clinger was driven from office for far less than what is presented in the Jung investigation. If you recall, the parties in the complaint about Mr. Clinger admitted to coordinating their attack and that Councilwomen Duerr and Brekhus were said to have egged the employees on, in order to make a politically motivated attack on Mr. Clinger.

I used to have to conduct sexual harassment investigations and other conduct related investigations for our Navy. In every sexual harassment case that I investigated, the charges were found to be false and motivated by some form of vengeance or politically otherwise politically motivated. In the Jung case, she is not an employee and is not subject to the (unconstitutional)political correctness codes imposed upon our County employees.

Juanita Cox June 3, 2019 - 9:40 am

Thank you for posting this story. Stories like this needs to be before the public so they might remember at the ballot box or during a RECALL! We are amazed at the little knowledge the Nevada voter actually has but it is not surprising because there are hardly any JOURNALISTS anymore. That is why I like to read ThisisReno where journalism still exists! Thank YOU!

Kelly Hanson June 1, 2019 - 7:31 pm

“Do you know who I am? I’m the f–ing county commissioner,” Kitty Jung while being placed in a police car, April 2-17

Reno deserves better. Remove this foulmouthed hateful harridan before she embarrasses City Hall more.

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