Solobay’s Resignation Raises Questions About Wolf Administration’s Commitment to Curbing Sexual Harassment
PennLive Reports Senior Advisor Knew of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Prior to Solobay’s Appointment
Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay suddenly resigned on Sunday as it was reported by PennLive that he was accused of sexually harassing a staffer in his state senate office in 2011. Pennlive also noted that Solobay was appointed to his cabinet post despite the fact that Mary Isenhour, an senior advisor to Governor Wolf, had prior knowledge of the allegations, raising questions about the Wolf Administration’s priorities when it comes to ending sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to PennLive, “A handful of women did confirm to PennLive that Moore told them about her complaint, if not every detail, in the days immediately following the incident. Mary Isenhour, a member of Wolf’s campaign team who is friends with both Moore and Solobay, said she immediately encouraged Moore to make her Senate supervisors aware of the issue.” (PennLive, 12/31/17)
Therefore, Isenhour, who was serving as Co-Chair of Governor Wolf’s Inaugural Committee and had been announced as the Secretary of Legislative Affairs at the time of Solobay’s appointment, knew about the incident since 2011. Isenhour later went on to become Wolf’s Chief of Staff and is currently working on his reelection campaign.
June 0f 2011 – Solobay allegedly sexually harrasses Rachel Moore. Moore informs Isenhour “in the days immediately following the incident.”
November 24, 2014 – Insenhour named Co-Chair of Inaugural Committee
December 10, 2014 – Isenhour announced among “Key Staff” – Secretary of Legislative Affairs
January 15, 2015 – Solobay appointed as Fire Commissioner
July 23, 2015 – Isenhour named Chief of Staff
January 31, 2017 – Isenhour steps down as Chief of Staff to join campaign effort
One of two possible scenarios must have occurred – Insenhour either told Wolf about the allegations against Solobay and the Governor appointed him anyway, or Isenhour suppressed the information in an effort to make sure a political ally was given a cabinet post at the expense of a qualified, 14 year commissioner who served under four different governors from both political parties.
Wolf’s Office failed to comment further on the specifics of Solobay’s resignation, citing it as a “personnel matter”. The Governor was also silent when The Caucus recently reportedthat there are currently “four pending lawsuits filed by women against the state police” alleging sexual harassment. Wolf, however, has been quick to comment on sexual harassment cases in other branches of government, calling for the resignations of Senator Leach and Representative Caltagirone.