Governor Cuomo's office and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities are teaming up to appeal the arbitrator's decision in the case of Chad Dominie. Dominie was accused by three women of sexual harassment in the New York state OPWDD in Glens Falls.
The Associated Press reported Dominie pleaded guilty to a harassment violation — which does not qualify as even a misdemeanor. The arbitrator found Dominie guilty on four of the 10 charges against him but ruled he should not be fired — though the arbitrator says Dominie would not receive back pay for the 17 months he was on unpaid suspension.
Cuomo's office and OPWDD are appealing that decision. OPWDD sent us a statement saying, "Mr. Dominie will remain suspended without pay pending the conclusion of the appeals process.”
And Cuomo's office equally sent us a statement saying, "We have zero tolerance for harassment, period, and we will pursue every available avenue to keep abusers out of the workplace. To that end, the Attorney General’s Office, at our direction, filed a suit appealing the arbitration ruling and we are examining potential legislative remedies to reform this process."
At end of the 2019 legislative session, Cuomo strengthened laws against sexual harassment and abuse, with several actresses who were survivors and advocates in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
There is also an ongoing federal lawsuit in this matter by Mary Tromblee — who came forward earlier this year and spoke to us about the abuse she endured as a nurse in the office where Dominie worked. Tromblee says Dominie did acts such as lifting her skirt, reaching in her blouse, and even exposing himself.
Tromblee and other advocates say Dominie's reinstatement would be another example of how the state is failing to protect government workers from toxic workplaces. Tuesday morning, we reached out to Tromblee's attorney, Kathryn Barcroft, and have yet to receive a response.