Judge-exec made sexist comment about fired clerk

Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 19:28:50-05

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. – A Grant County judge-executive is on the hot seat for sexist, crude comments he made on a video before the county fired a longtime payroll clerk, and the now clerk wants $750,000 in back pay and damages.

"I told [his wife] if I'm going to replace Connie, she's going to be blonde, 24, big t---" Judge-Executive Steve Wood says on the recording.

Wood then goes on to tell a sexist joke using crude language.

The video shows Wood and the three other men sitting at table talking about firing Connie McClure-Ellington, 56.

"She's way overpaid, way overpaid,"  one says.

Jailer Chris Hankins warns Wood the public won't like it.

"They think what the administration did to a little old lady that lives on the lake," Hankins said.

Wood reminds Hankins that McClure voted against them.

"She voted against you and she voted against me," Wood says.  

In a letter to Grant County, McClure-Ellington says the tape shows she was fired over her age and politics.

"It's something that you think goes on behind closed doors, but when you actually see it, it's shocking," says McClure-Ellington 's attorney, Gail Langendorf.

"Knowing my client and how upset she is about this, it's hard to see her talked about it that way," Langendorf added

Wood, in a statement, appeared to say that Hankins set him up.

"It is offensive for someone to allege I would ever make personnel decisions based on a locker room joke which, I only recently learned was secretly recorded in a meeting at the jailer's office at his request. I look forward to the opportunity to vigorously defend these allegations in a court of law. I have I have always put the interest of the citizens of this county first in every decision I have made.  On the advice of council, I will have no further comment on pending litigation.”