Ted Lolley, an Owensboro businessman and a member of the City Utility Commission, has been asked to resign from the commission over a misogynistic comment he made on Facebook about Vice President Kamala Harris.
Lolley resigned from two other public boards as well Thursday, according to a letter he sent to Daviess Fiscal Court.
Lolley made the comment in response to someone else who had posted congratulations to the new U.S. vice president. That post, from a local woman, said “Hear that sound? That’s the sound of Kamala Harris breaking the glass ceiling!”
Lolley replied, “Vice whore.”
He has since deleted the post, but the Messenger-Inquirer has viewed a screen shot of it.
Lolley addressed the situation Thursday on his own Facebook page, but by then, word about the comment had made its way across the community, including to city and county officials.
“The problem is words have consequences, and those are not the kind of comments I feel are appropriate to put on Facebook,” Daviess Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said Thursday.
Lolley, who is head of the engineering firm Ted Lolley & Associates, did not return a call Thursday from the Messenger-Inquirer.
The City Utility Commission oversees Owensboro Municipal Utilities. In addition to the Utility Commission, Lolley was also a member of the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport Board and the Owensboro-Daviess County Building Code Appeals Board.
He has also been a member of the Historic Preservation Board and has been involved with several downtown projects, including overseeing the construction of Smothers Park, the river wall and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
On Thursday, Lolley posted on his Facebook page: “Yesterday in the mist (sic) of the emotions of yesterday’s events I made a crude and inappropriate comment on Facebook that may have insulted women. I truly do not feel this was the correct thing to do for many reasons. After thinking back on my actions I wish to apologize to any one who I may of offended and want those persons to know I am truly sorry and regret my actions.”
Mattingly said he called Lolley early Thursday morning, but had not heard back as of mid-day. Fiscal Court makes appointments to the airport board.
“I’m certainly disgusted with the comment he posted,” Mattingly said.
Later Thursday, Mattingly said Lolley had sent a letter saying he was resigning from the airport board and the building code appeals board.
“I don’t agree with what he posted,” Mattingly said. “It’s not what people representing our community should be posting.”
The Owensboro City Commission makes appointments to the Utility Commission. Mayor Tom Watson said Thursday afternoon he had spoken with Lolley about the post.
“I did ask him for his letter of resignation,” Watson said. “All of those who work at the city are aware of it.”
When asked if Lolley indicated he planned to resign, Watson said, “He said he was. We’ll see. I gave him the opportunity to do that.”
Watson said he is disappointed in Lolley’s comment.
“It’s certainly something we do not condone, especially from someone who is on one of our most important boards,” Watson said.
“It doesn’t reflect our community by any means,” Watson said.
In a written statement, Airport Board Chairman Madison Silvert said, “Mr. Lolley’s comments were inappropriate and do not reflect the airport board or this community.”
Silvert wrote, “As the airport board is the gateway to our town, let me on behalf of our board apologize to not only the vice president, but women everywhere. At the same time, let’s offer Mr. Lolley some grace and move this community forward with not only a spirit of forgiveness but an example of civility.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse