Comments about Women’s March land West Chester official in hot water

West Chester Twp. Fiscal Officer Bruce Jones says he won’t back away from voicing strong opinions, despite it costing him a relationship with a real estate firm where he was an agent.

Jones told the Journal-News his frustration got the better of him when he told a woman on his Facebook page she should “go back to the asylum” following a lengthy discussion on gender equality.

That strong response has prompted one West Chester Twp. trustee to call for Jones to publicly apologize.

Jones, a Republican, shared a post on the social media platform that was critical of the Women’s March after the presidential inauguration.

Jones told the Journal-News he did not agree with everything contained in the post, but said he does wish for equality for all.

“We all want equality. That’s the fist thing I said,” said Jones who was elected as the township fiscal officer in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. “And after spending nearly an hour trying to respectfully communicate with her, I had it with her. She wasn’t going to listen to anything I said. She wasn’t going to be reasonable.”

The lengthy social media post by a woman from Hamilton County was posted started at 12:49 a.m. Monday. Bruce responded around 7:30 a.m. Monday with his own lengthy post which prompted a second long post at 9:19 a.m. Monday from the Hamilton County resident. The online conversation heated up. Jones called her “a hater” and she said “women’s equality is being ‘mansplained’ to me” by Jones.

Then just before noon yesterday, Jones wrote: “YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO CENSOR ME BECAUSE I’M A MAN! YOU are ILL! Now be off - back to the asylum.”

He told the Journal-News he was “sorry I wasn’t more artful in my wording,” but said he “will not be censored.”

Jones said he’s received positive support from those “that know me in their heart,” but his comments have ended a relationship with Coldwell Banker West Shell.

Until Tuesday, Jones was a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker's Union Centre Regional Office. However, Coldwell Banker West Shell tweeted out that the Cincinnati office has "decided to disassociate with Mr. Jones. We respect all people & don't condone hate speech."

West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong told the Journal-News that “how Mr. Jones handles this is his business, but I think he owes these women and the community an apology.”

Fellow trustee George Lang said he believes Jones is “entitled to his positions and to express that opinion the way he feels is appropriate.”

Lang said he doesn’t 100 percent agree with everyone he knows, but respects their rights.

“It will be the voters that will ultimately decide if that was appropriate or not,” he said.

Trustee President Mark Welch declined to comment, saying he doesn’t know all the facts.

The Butler County Democratic Party also condemned Jones.

“Jones’s sexist comments plays to stereotypes as women as ‘hysterical’ simply for exercising their First Amendment rights,” Executive Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro said in a statement. “Mr. Jones apparently is unaware that women, too, fight and die for our country to protect our constitutional rights. We vote, too.”

Bucaro called for West Chester Twp. trustees to separate themselves from Jones’ comments.

“Trustee President Mark Welch and the other trustees should publicly let Mr. Jones know that his comments are not acceptable behavior as an elected official representing the West Chester community,” she said. “Their continued silence can only be interpreted as tacit acceptance of his childish behavior.”

In an email to a West Chester Twp. resident that was obtained by the Journal-News, Township Administrator Judi Boyko addressed Jones’ comments.

“Fiscal Officer Jones is an elected official independently elected from the Board of Trustees,” she wrote. “The Fiscal Officer’s role does not legislate; rather, serves as a clerk to the board, regarding record keeping and proceedings, and has some fiscal responsibility and statutory duties regarding the township’s fiscal reporting. I, in no way, condone disrespectful behavior or derogatory, demeaning comments.”

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