Weeks before Al Dirschberger was charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a co-worker, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz asked the then-Social Services Commissioner to resign due to an un-specified violation of policy.
At the time of the announcement, three days after Christmas, Poloncarz declined to say which policy he found Dirschberger in violation of, saying he did not want to interfere with an on-going criminal investigation.
Wednesday, 2 On-Your-Side has been informed by the county executive's office that Dirschberger was considered in violation of "fraternization" rules.
A copy of the Erie County policy on fraternization was forwarded to the 2 On-Your-Side newsroom.
The policy guidelines note it "does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers", but rather point out there are "boundaries as to how relationships are conducted". Also noted is that "(i)ndividuals in supervisory or management roles...are subject to more stringent requirements".
One of those requirements is that "(e)xecutive appointees must disclose the existence of a romantic or sexual relationship with another co-worker."
At the December 28th news conference about Dirschberger's resignation, Poloncarz said he spoke with Dirschberger at length by phone. The Poloncarz spokesman today did not elaborate what was said by Dirschberger which would indicate a violation of the fraternization policy.
Dirschberger was arraigned Monday in Albany. An unsealed indictment alleges the assault happened at an Albany hotel. Dirschberger's attorney said a portion of the defense strategy would be to show that sexual contact between Dirschberger and the un-named co-worker was consensual.