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LISTEN: La Crosse County Administrator apologizes for Limbaugh comment

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steve o’malley

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - La Crosse County Administrator Steve O'Malley apologized Thursday night for his comments on social media related to the death of Rush Limbaugh.

In February, in a Facebook post, O'Malley commented about the death of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. It said, "If I believed in hell, it would be the most deserving place for the likes of him. He never loved anything but hatred, racism, and disrespect."

The remarks drew backlash from members of the public.

O'Malley's post led to a review by the county's ethics board in early March. It determined that there was no violation of county policy in O'Malley's comments.

At the beginning of the Thursday night meeting of the full County Board, Chair Monica Kruse called the controversial comments "singularly disruptive to the much more important work and issues before the County Board." She also remarked that reflected poorly on O'Malley, the county board, and La Crosse County.

Kruse also said, "I think we can all agree that it was an incredbly ill-advised Facebook post and I imagine Mr. O'Malley has probably kicked himself a hundred times over it for ever posting it."

She then gave O'Malley the opportunity to address the board. Here are his full comments.

"I have no excuse and I accept responsibility for using very poor judgement. I sincerely apologize and I should not have made any comment about the passing of Rush Limbaugh in any public forum even on my own time away from work. As County Administrator, I was naive to think I could make a negative comment about a national personality who is respected by many without expecting to cause hurt feelings that insulted some people's point of view. My comment was insensitive and intolerant and I feel terrible for any offense to any communitymember or county employee. I want all La Crosse County residents to feel supported by the important work done La Crosse County staff and the coverage of my comment is a distraction from our exceptional service in this extraordinary place. Going forward, I will keep my opinion to myself unless it directly relates to county business. I pledge that nothing similiar will occur by any action by me while I am County Administrator going forward. Thank you for considering my statement."

In her earlier comments, Kruse said that the county is working to revise and update their policies as it relates to social media and county employees.

Kruse said she hopes that the board can move forward with dealing with issues such as opening up the economy after COVID, working on a comprehensive plan for the county, and how to spend $23 million in COVID relief money wisely.