One can hear a pin drop at City Hall. The Silence hasn’t gone unnoticed by the local press. It began in May, after a city employee filed a claim against Mayor Kevin Johnson, accusing him of sexual harassment.
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A few days ago Vice Mayor Allen Warren was accused of sexual harassment by a former city aid
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One day after Allen Warren’s complaint, Elsie Fong a (former supervisor with the Department of Utilities) was accused of sexually harassing a female subordinate.
An former employee said ,Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby
denied an employee medical and family leave benefits.and is suing the city.
District 4 City Councilman Steve Hansen says the city isn’t doing enough to prevent sexual harassment after three cases of allegations. He wants the city auditor to evaluate the city’s policy over the next 30 days.
At last night council meeting, the mayor and some of the other council members would have preferred Hansen meet with the council before talking to the media.
The allegations began May, if this was another public entity, such as school board, there would be demands for an independent inquiry.
The resent events are unprecedented, never in the history of the City of Sacramento has three members of the city(The Mayor, the Vice Mayor and Mayor Por Tem) accused of harassment (within months of each other)
Delia Chacon complained to the city about Allen Warren and Estrellita Ilee Muller filed her claim with the city clerks office and it was the council who voted 7.0 in a closed door session to reject Muller’s claim against the city.
What are the consequences for city employees and elected officials?
Hansen says, the city’s policy is outdated. A paragraph on the city’s human resources website has a link to read more, but the link doesn’t seem to work.
“Our policy doesn’t say we have no tolerance for this behavior, it doesn’t explicitly say that it’s illegal which it is,” . “San Jose’s policy is 11 pages long, but it also deals with if an elected official does something that is inappropriate how to report it.”
Outside of City Hall, The League of Women Voters, Sacramento Democratic Party and the Eye on Sacramento are calling for a creation of an independent city ethics commission. Many cities have formed ethics commissions.
The mayor and some members of the council are miffed by Hansen’s actions. How dare he talk to the media! The mayor says he supports ethics reform. Angelique Ashby and Allen Warren are on the city’s good governance committee.
At last night meeting, it seemed to be more about protocol than repairing the system. District 8 Councilman Larry Carr said he had a problem with asking the city manager to implement a policy before the council sees it. Image and Conflict of Interest is lost on District 7’s Councilmen Rick Jennings who believes Ashby and Allen(who are accused of harassment) should not be asked to step down from the good governance committee.
It is clear, the current system is broken and breeds corruption. The sentiment last night seemed to be, forget public perception, protect our colleagues. The only solution is an independent body.
Secrets and the Cone of Silence
There are eight council members, two of the eight have been accused of harassment. Citizens are talking,wondering what’s going on? Missing is the outrage and embarrassment for city! No one has come forward not a single council member has said,we need to look into this. Transparency is simply 12 letter word. Steve Hansen, a party of one has lifted the cone of silence off Sacramento’s City Hall. At last nights meeting he said “We can’t just let things get swept under the rug”