Phoenix eyes ha­rass­ment pol­icy for politi­cians

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Jes­sica Boehm

Phoenix’s city char­ter is silent as to what hap­pens if an elected of­fi­cial is ac­cused of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Coun­cil­woman Kate Gal­lego wants to change that.

“Ha­rass­ment hap­pens at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, so it’s a con­cern for us at the city of Phoenix,” Gal­lego said.

The coun­cil­woman said she looked into the city’s pol­icy af­ter hear­ing the al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the state Capi­tol and was sur­prised to learn there wasn’t one for of­fi­cials.

“It seems clear that in to­day’s world, there needs to be a clear pol­icy and pro­ce­dure,” Gal­lego said.

There is a com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy re­gard­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment by Phoenix em­ploy­ees, but Gal­lego said a sep­a­rate pol­icy that in­cludes an out­side re­view of all al­le­ga­tions is needed for elected of­fi­cials.

“I want any­one to feel com­fort­able com­ing for­ward and know he or she will be heard,” she said.

The Phoenix City Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day unan­i­mously voted to ex­plore a new pol­icy.

City staff will re­search how other ci­ties han­dle ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against elected of­fi­cials and bring back a rec­om­men­da­tion to the coun­cil later this year.

Coun­cil­man Daniel Valen­zuela asked staff to also re­search how the city should han­dle al­le­ga­tions against peo­ple serv­ing on city boards and com­mis­sions.

Those in­di­vid­u­als also are not cov­ered un­der the city’s em­ployee ha­rass­ment pol­icy.

Coun­cil­man Sal DiCic­cio asked staff to look in their re­search at how cor­po­ra­tions ad­dress em­ployee con­duct as well.

“It’s not just about ha­rass­ment . ... You’ve got to also look at con­duct of the elected of­fi­cial in of­fice,” DiCic­cio said.

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