Phoenix eyes harassment policy for politicians
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.