City Beat

Sacramento councilman seeks review of city sexual harassment policies

Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren and Steve Hansen talk after the council meeting on May 12. Warren and Hansen had a testy exchange after Hansen opposed adding staff to the mayor’s office in the upcoming budget without the mayor present and able to defend it. Hansen will ask Tuesday for the city auditor to review Sacramento’s sexual harassment policies after allegations made against Warren and Mayor Kevin Johnson this year.
Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren and Steve Hansen talk after the council meeting on May 12. Warren and Hansen had a testy exchange after Hansen opposed adding staff to the mayor’s office in the upcoming budget without the mayor present and able to defend it. Hansen will ask Tuesday for the city auditor to review Sacramento’s sexual harassment policies after allegations made against Warren and Mayor Kevin Johnson this year. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Members of the Sacramento City Council expressed support Tuesday night for an examination of the city’s sexual harassment policies.

Councilman Steve Hansen requested that City Auditor Jorge Oseguera spend 30 days looking at whether the city’s policies need to be improved or updated and “make recommendations on where we can make them better.”

Hansen asked that the City Manager’s Office “implement everything” in its authority after that review.

Oseguera said he has conducted a preliminary review of the policy and said he will start a more advanced examination immediately.

Most council members supported the auditor conducting a review but asked that his recommendations either go to the City Council’s Budget and Audit Committee or the full City Council before being implemented.

“Let’s look at the information and see where we are and need to be,” Mayor Kevin Johnson said. “If we’re not, let’s improve to be better.”

Hansen also asked that City Council colleagues who have been the subject of harassment or workplace misconduct claims step down from a committee exploring “good government” reforms. His request applies to two council members, Allen Warren and Angelique Ashby.

A former aide filed a July 31 claim accusing Warren of threatening to fire her if she ended their sexual relationship. Warren has denied the accusation, and the City Attorney’s Office is investigating the claim.

Ashby is named in a federal lawsuit filed by a former aide who charged she was denied medical leave benefits by the city after toxic mold in her home sickened her family. Ashby said this week she would not step down from the good-government committee.

The mayor – who appointed the members to the committee – also was accused of sexual harassment in a claim that the city attorney and an outside law firm determined was unsubstantiated. The mayor also denied the allegation.

Multiple members of the council came to the defense of Warren and Ashby.

“I don’t think anyone should step down from the responsibility they’ve stepped into,” said Councilman Rick Jennings. “We will stand strong in a time of adversity and support any of us going through any form of adversity.”

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