Two Assembly members whose local mayors have grappled with sexual misconduct allegations want to mandate sexual harassment training for local elected officials.
“It’s common sense to protect women in the workplace as well as to protect local government and taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who plans to introduce a bill on the subject along with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego.
The underlying context for the two authors is hard to miss.
McCarty represents a city whose mayor, Kevin Johnson, has faced harassment allegations from a city employee, has been admonished to not hug city workers and has battled resurfaced allegations that he inappropriately touched an underage girl years ago.
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Gonzalez hails from a town whose former mayor, Bob Filner – a onetime ally of Gonzalez – resigned in the wake of harassment allegations from multiple women. According to Gonzalez’s office, the special election to replace Filner and legal settlements cost San Diego taxpayers millions of dollars.
“It was based off the Sacramento and San Diego experience,” McCarty said of the proposed measure. In an interview, he noted that Sacramento’s city attorney has suggested that the mandatory harassment training for city employees doesn’t apply to elected officials.
The planned legislation would clarify that elected officials must undergo the same kind of sexual harassment training mandated for other city employees. McCarty and Gonzalez plan to formally introduce the bill when the Legislature returns in January.