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CITY OF IONE

HARASSMENT COMPLAINT

REASON FOR REVIEW

The Grand Jury received a citizen's complaint alleging misconduct by an Ione City Council member. The complaint alleges:

BACKGROUND

In September, 1999, an employee was cleaning sludge from the drying bed at the City of Ione's Tertiary Wastewater Treatment Plant when a council member, whose demeanor and language was allegedly threatening and intimidating, approached him.

METHODOLOGY

Persons interviewed:

  1. Complainant
  2. Mayor
  3. City Council members
  4. City Administrator
  5. City Building Inspector
  6. City Maintenance Supervisor
  7. Executive Director, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 4988
  8. Field Representative, SEIU Local 4988
  9. Witness to the alleged incident

Documents examined:

  1. Ione Municipal Code
  2. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Ione and SEIU Local 4988
  3. Written statement by witness to the alleged incident

FACTS

  1. The council member did approach the employee and make demands in a hostile manner.
  2. The council member did use vulgar language.
  3. The council member did use intimidating gestures.
  4. The employee filed a formal complaint with his supervisor.
  5. Section 2.10.220, Council-Administrator Relations, Ione Municipal Code, states in part, "....Neither the city council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the city administration."
  6. Article 19, Procedure for the Resolution of Grievances, MOU between the City of Ione and SEIU Local 4988, provides a process for employee's grievances.
  7. The City failed to investigate the employee's complaint.
  8. The City does not have a Personnel Manual.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The council member was in violation of Section 2.10.220, Ione Municipal Code.
  2. The supervisor failed to comply with Article 19 of the MOU by not investigating the employee's complaint.
  3. The City is in need of personnel policies and procedures, including provisions pertaining to overtime, which are necessary to protect employees from arbitrary decisions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. City Council members adhere to Section 2.10.220, Ione Municipal Code or face censure by the Council.
  2. All council members adhere to the Ione Municipal Code.
  3. The City Administrator review the Ione Municipal Code and protect city employees against this type of action in the future.
  4. The Mayor demonstrate leadership when violations of the code occur.
  5. An alternative arbitration procedure be made available to city employees to provide protection against arbitration disagreements.
  6. A Personnel Manual be produced and distributed to all emplyees.

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