Via AP/Fox News:
The attorney for San Diego’s embattled mayor says the city failed to provide Bob Filner state-required sexual harassment training and therefore should pay to defend him against a lawsuit by his former communications director, who alleges he asked her to work without wearing panties.
Filner’s lawyer Harvey Berger made the argument in a letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith one day before the City Council voted unanimously to deny Filner funds for his legal defense. Local media published parts of the letter Wednesday.
Berger said the training was scheduled but the city trainer canceled and did not reschedule.
“While, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, many might argue that `you don’t need a weatherperson to tell you which way the wind blows,’ and an adult male should not need sexual harassment training,” Filner may not be facing a lawsuit today if he had undergone the classes, Berger wrote.
“This is not an excuse for any inappropriate behavior which may have occurred, but having conducted sexual harassment training many times over the years, I have learned that many — if not most — people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law. There is a very, very good reason for mandatory sexual harassment training; if nothing else it makes people think about the subject, and how they interact with their fellow employees,” Berger wrote.
Update: This story just gets better and better.
Via Voice of San Diego:
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s office canceled multiple new employee and management training sessions in the first months of his term, a former top city official said late Wednesday. The sessions included direction to complete legally required sexual harassment training, two City Hall sources with knowledge of the situation said.
These statements contradict the version of events offered by Filner’s attorney Harvey Berger in a letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. In the letter, Berger contends the city is liable for Filner’s legal fees in his sexual harassment lawsuit because of the failed training. Berger claims that city trainers “unilaterally cancelled” the sessions and never rescheduled.
“Had the city provided mandatory sexual harassment training to Mayor Filner, [former spokeswoman Irene] McCormack Jackson may never have brought her lawsuit,” Berger wrote in the July 29 letter.
Former city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said Filner’s office canceled several training sessions, which would have covered payroll, benefits and other employee and management roles and responsibilities, because the mayor’s office said it didn’t have time for them.