The city of Portland has “no recourse” against former Mayor Sam Adams over recently reported allegations of harassment while he was in office, according to the city attorney.
In a written statement, Tracy Reeve, attorney for the city of Portland, stated allegations made last month by Cevero Gonzalez about Sam Adams in 2009 would have been investigated at that time had they been reported.
Gonzalez was an executive assistant for Adams.
“Regrettably this conduct wasn't reported when it is alleged to have occurred, so it wasn't investigated,” according to Reeve, adding, “The City has no recourse against former employees or elected officials for violations of City HR policies and rules.”
Gonzalez told FOX 12 last month he sent a six-page letter to the city outlining unwanted sexual behavior by Adams. Gonzalez said he was also called upon to drive Adams home after the mayor had been drinking.
Adams released a statement to FOX 12 last month welcoming an investigation into any such allegations, while also stating, “I did not sexually harass Mr. Gonzales.”
Reeve said the city took proactive steps after receiving the letter from Gonzalez, including inviting Gonzalez to discuss his concerns with city staff, but he declined.
City staff also explored whether the matter could be referred to the Oregon Government Civil Ethics Commission for investigation, but Adams left office five years ago and, by statute, the commission can’t investigate any conduct that occurred more than four years prior to the date a complaint is filed.
“We will continue to review and update City policies and training to ensure that our employees are aware of their right to a harassment free workplace, and of the many avenues available to them for reporting such conduct. When misconduct is reported, it will be investigated,” according to a statement from Reeve.
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