Aurora City Council member Charlie Richardson said if sexual harassment “can happen in Hollywood, it can happen in Aurora.” But the resolution he was pushing to prevent public funds from being used in related lawsuits against council members and senior staff is on pause.
The resolution hit the floor Monday night and was tabled indefinitely — a move Richardson said means the measure is dead. But many of the council members who voted the measure down say it’s not the measure, but the timing they’re concerned about.
The resolution deemed that if senior staff members and council members didn’t partake in sexual harassment training, they may not be able to utilize taxpayer money in defending their case.
Councilman Bob LeGare, who motioned that the resolution be put on hold, said during the meeting he’d like to see the measure back in front of council once city staff is able to schedule some kind of sexual harassment training.
The council was evenly split, with Mayor Steve Hogan casting the tie-breaking vote.
Councilman Bob Roth said prior to the vote he’d be a no vote, not because of timing, but because it’s a non-issue in Aurora.
“It’s a solution looking for a problem,” he said.
But for the most part, councilors agreed that sexual harassment should be taken seriously, especially as cases have made headlines from showbiz to the state Legislature, where Democrats are looking to expel state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulfur Springs.
“I don’t think tracking down training would be hard to do,” said council newbie Allison Hiltz.
Staff said during the meeting a training would likely take about two hours. But schedules are so far packed.
The original resolution, before it was sent to the council floor, didn’t include a training requirement. But Richardson decided to include that in the resolution as an “escape valve.”