Timeline of Speaker Stumbo’s Actions in Establishing Effective Harassment Procedures

 

This limited release of documents is intended to dispel irresponsible rumors, and to ensure that public confidence in the General Assembly is maintained. These records relate only to the establishment of effective rules, not to any specific confidential case matters. The Speaker respects and supports the Legislative Ethics Commission as it begins its work to examine the facts of this case. Thanks to the procedures put in place by the Speaker more than two years ago, the Commission will be greatly aided in its factual inquiry.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011: The Speaker’s General Counsel directs the LRC Director that any violation of harassment policy be resolved in accordance with the American Bar Association’s policies in its publication “Sexual Harassment in the Public Workplace.” See: Attachment 1.

This order from the Speaker set out the following standards approved by the ABA for an effective investigation:

1.       All reports of harassment are to be immediately investigated in a “prompt, thorough and impartial” process.

2.       The primary goal is to “maintain a harassment free workplace.”

3.       LRC shall avoid the “common mistake” of “failing to follow-up on the investigation.”

4.       The parties are to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation.

5.       Remind the complainant to “immediately report any retaliation.”

All of these points are explicitly set out in the April 14th, 2011 directive from the Speaker. See: Attachment 1

This demonstrates that the Speaker established clear and effective policies more than two (2) years ago. Note that these are procedures to be followed in ALL harassment claims. Obviously, this predates the present investigation. 

Monday, May 6th, 2013: Speaker’s Chief of Staff issues a directive to the LRC Director relating to the present incident. See: Attachment 2.

This communication states:

“I appreciate your efforts to investigate and resolve the present matter and provide periodic updates to me and Pierce as necessary. I have also reviewed the materials provided to you several years ago regarding how these matters should be handled for our office. I am most interested in seeing that follow-up meetings are held with all parties involved in the complaint and that the complainant is comfortable with the way the matter has been handled by your office.

See: Attachment 2, emphasis supplied.

Far from being a “cover up”, as some political operatives have irresponsibly suggested, the Speaker’s office was fully focused on protecting the rights of the parties and ensuring that they were actively involved in the investigation.  Note that the Speaker’s office took no role in the investigation, but acted to ensure that effective policies were in place and followed.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013: The Speaker’s General Counsel responded to the LRC employee heading up the investigation. See: Attachment 3.This response again underscores the importance of following the best and highest standards of investigation, stating:

“Thank you for your offer to update me and the Speaker’s Chief of Staff regarding the Director’s Office’s internal LRC review of allegations of harassment.  In keeping with the ABA Guidelines forwarded to you some time ago, we wish to ensure that your review process is confidential, impartial, and independent.

I look forward to your close-out letter on this issue, in accordance with existing policies and procedures for handling such mattersIf the parties have elected to utilize the legal process rather than any informal administrative review, please so note that in your close-out letter.

Should you have any suggestions regarding specific policy changes for House members that the Speaker’s Office may want to implement in the future in order to better serve staff and the public, please forward those to our attention.”

Attachment 3, emphasis supplied.

Conclusion:  Clearly, the Speaker’s office has been proactive and thorough in directing that fair and effective action be taken. If further information is required, please feel free to contact the Speaker’s Office.

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