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LA City Council Motion For Review On Ethics, Harassment Training

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LOS ANGELES (CNS/KTTV) - In the aftermath of a pair sexual harassment lawsuits targeting city officials, two City Council members today called for a "thorough review" of the city's ethics, harassment and workplace violence training procedures.

Council President Herb Wesson and Councilwoman Nury Martinez introduced a motion calling for a report on the city's training process to be brought back in 45 days.

The motion also proposes that training sessions be conducted "in person," as opposed to over the Internet, which is allowed under existing policies.

Though the motion comes less than a week after City Councilman Jose Huizar was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit, Wesson spokesman Ed Johnson said the motion was unrelated to any legal action.

Wesson felt that "now is a time for us to review all of these policies," given that there are seven new council members, a new mayoral administration and new city commissioners, Johnson said.

Huizar's former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the 12th District councilman last week. Huizar, who is married and running for re-election, admitted to a "consensual relationship" with Godoy, but denied harassing her.

Godoy claims Huizar offered to support her in an election run a community college board only if she had sex with him. When she refused, the lawsuit alleges, Huizar grew angry and began yelling and cursing at her.

Meanwhile, Councilman Mitch Englander's chief of staff is the target of a separate sexual harassment lawsuit filed in September by a former Englander field deputy.

The unnamed former employee accuses John Lee of subjecting her to repeated "inappropriate and offensive jokes and comments of a sexual nature" and denying her the opportunity to apply for a job as a public safety deputy.

Englander has said he was surprised by the lawsuit and that his office has a "system in place where any situation like this would immediately surface and be dealt with."

Wesson and Martinez's motion was referred the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee and still requires approval by the full City Council.

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