If anyone thought the Bob Filner ordeal would resolve itself because a bunch of adults came to town and played dress-up in the slow month of July, they were wrong. We now have a Gloria Allred-led lawsuit, and this will be ugly. The lawsuit is against both the City of San Diego and Bob Filner.
I would say that city government will come to a standstill, but the mayor has already acknowledged his ineffectiveness and handed the operational keys over to former county CAO Walt Eckard.
Here are the grafs you need from Craig Gustafson’s article in the UTSD for water cooler discussions:
Irene McCormack Jackson, who served as the mayor’s communications director from January to June, is the first woman to identify herself as one of Filner’s accusers since anonymous allegations of sexual harassment were made earlier this month. She told her story alongside attorney Gloria Allred who specializes in high-profile cases involving powerful men and female accusers.
McCormack Jackson accused the mayor of making several sexually suggestive comments to her and telling her he loved her and wanted to get married. The comments included: “I would do a better job if you kissed me,” “When are you going to get naked?” “Wouldn’t it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them on?” and “When are we going to get married? Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?”
McCormack Jackson added, “I am coming forward today to lay the blame at the feet of the person responsible, Mayor Bob Filner. He is not fit to be the mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office. A man who lacks character makes a mockery of his ideas.”
In a statement, Filner said he was saddened by the charges made in the lawsuit and once again called for due process.
Here is the lawsuit, provided by the UTSD.
This will be interesting from a legal standpoint. The city (and its insurers) will want to settle early on and not risk the public kitty with too much liability. Filner then would be stuck with a dragged out case, that could last through his term as mayor, which ends in 2016. The 70-year-old then doesn’t run for reeelection, citing need for fresh blood. However, if it ever goes to trial, remember that this is just one of many women who likely have a claim against the city and the mayor.
Remember this from Craig Gustafson’s July 20 article ”In a television interview, Filner said ‘I brought this on through my own personal frailties and the biggest monster right now is, you know, inside me.’ Later he described himself as ‘a hugger’ of both men and women.’”
That’s the type of quote that will be fatal in front of a jury. One can be a hugger while not working to suppress a monster. So, why will he let it get there?
The San Diego mayor is part of the San Diego Employees Retirement System. While the issues of pensions in San Diego is currently a huge debate, this may also factor into the mayor’s calculations about whether to resign or not.
He had 4 years of service from his 1987-1993 stint on the council. If he resigns now, he would receive $1,172/month for the rest of his life, while if he stays through the end of his current term, he would receive $2,344. (This assumes his time on the San Diego Unified board is accounted separately in PERS, although there may be reciprocity that pumps it up to $4,395/month.) Anyway, an extra $1,172 per month might just be enough to stick it out.
QUESTION: What should a city’s liability be when there is a knowingly hostile workplace, but the offender is an elected official whose job is determined by the people?