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Milwaukee Common Council approves effort to enforce anti-harassment policy on elected officials

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 22:23:59-04

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Common Council is directing a city department to find ways to ensure all elected officials are bound by the city's anti-harassment policy.

In a resolutionpassed Tuesday, the council directed the Department of Employee Relations (DER) to prepare recommendations intended to ensure that all city elected officials are governed by "policies regulating sexual harassment and other forms of intimidation."

Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa and Alderman Michael Murphyproposed the resolution last month aiming at enforcing the anti-harassment policy on all city employees. During Tuesday's vote, all 15 members of the council voted for the resolution.

While the resolution does not name anyone in particular, it was introduced after DER concluded that the policy does not apply to one elected official, Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer.

The department launched an investigation into allegations that Spencer harassed female city employees, including touching a woman without permission and saying offensive comments, according to the department's investigation summary.

The probe stated at least six employees complained about Spencer's behavior towards women. Nineteen people were interviewed last year, and all participated in interviews with DER on the condition of not being named in the report.

City Attorney Spencer told DER during its investigation that he believes the allegations came from employees not happy he had won the election for city attorney. Spencer described the complaints as "making too much out of minor issues."

Spencer continued to DER investigators that he believed the city attorney's office is moving to a "good atmosphere." He emphasized that he has strived to get to know the department's 66 employees.

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