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SENATOR  MENDOZA REQUESTS LEGISLATIVE AUDIT COMMITTEE EXAMINE STANDARDS USED TO HANDLE ANY HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS  

 

Mendoza calls for transparency, and the establishment of protocols and policies regarding harassment claims to establish due process and reclaim the public’s trust

SACRAMENTO, CAThe recent issue of workplace environments and its impact on the legislature and the private sector has become very topical and prevalent given the number of public accusations. Senator Tony Mendoza, who has personally been impacted by the current issue, believes it is troubling for victims, members of both legislative houses and the public that there is a lack of knowledge regarding past incidents, the amounts paid out to settle the incidents and more importantly, what protocols and policies have been implemented to avoid further incidents.

In response to this lack of transparency, Senator Tony Mendoza has sent a letter to Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi and Senator Richard D. Roth, Chair and Vice Chair respectively, of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, strongly urging them to have the Committee authorize the Bureau of State Audits to conduct an audit of both Committees’ standards, processes and outcomes used to address and resolve any harassment complaints filed with either or both Committees since 2000.

“I strongly believe a comprehensive audit conducted by a credible organization such as the Bureau of State Audits would go a long way in providing clarity and transparency on the issue as well as allay concerns and build the public’s trust in the legislature’s ability to represent their best interests in Sacramento,” said Senator Mendoza.

“This request is not meant to delay, obstruct or otherwise impede the investigation against me or others but to ensure that political agendas, biases, disparate actions and other practices in either house do not vitiate the new processes that are being set up.”

Senator Mendoza believes the current system is not working for either the accusers, or the accused. The question of how both houses have handled this extremely serious issue has placed both the person affected by the harassment, and the person accused of the harassment in a dark place with secret investigations, poor record-keeping, lack of information, inconsistent treatment, secret settlements and an atmosphere of suspicion, doubt and unfairness.

“It is crucial that a public, credible audit of each Committees’ operations over the last two decades be conducted and concluded within sixty days of my request, so as to expeditiously clear the air and cleanse the atmosphere of any doubts and suspicions,” Mendoza continued. “It will allow both institutions to move forward with full knowledge of the flaws and advantages of the current systems in both houses.”

Currently, both houses have committed to installing new processes and procedures. However, neither house has sought to review its past record or to include the public in the creation of the new system. A thorough and credible audit of past practices and processes will assure members of both houses that an accurate assessment of the past will be the basis of the new system.

Senator Mendoza also noted that he had personal knowledge that the current Senate process does not presently work. He noted that he was never informed by the Senate Rules Committee that an allegation from a terminated employee about another non-terminated employee had occurred, and had in fact been closed after an investigation.

“Unfortunately, I first learned about the accusation via a media inquiry and asked the Senate Rules Committee about the allegation,” said Senator Mendoza.   “And, despite my willingness to offer full cooperation with a fair and through investigation, to this day, I have yet to receive any formal communication from the Committee regarding the allegation, the investigation, or the result.”

“Therefore, I would like to ensure that this incident not be repeated in the future, and that appropriate protocols and policies be implemented to protect both the accuser and the accused with a due process that is fair, thorough and expeditious.  I believe that members of both houses and the public will benefit and appreciate the transparency, thoroughness, and expediency of a system that works for all.”

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