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Council News Release

10/30/2006  1:54:00 PM

Council President Nick Licata

Council President fulfills pledge to make public the report that found no basis to for the charges of discrimination in the Legislative Department

SEATTLE Today Council President Nick Licata fulfilled his pledge to release the reports on the charges of discrimination in the Citys Legislative Department. As elected officials and employers, the Council must respect the publics right to open government while also protecting employees legitimate privacy rights, said Council President Licata. I believe the Council has successfully found a way to meet these concerns in this case.

Since the first request by a media organization for a copy of the reports, Council President Licata has steadfastly insisted that the reports should be released after the complainants and the subjects of the complaints had a chance to review the reports and choose whether to contest their release in a court of law. Said Council President Licata, I am pleased that no one contested the release of the reports, and they are currently available in response to public disclosure requests.

In January 2006, shortly after Licata became City Council President several employees approached him with allegations about racial discrimination and a hostile work environment within the 85-member Legislative Department, the only city department that works directly for the Council. Although these complaints only involved a couple managers and none were directed at City Councilmembers or their Legislative Assistants, Council President Licata took them very seriously. Council President Licata initiated a thorough, independent investigation by the MFR Law Group, a highly respected law firm that deals with matters of employment discrimination and has worked throughout the United States with clients from various industries.

MFR looked at over 30,000 pieces of paper and interviewed 58 peoplesome more than once for a total of over 85 interviews. The MFR group had full access to all four divisions of the Legislative Department: the City Council, the City Clerks Office, the Central Staff, and the Administrative Division. The MFR teams extensive investigation found no evidence of racial or ethnic discrimination in employment matters in the Legislative Department. The MFR team also found no evidence that there is a hostile work environment in the Legislative Department. The MRF team did, however, find that there were perceptions of unfairness and communication deficiencies that the Legislative Department is taking steps to address.

Its important that all Seattleites know that the Councilmembers will not tolerate any form of workplace discrimination. I am very pleased to make the MFR Law Groups report public to demonstrate how seriously we take complaints of discrimination, said Council President Licata.

Members of the public or the media may make a public disclosure request for the reports by sending an email to Ms. Denise Williams, Administrative Director, Legislative Department, that states, This is a request under the Revised Code of Washington 42.17, the Washington Open Public Records Act, for the reports on the investigation into allegations of racial discrimination and a hostile work environment in the Legislative Department. Ms. Williams can make the reports available for review or they can be reproduced for 15 cents per page plus postage if the requester wants the documents mailed.


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