Fillmore City Manager Stan Greene has asked for a 60-day delay in an administrative hearing scheduled for the end of this month concerning charges that he sexually harassed female City Hall employees.
The City Council requested the hearing, which was set for Tuesday and Wednesday, through the state Office of Administrative Hearings to review the charges against Greene.
But Greene's attorney, Philip Cohen of Camarillo, said he did not receive a written list of the charges until Aug. 9 and requested the delay to give him time to prepare his case.
The 12 charges involving four female employees mainly include allegations that Greene touched the women on their necks, backs and shoulders. However, two of the complaints allege that he made sexual advances to City Clerk Noreen Withers.
In a written response to the charges, Greene, 52, said all the allegations against him were motivated by revenge for a reprimand to Withers that was never delivered. He released his statement last week, along with a written list of charges describing specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment signed by Mayor Gary Creagle.
Greene also has asked the administrative court to disqualify the city's attorney, Paul M. Ostroff, from arguing the case at the hearing, due to a conflict of interest.
Ostroff is with the Los Angeles firm of Liebert, Cassidy & Frierson, which advises the city on labor and employment matters. He investigated the allegations for the City Council and advised the council members to seek an administrative hearing. But Greene said Ostroff also acts as an adviser to him, which should disqualify him from arguing the case.
"To allow counsel to prosecute . . . would be to make a mockery of the attorney-client privilege," noted Cohen in his request to disqualify Ostroff.
Cohen said that, on the advice of Ostroff, Greene did not deliver a written reprimand to Withers stating that she had neglected her duties.
No Response Yet
Ostroff said his firm received the motion last Friday but has not yet responded to it.
The list of charges against Greene released late last week contained 15 separate incidents regarding alleged sexual harassment. The list has since been revised to 12 incidents, involving Withers, accounting clerk Barbara Adams, planning secretary Linda Nash and receptionist Beverly Brisby.
Withers, Adams and Nash have filed complaints against Greene with the City Council and with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In addition, Adams and Nash have filed $500,000 complaints against the city. But Brisby has not filed a complaint with the city or the state.
Withers denied that her complaint against Greene had anything to do with the threatened reprimand.
"I certainly wouldn't go to such an extent if somebody was criticizing my work," Withers said.
Greene said that on the whole, he feels publication of the charges vindicate him.
He said that when he saw what specifically was being alleged, "it supported my statements earlier that once the charges were heard, the people would think that they were laughable." He added, "I feel vindicated."
But Greene declined to comment on charges that he made sexual advances toward Withers. When asked about the incidents in which he touched the female employees, Greene said it was part of his management style in trying to make people feel good about their jobs and being part of a team.
"I'm an affectionate person," he added. "I've never gone for sexual body parts, but I've gone for the norm, arms or backs, as a friendly person."
But, Withers said, the list includes only a few instances of Greene's alleged sexual harassment that she related to the city's attorneys. In response to Greene's assertion that he only touched women in non-sexual areas to be friendly, Withers said, "When a woman tells you not to touch you and you continue, it's sexual harassment."