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Council Gets Update on Hernandez Investigation

October 28, 1998

Meeting behind closed doors, the Los Angeles City Council received an update Tuesday on an internal investigation of a sexual harassment complaint against City Councilman Mike Hernandez.

An independent committee, created by the council, convened for the first time over the summer to examine the complaint lodged against the councilman by one of his female employees.

The committee ordered an investigation into the allegations and that report is nearly complete, city officials said.

The City Council established the so-called Special Committee on Investigative Oversight two years ago after sexual harassment charges were made against Councilman Nate Holden.

Left unclear in the ordinance, however, was how the committee would deal with investigations. As a result, the council indicated Tuesday that the panel should review the investigation and offer its reactions to the council, according to city officials.

The report will later come to the City Council for review and any possible action, those sources said.

Hernandez, who has battled alcohol and drug addictions since his arrest on a felony cocaine possession charge in August 1997, did not attend Tuesday's closed session at the request of the personnel department.

The committee consists of two former judges--a man and a woman--and two law school professors--also of both sexes--and one member of the American Arbitration Assn. The investigation was conducted by an outside firm hired by the panel and the city.

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