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Mayor's Response To Sexual Harassment Charges Criticized

OPB | July 1, 2013 5:36 p.m. | Portland

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A policy director for Mayor Charlie Hales has been suspended without pay for a week.

A city investigation found that policy director Baruti Artharee violated the city’s policies against sexual harassment.

Artharee has been under investigation for comments he made about the appearance of Multnomah County commissioner Loretta Smith, at a June 6 city event.

The report concludes that Artharee made similar comments about Commissioner Smith’s appearance on at least two previous occasions.

The mayor has responded by suspending Artharee for a week without pay.

That’s insufficient in the eyes of Commissioner Smith, and Portland city councilor, Nick Fish.

“Mr. Artharee is a senior official in the mayor’s office. He should know better. The fact that this has happened on more than one occasion is troubling to me. The punishment has to be tailored to the offense.”

Investigators found Artharee also broke city policy when he referred to himself as a “field Negro,” at the June 6event.

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