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City and county officials want mandated sexual harassment training

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MADISON (WKOW) --- Sexual harassment training is being talked about for lawmakers, including Madison city alders. Dane County board officials also want all members and staff to go through similar training.

“With the national conversation squarely focused on sexual harassment, it's no surprise that city and county officials want to implement a mandated code of conduct.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the matter at their next meeting later this month. Currently supervisors are not required to attend such training.

Under a resolution to be sponsored by Supervisor Shelia Stubbs, sexual harassment training will be mandatory for all supervisors, staff, and interns.

"I'm hoping the county executive Joe Parisi will be open to this as well and be able to work it from the perspective of all county employees. And perhaps have a training offered quarterly,” Stubbs said. “And perhaps have a training offered quarterly so will be able to have a rotation. And I suspect that we should be able to get all county employees trained within two years if it’s on a quarterly basis.”

Stubbs said its important that the board to take a leadership position on the issue.

“I think it’s very important because our constituents are trusting us. We are supposed to value the vote and vote their value. And if this is an important conversation for our community, but it should be an important conversation for government. And I am one of those supervisors who listens to my constituents.”

An attempt by Mayor Paul Soglin and Alder Paul Skidmore to mandate sexual harassment training for Common Council members failed in 2015.

But Skidmore said the idea is gaining traction again down at City Hall, so he plans to try again.

“I’m in favor of having all city employees, including elected officials, city alders, be subject to the administrative rules that all other employees have to adhere to. And that’s on prohibited discrimination, sexual harassment, code of conduct and such,” Skidmore said. “ I brought that up two years ago and it was defeated. I was the only one who supported it. I want to bring it back. It’s a very important topic. And it’s very timely now. It was timely then, but now it’s getting publicity. And I think it’s time that we bring this forward and we approve it.

The common council is no stranger to sexual harassment controversy. In 2010, an alder was accused of alleged sexual harassment against a staffer.

"This person wanted to file a claim, but found out that she could not because there was no mechanism to do this,” Skidmore said.

Alder Skidmore said he plans to bring his resolution forward in January. Supervisor Stubbs plans to introduce her resolution at their next meeting on December 21st.

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