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Redlands city manager discrimination investigation could take months, council to discuss appointing interim

Facing a federal discrimination case that could take months to resolve, the Redlands City Council is expected to discuss appointing an interim city manager when it meets next week.
The council put City Manager N. Enrique Martinez on paid administrative leave  Friday, Oct. 5, immediately after meeting in closed session to discuss a  federal discrimination claim  filed by a former human resources manager, and other related items.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Mayor Paul Foster notified the city he wanted to discuss the appointment of an interim city manager at the council’s Oct. 16 meeting. City offices were closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
“The logical next step was to appoint someone from current staff to oversee things as part of this team that we’re putting together to operate the city while the manager is on administrative leave,” said Foster. In the meantime, the mayor has offered to act as a liaison  between the council and department directors.
Foster has someone in mind for the job, he said, but is “not at liberty” to share that information.
The council placed Martinez on leave following a Sept. 17 federal claim filed by former human resources director Amy Hagan. In the claim, filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hagan says the city failed to put an end to sexual harassment by her supervisor, Martinez.
Hagan has said she left her position in February due to  harassment . She has been fighting with the city over medical insurance she contends she is owed. The city has rejected her interpretations of the benefit.
Joseph Olivares, a spokesman with the commission, said he could not discuss the particulars of the case.
In general, he said, after a charge is filed, the commission has 10 days to notify the employer. The city listed the notice of complaint on the agenda for the council’s Oct. 2 meeting.
“Once that happens, we proceed to try to mediate between both parties,” Olivares said. “If that does not work, we go out and investigate, interview, and so forth, depending on the particulars of the case.”

Related links

With Redlands city manager on leave, who is running the city?
Redlands places city manager on paid leave following sexual harassment complaint
Former Redlands human resources director files federal discrimination complaint
Redlands investigating sexual harassment claims against city manager
Former Redlands employee claims sexual harassment against city manager

The commission then makes a determination as to whether the discrimination claim is valid.
“If we believe it occurred, then we have the opportunity to either file a lawsuit or if not, we provide the person a notice of a right to sue, and they can file a lawsuit on their own,” Olivares said. Lawsuits, he added, are “typically a last resort.”
The length of the process varies widely, depending on the intricacies of each case. The process could take a month, six months, “or even longer,” Olivares said, and due to confidentiality rules, the commission won’t share its findings unless it files a lawsuit.
The next City Council meeting is set for Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the City Council Chambers, 35 Cajon St. Closed session begins at 5 p.m., and open session at 6.

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