San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has asked the city to cover his legal fees for a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to an agenda released by the city council.
The city council will convene in a special closed session on Tuesday night to discuss whether or not to pay for legal fees in a sexual harassment claim filed by Filner’s former employee Irene McCormack Jackson.
Jackson publicly came forward last week and alleged that Filner told her to “work without panties” and detailed other alleged acts of sexual harassment. Jackson called her experience working for the mayor “the worst time of my entire working life.”…
Filner has made the request that he should be defended under the city’s expense through a letter from his lawyer Harvey Berger. The letter stated that Filner should have the city pay for representation under California Government codes 825 and 995 – which deal with compensation and defense of public employees.
Sections 825 and 995 say that the public will pay the legal expenses of a public official if he’s being sued for something he did “within the scope of his employment.” E.g., if the police break down a suspect’s door and damage his property, because they were acting within the scope of their duties, the taxpayers will defend them from the suspect’s lawsuit. Filner seems to be arguing that “the scope of his employment” doesn’t refer to his official acts as mayor but rather to anything he does, no matter how sleazy, while he’s carrying out his official duties. E.g., if a lobbyist comes by to discuss the city budget and he grabs her ass, you’re on the hook for his legal bills because he was only meeting with her in the first place to talk about the budget, see? That’s what mayors do. They talk budgets. And grab asses.
The good news is, section 995 appears to give San Diego an out:
995.2. (a) A public entity may refuse to provide for the defense of a civil action or proceeding brought against an employee or former employee if the public entity determines any of the following:
(1) The act or omission was not within the scope of his or her employment.
(2) He or she acted or failed to act because of actual fraud, corruption, or actual malice.
Sexual harassment qualifies as “corruption,” I hope, in which case you don’t need to reach the question of what qualifies as the “scope of his employment.”
For selfish political reasons, I should be glad that this tool’s so deranged that he’d ask the public to pay his bills after admitting to having acted inappropriately and seeking “therapy” (but not resigning, of course). Let him be a thorn in the Democrats’ side forever. I’m not glad, though. Between Sanford, Weiner, Spitzer, and Filner, my tolerance for troubled pols clinging desperately to power has reached its limit. You would think, given that he’s trying to retain his office, that Filner would have the common sense/basic decency not to further antagonize the public by asking them to pick up his legal tab. Nope; this is his way of grabbing their ass too, simply because he can, regardless of how they might feel about it. He’s so remorseless, his friends are evidently preparing to upend the recall process by filing their own recall petition; if they refuse to seek signatures for it and the petition fails, it’ll be six months before anyone else can file one. That’s the degree of power-hunger we’re dealing with here. If we can’t have a government that works, can we at least have one with a lower quotient of arrogant sociopathy?
Exit quotation via the Hammer:
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) July 30, 2013