Puyallup mayor accepts sanction
The City of Puyallup last month spent $1,700 to provide one-on-one human resources training to Mayor Rick Hansen after a complaint about “unwelcome contact” with a city employee.
City Manager Ralph Dannenberg declined Friday to describe the incident beyond saying it took place in April at City Hall. He cited advice from city attorneys in declining to detail the complaint.
Hansen said Friday he did not know which employee made the complaint or exactly what behavior caused it. The employee raised the complaint to the city’s Human Resources Department and chose to remain anonymous.
“Staff talked to me about stuff I need to pay attention to, and that was resolved some time ago,” Hansen said.
Dannenberg on May 16 wrote a memo to Hansen that said female city employees had raised concerns about “boundary issues.”
Dannenberg investigated the complaint and learned of an “alleged incident of unwelcome contact that was witnessed” by other people.
The memo, obtained by The News Tribune this week through a public records request, says the city has policies against harassment and discrimination.
The memo does not explicitly describe the complaint, but it says: “The city cannot tolerate conduct of this type.”
In June, Hansen attended one-on-one training with an outside contractor.
He said he was glad the employee spoke up.
“I’m certainly sorry if I did something that bothered someone like that. You just need to be careful,” he said Friday.
Hansen is in his fifth consecutive year on the City Council. He also served eight years on the council during the 1980s. This is his first year as the city’s appointed mayor.
Dannenberg said the city does not have further sanctions planned, and his range of options is limited anyway. Hansen is an elected official, not a Puyallup employee whom Dannenberg could punish or fire for violating city policies.