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Brooklyn Park City Council expected to censure member after harassment complaint

2 March 2022

The Brooklyn Park City Council on Monday directed the city manager to prepare a resolution that would formally censure City Council Member Boyd Morson for violating the city’s Respectful Workplace Policy and Elected Officials’ Code of Conduct.

Monday’s action came after an investigation launched by the city in January found that Morson aggressively communicated by email to a female city employee and subjected her to some level of “unwanted physical contact,” according to highly redacted documents released by the city.

The City Council is expected to vote on a formal censure at its meeting on Monday, a city spokeswoman said.

“The people of Brooklyn Park — our residents, business owners, and city staff — expect their Mayor and City Council to govern the city with the highest degree of professionalism,” Mayor Lisa Jacobson said in a statement. “We took steps that may lead to the censure of a council member due to the violation of the City’s Respectful Workplace Policy and the Elected Officials’ Code of Conduct. I and my City Council colleagues will continue to work to ensure a safe and welcoming workplace for all.”

A call to Morson seeking comment was not returned.

According to the complaint, an investigation started after the employee said Morson stood behind her, bent over her chair and whispered into her ear while rubbing the back of her shoulders and neck. The employee documented the encounter in an email she sent to herself, the report said.

“I want the physical contact at the meeting documented in the event that it should continue or there should be additional threats made against me,” the employee wrote in the email. “This behavior is not welcome or appreciated. It is inappropriate.”

The employee later met with the human resources department and said she feared Morson would retaliate against her when he found out about the complaint.

Mayor Jacobson notified Morson about the complaint on Jan. 27.

Morson, who joined the council in 2021 and represents the Central District, was trained on respectful workplace principles, including the prohibition against harassment and unwelcome physical touch during new council member orientation in January 2021. He was bound to abide by the Code of Conduct, which states elected officials are to treat city employees professionally and thaT “belligerent, personal, impertinent, slanderous, threatening, abusive, or disparaging comments” against employees are prohibited.

Morson, whose term ends in 2024, declined to be interviewed about the case, according to the city report.

Under the resolution being drafted, Morson would be removed from all committees, commissions, task forces and board assignments. All his communication must flow through the city manager except for matters concerning the Economic Development Authority, which he can take directly to the executive director. All of Morson’s e-mails and public statements and social media posts with staff members, the mayor and colleagues must be professional and no longer threatening, abusive or disparaging.

Morson will be allowed to attend various trainings, the resolution will state.

This post was originally published on this site

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