In addition to a proposal to roll back the length of the mayoral term of John Duran, the West Hollywood City Council on Tuesday will consider requiring recipients of city funding and grants to have appropriate sexual harassment policies in place.
The item, brought forward by Councilmember John Heilman, comes in the wake of allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct by Jonathan Weedman, the executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and by Duran, who chairs the GMCLA. Both have denied the allegations, however the GMCLA board has not renewed Weedman’s contract, and Duran, a long-time chair of the board, has said he will step down at the end of its season this summer.
Heilman’s item also asks the City Attorney to meet with the leadership of GMCLA “to make sure the organization has appropriate policies and procedures related to reporting and investigating sexual harassment complaints.”
And it asks the City Attorney to “incorporate into upcoming ethics trainings a discussion about ethical issues which may arise when Councilmembers, Commissioners and Board Members serve on boards of outside organizations.”
“The City ordinarily should not involve itself with the inner workings of an agency, even one which receives City funding,” says a memo to the Council. “The agencies typically have their own human resources departments, their own legal counsel and their own boards of directors. However, GMCLA is unique in that it receives city funding through an arts grant and also has a councilmember who serves on the board. For this reason, it is important for the City Attorney to ensure that GMCLA has appropriate policies and procedures for handling harassment complaints.”
Duran’s position on the GMCLA board has raised concerns in the past because major developers with business before the city and city contractors have become donors to GMCLA. For example, cannabis companies began donating to the organization as the city was evaluating applicants for cannabis licenses.
The City Council has declined to adopt policies that would bar council members from serving on non-profit boards, with opposition from both Duran and Heilman. However, the Los Angeles City Council is considering such a ban given allegations of illegal behavior by several of its Council members involving charities that they are associated with.
The proposal to roll back the length of Duran’s term as mayor is a recension of a decision earlier this month to extend the term from May to September. That decision was made as part of a realignment necessary because future elections will occur on the state general election date in November.