July 1, 2013
Statement of Commissioner Nick Fish Concerning Baruti Artharee
I respectfully disagree with the mayor’s decision to issue a one week suspension to Baruti Artharee for violating the City’s anti-harassment policy.
The City has a zero tolerance policy against workplace harassment and discrimination. I served as Council sponsor of the City’s current policy, HRAR 2.02, which is intended to be stricter than state and federal law.
The investigative report released by the mayor today finds that Mr. Artharee violated HRAR 2.02 and 5.01(9) when he made sexually suggestive and demeaning comments about County Commissioner Loretta Smith at a public event held on June 6, 2013.
Mr. Artharee occupies a senior position of trust in the mayor’s office, serving as public safety coordinator. He was representing the mayor at the time that he disrespected Commissioner Smith in a public setting. The report finds that he engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct.
2.02 requires the City to investigate complaints and to issue appropriate corrective action. I believe a one week suspension fails to send a strong enough message that workplace harassment will not be tolerated, and that all employees of the city, regardless of their position, are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.