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Mayor Woodward cites ‘sexual harassment policy’ as cause of Perkins’ resignation

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(The Center Square) – “We are here today because of the courage of city employees who came forward, and their trust in me as a leader to do the right thing no matter the level of the organization or the cost,” began Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward during a press conference Friday attended by KREM addressing the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against City Administrator Johnnie Perkins.

Woodward had accepted Perkins’ resignation less than 24 hours prior, saying “There was evidence that the city administrator violated the city’s sexual harassment policy. The behavior detailed in the report is unacceptable, and today I accepted his resignation effective immediately.”

On June 23 Perkins was placed on administrative leave pending investigation into unspecified concerns from city employees.

Those unspecified concerns turned out to be sexual harassment allegations.

In an email to the Spokesman Review late Thursday afternoon Geoffrey Swindler, attorney for Perkins, “wrote that the former city administrator categorically denied the accusations.”

Woodward went on to say that the allegations stemmed from “intimate details” the former city administrator shared with city employees about a relationship he was involved in.

The conversations took place both inside and outside the workplace.

The city’s human resources department had opened an investigation into Perkins’ behavior early last month. That investigation involved interviewing city employees as well as several attempts to interview Perkins, but he was uncooperative.

The investigation was closed yesterday after Perkins tendered his resignation to the mayor citing “a recently diagnosed heart condition.”

The Mayor continued.

“The most important thing that I hope our employees, and the public take away from all of this, is that expectations regarding appropriate workplace conduct apply to everyone,” added Woodward before saying she would do her best to answer questions, but she was going to let the HR report speak for itself.

She did not have a timeline on releasing the HR report, other than saying it would be made available “as soon as possible.”

Outside council was retained for the investigation, but that investigation concluded with Perkins’ resignation.

Mayor Woodward added that former Parks Director Garrett Jones had been acting City Administrator since Perkins was placed on administrative leave, but has since been promoted to Interim City Administrator upon the approval of council.

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