Hartford City Council calls on council president to resign - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford City Council calls on council president to resign

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Following allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination, the Hartford City Council is calling for its council president to resign.

Earlier this week, Hartford City Council President Thomas “TJ” Clarke, and two other city employees, were accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by a former aide.

The city council president would be considered next in line for mayor if the current Mayor Luke Bronin were to be successful in his run for governor.

57-page complaint was filed against the city council president on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Channel 3 looked through his personnel file and found that it's not the first time he has been cited for inappropriate behavior.

The complaint names Clarke, City Clerk John Bazzano, and former council assistant Olga Colon.

The woman alleges she was discriminated against while working at City Hall because she is white.

In the complaint, she also details instances of sexual harassment and inappropriate text messages she says "Clarke,” the council president, sent her, including one she says she got as she left for vacation which read: “Have fun on your trip. Don't slip up and send me any see thru bikini pics."

The former aide's attorney Devaughn Ward said she brought the case to him after she left the city job in June.

According to his personnel file, this is not the first time Clarke has faced allegations of harassment. He had been cited in 2013 for touching someone who worked at City Hall, inappropriately. 

On Thursday, the Hartford City Council issued a statement that said “We on City Council have had an opportunity to discuss these matters of sexual harassment amongst ourselves: Trust has been broken, judgment called into question, and our ability to work together has been compromised. Based on the evidence presented to date, the conduct is unbecoming of an elected official, therefore we call for the Council President to resign from his leadership role. We further believe that it is in the best interest of the City and public trust if he steps down from Council. These recent events require a full examination of the City’s sexual harassment policies to ensure we are not condoning or permitting conduct which is unacceptable, and to ensure an environment where every employee feels safe and has the confidence and comfort level to bring complaints to the appropriate authority."

As of right now, Clarke has not commented on these allegations.

The minority leader, Wildaliz Bermudez said sexual harassment cannot be tolerated. 

"Given all the information that council has received, we came up with this choice together unanimously in our statement because we feel strongly about a no tolerance policy for city hall," Bermudez said.

Channel 3 will have more on this story starting at 5pm.

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