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Hanford City Councilman Censured After Sexual Harassment Claims by Employees

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The Hanford City Council censured City Councilman Art Brieno for sexual harassment of a city employee in a tension-packed meeting this week in which council members and the general public harshly criticized his conduct.

Brieno admitted mistakes but defended his right to question the employee’s actions toward his constituents.

The censure resolution—passed 4-1 with Brieno’s abstention— condemned Brieno’s conduct toward Community Development Director Darlene Mata.

The city is still facing a $1.25 million lawsuit from Mata and a new sexual discrimination lawsuit from former City Finance Director Paula Lofgren. The council rejected her initial claim which is routine in these kinds of cases.

As part of the censure, as of March 2 Brieno will be stripped of his committee assignments and will only be able to communicate with staff through the city manager.. Brieno will also have to undergo sensitivity training.

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