City officials took over three months to report a discrimination complaint against City Councilmember José Huízar received in June and erroneously said the complaint was also about harassment and retaliation, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Bruce Whidden, a personnel department spokesman, told the newspaper that the delay occurred because agency staffers did not initially recognize that the complaint targeted an elected official.  

Under city law, the department must inform the mayor or the council president when it receives a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment against a city elected official, so that a panel can be convened to examine the allegations.

The complaint was received on the new MyVoiceLA website. Whidden said a letter sent to council president Herb Wesson only mentioned discrimination. Last month, Wesson instructed the department to convene a special panel to look into that complaint.

On Tuesday Whidden declined to identify the accuser or if the department had made contact with him or her. In a statement, Huizar emphasized that the complaint is “based solely on alleged discrimination.”

“I take this matter seriously and deny discriminating against any current or former staff members, and I look forward to a full, transparent and expeditious resolution,” the statement added.

 

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