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Former Idaho Controller employee settles harassment case

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho State Controller's Office has agreed to settle with a former employee who said she was sexually and racially harassed by a supervisor while State Controller Brandon Woolf allowed the harassment to continue. Former employee Lourdes Matsumoto's attorney announced Thursday the settlement includes an $83,000 cash payment, as well as agreeing not to rehire Woolf's Chief of Staff Dan Goicoechea. The original seven-page tort claim — filed in September — claimed Goicoechea engaged in abusive language and violent acts in conversations involving Matsumoto and other individuals. Goicoechea resigned from the Controller's office earlier this year to become deputy for governmental affairs for the Idaho State Department of Education. He then resigned the day the tort claim was filed. The Controller's office said they were still preparing a response when contacted by The Associated Press.

UPDATE: State Controller Brandon Woolf has issued this statement:

The Idaho State Controller’s Office has reached a settlement that satisfies both parties in regard to the tort claim filed on September 18, 2017. The Office has agreed to terms to improve processes and procedures within the office. In reaching a settlement, the State Controller’s Office is not admitting liability but acknowledging a desire by all parties to swiftly address this situation, and to improve moving forward.

“As a leader, the responsibility to set the tone for our team and environment ultimately rests with me. I believe everyone must be treated with respect and valued for their hard work, and any form of workplace harassment or behavior that makes anyone uncomfortable is not acceptable,” said Controller Brandon Woolf. “We recognize that strong policies and procedures are not enough; everyone must also feel safe and empowered to bring concerns forward. Like all workplaces across our nation right now, we are looking at what we can do to be better. Our office is embracing the opportunity to improve our trainings, our communication with our employees, and in holding people accountable for their actions. We acknowledge that this has been difficult for everyone involved, and it is our hope that a settlement allows all parties to move forward.”

You can read the full story here at spokesman.com.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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