November 7, 1997 in Nation/World

Codes Officer Fired After Being Accused Of Sex Harassment City Says Terry Clegg Also Tried To Interfere With Investigation

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The city of Spokane on Thursday fired the man who enforced its building codes, saying he sexually harassed a fellow employee and interfered with an investigation.

E. Terry Clegg, 68, was accused of patting a college intern on the but tocks and snapping her bra strap last May.

While those claims were being investigated, Clegg intimidated and coerced other employees he supervised in the code enforcement office, City Manager Bill Pupo said.

“Your actions have created a situation where the office staff is in terror of your possible actions,” Pupo said in a letter.

Clegg, a former city planning director, was placed on unpaid leave late last week and was formally notified of his termination Thursday.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Clegg said when reached at his Spokane Valley home.

He declined further comment and referred questions to his attorney, Jeffry Finer, who did not return telephone calls.

Clegg earned about $58,000 a year.

At City Hall, Pupo said Clegg “was terminated for violations of the city’s policies.”

Pupo didn’t elaborate other than to say the sexual harassment involved a former city employee.

The firing is the second major personnel action involving city supervisors in two weeks.

On Oct. 23, Pupo placed Phil Williams, the city engineering and planning services director, on paid administrative leave.

Williams, who was Clegg’s supervisor, is accused of having an affair with a scientist who has a $300,000 contract to study the city’s trash plant.

Clegg is believed to be the highest ranking Spokane city official to be fired after being accused of sexual harassment.

Assistant City Manager Dorothy Webster, who oversees city personnel matters, released a copy of the letter firing Clegg to The Spokesman-Review.

Clegg was suspended without pay for six weeks in 1995 for “very similar behavior” involving another woman, the letter said.

After the episode, Clegg signed a “last chance agreement” with the city. He promised “to never again engage in this kind of behavior,” the letter said.

That agreement notified Clegg “that you would be fired if you ever again engaged in any kind of sexually harassing behavior or ever tried to deceive the City about it,” the letter said.

“It is clear that you have done both of those,” Pupo said in the termination letter.

The alleged misconduct occurred in City Hall, beginning on May 23.

Clegg also is accused of asking the intern to accompany him to a dinner party in June. She refused, but he renewed the request a few days later.

During an investigation of those claims, city officials learned of similar conduct by Clegg since 1995, the letter says.

“You have been observed doing other similar acts with other female employees ever since your last disciplinary action in February 1995, thus creating an environment that is not conducive to a comfortable working environment,” the letter said.

A hearing for Clegg was conducted Oct. 17.

At the hearing, Clegg denied touching the woman or asking her to accompany him alone to a dinner party.

The letter said Clegg’s attorney hired a private investigator who interviewed the woman and found her to be believable.

“In the city’s interviews with the female intern, she also appeared to be very credible and believable,” the letter said.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: THE ALLEGATIONS E. Terry Clegg, 68, fired by the city after being accused of: Patting a department intern on the buttocks and snapping her bra strap. Intimidating and coercing other employees he supervised while claims were being investigated.

This sidebar appeared with the story: THE ALLEGATIONS E. Terry Clegg, 68, fired by the city after being accused of: Patting a department intern on the buttocks and snapping her bra strap. Intimidating and coercing other employees he supervised while claims were being investigated.


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