MONMOUTH — Monmouth city staff was directed by councilors at the June 4 meeting to plan on all-staff sexual harassment prevention training.
When that will happen depends on employee schedules and availability of training, said Janet Chenard, finance director.
She expects it to be within the next several months.
The subject of sexual harassment prevention training came up during a discussion of Monmouth’s annual risk management report.
“We have a lot of job-specific trainings, I’m assuming that we have...sexual harassment and sexual abuse training,” said Councilor Jon Carey to Chenard.
“I couldn’t agree with you more Councilor Carey,” she responded. “We don’t have an HR manager. City Manager (Scott) McClure wears that hat as do department heads. We have not, in the two years that I’ve been here, done those trainings.”
She said she believed the police department did some training in that area.
“But we haven’t done an all-staff training of that nature, and it’s been on my list,” Chenard said.
Carey said he hoped the other councilors would join in him suggesting that be addressed immediately.
“I would submit that that is a very high exposure,” he said. “One of the defenses against that kind of thing is the training that’s been provided. Without training provided, we’re exposed.”
Chuck Thurman, superintendent of Monmouth Power and Light, was filling in for McClure at the meeting. Thurman said his staff receives training.
“I will state that through Northwest Power Association, they do have many webinars or computer-based training that we’ve taken advantage of,” Thurman said. “We don’t call it sexual harassment training. It’s harassment prevention training. We can easily make that available to the rest of the city.”
Chenard said individual staff members have access to certain trainings, but the city hasn’t done a “comprehensive all-city training.”
Carey said the training “needs to be an institutional commitment.”
Councilor Byron Shinkle said Carey was “reading (his) mind.”
“What the training can also do is mitigate damages once something comes up and if something does happen, the court looks at it and says, ‘OK you’ve taken some steps here,’” Shinkle said.
Chanard said all of the city’s supervisors attend a lot of training related to this issue.
“We’ve been doing the research with City County Insurance Services,” Chenard said. “We have individual trainings. Each department head offers individual trainings as appropriate.”