Philly controller reviewing city payouts to settle sexual harassment claims

Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart is auditing the city's payouts to settle claims of sexual harassment.  (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart is auditing the city's payouts to settle claims of sexual harassment. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s city controller is taking a look at city payouts in sexual harassment cases.

In the wake of several complaints directed at city officials, Controller Rebecca Rhynhart also said she wants a comprehensive review of the way city government handles such allegations.

“What’s gone on in the sheriff’s office, with two women coming forward with accusations of sexual harassment against the sheriff?” she said Wednesday. “In addition, the city settling related to the police department’s sexual assault case related to an employee in the police department.”

Rhynhart said the review was prompted by several concerns.

“The main one is safety of the city workers and making sure the workplace is efficient and effective as possible, which means that people feel safe in the workplace,” she said. “The other thing is the payouts, the financial liability.”

Going forward, Rhynhart said she’d like to see a standard protocol on reporting harassment that would apply across all departments.

“There should be a city procedure for that, like many other corporations and entities have,” she said. “I think the policies and procedures as they stand now, many departments are just reporting into their own department and not centrally.”

A report is expected in about 90 days.

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