Two Alexandria city employes have filed a formal complaint against the administrator of the city's Human Rights Commission and two former city officials, saying they did not properly investigate sexual harassment charges against a former city official.
Budget analyst Elizabeth McKenna and management analyst Patricia Enneking have asked for a formal hearing before the commission, alleging that Human Rights Administrator Stephen M. Levinson, former city manager Douglas Harman and former personnel director Robert Burnett violated the city's Human Rights Code in an attempt to keep the 1983 harassment charges quiet.
Neither Burnett nor Levinson could be reached for comment yesterday and McKenna and Enneking referred all questions to their attorney.
In the complaint, dated Feb. 28, Enneking and McKenna said they filed charges of sexual harassment against former city planning director Engin Artemal after a city conference in Williamsburg in October 1983.
Artemal could not be reached yesterday for comment.
The women's original complaints to Levinson also alleged that Harman and Deputy City Manager Bradford Hammer dismissed Artemal's behavior as not serious and the following day one of the officials referred to the incident in a joking manner.
"The acts of approval and encouragement, or at least the failure to condemn and reprimand the offending employe . . . constituted a failure . . . to protect Ms. Enneking and Ms. McKenna . . . from sexual harassment," the complaint said.
Levinson took their initial complaint to Burnett, then the city's personnel director, who treated them as adminstrative complaints under city regulations, according to the complaint. Under the city's Human Rights Code, Levinson should have investigated the case himself to see if there was probable cause to take it to the commission.
Harman, now city manager of Fort Worth, said yesterday that within a week of the filing of the original complaints, Artemal was reprimanded with a "financial penalty and an administrative sanction."
The women were not given written notification of the action taken against Artemal, according to their lawyer, Michael Leibig, though the code requires that they approve the action if their complaints were found to be justified.
In addition, the women were never notified of what, if anything, was done in regard to their complaints about the way they were treated by Harman and Hammer.
"Apparently there was some reference made by somebody, it was a sarcastic comment," Harman said yesterday. "Nobody can remember who said it."
According to Leibig, McKenna was told by Burnett that she might have to take a lie detector test as part of his investigation, but the test was never administered. In addition, both women were told by Burnett and Levinson they could be disciplined if they talked to others about the alleged incidents, their complaint states.
The women allege that the actions of Levinson, Burnett and Harman constituted "a planned effort to keep the incident quiet."
Leibig said that on Feb. 12, Levinson told him he had contacted Fort Worth officials "on his own initiative" to ensure that they were aware that Harman, then being considered for the Fort Worth job, "had never been involved in a sexual harassment complaint."
The women's complaint alleges that Levinson's call to Fort Worth was improper.
The women have asked the commission for access to records of investigations into their complaints, assurances that their careers have not been harmed and reimbursement for legal fees.
They also are asking for a revision of the Human Rights Code to ensure that harassment complaints are properly processed and to require the human rights administrator be excused from cases involving charges against the city manager or the manager's staff.