The full Council will decide whether or not to impose the sanctions in a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The Council has never considered such a matter before.Jennings could have faced expulsion, but the Standards and Ethics Committee voted 7-0 to impose the lesser penalties after deliberating for seven hours. The Jamaica councilman, who is up for re-election this fall, will also be stripped of all committee posts and must allow an outside monitor to observe him and his staff, the Council source said. The recommendations came after Jennings was accused by several women either on his staff or associated with the Council of misconduct. In a report released Tuesday, the committee found that he created a hostile work environment for two employees, improperly fired one of the staffers after she complained about sexual harassment and improperly used public resources by making one of them clean his house and perform other domestic chores.In creating a hostile work environment, the committee gave credence to complaints by two of Jennings' employees that he made unwanted sexual overtures to them and touched them in inappropriate places, slamming on the brakes when they were driving together, for example, so he would have an excuse to touch their legs and breasts.After Jennings' advances were rejected, the staffers said he called black women "bitches" that were too "finicky" and did not have their act together, according to the report.Jennings responded to the charges with a blanket denial in testimony before the committee and said he was the target of a conspiracy by the Queens County Democratic Organization, which he said wanted him "dead."Until the April 20 vote, Council members are not allowed to publicly discuss the case. Jennings and his lawyer, Robert Ellis of Manhattan, could not be reached for comment.Both the councilman and his attorney had said earlier the five accusers were not attractive enough to grab the lawmaker's attention, proving his innocence. Jennings and Ellis have also complained that the councilman's rights have been violated since the committee meetings were held behind closed doors and the lawmaker was not allowed to speak publicly about the case.The misconduct charges are only the latest controversy for the Jamaica councilman. During his first term, he was removed from the Finance Committee because he opposed a compromise on a property tax hike and came under attack for releasing the names of undercover officers. He also placed ads in two Chinese-language newspapers detailing his relationships with his former wife and another Asian woman.In his second term, he lost his seat on the Council's Civil Service and Labor Committee and faced a Campaign Finance Board lawsuit. Jennings also threw a piece of metal at a Fox 5 news reporter in January. The Jamaica councilman has not officially said whether he will run again, but he will not be prohibited from doing so by the charges against him.Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.