San Diego Mayor Filner refuses to resign, announces staff changes
SAN DIEGO -- Mayor Bob Filner, facing calls for his resignation amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members, said Monday morning that he will not resign.
“I’m not going to resign, and here’s why,” Filner said in a statement. “As your elected mayor, I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions.
“But as a citizen of this country, I also expect -- and am entitled to -- due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations. I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me.”
Although Filner last week admitted to treating women on his staff poorly, he stopped short of admitting to sexual harassment. He also promised to seek professional help, take a sexual harassment class, and apologize to women he may have offended.
Meanwhile, Filner’s ex-fiancee told KPBS radio in San Diego that Filner should resign and that she caught him making dates with other women and sending them sexually explicit emails. She added, however, that she does not know whether allegations of harassing his staff are true.
The former City Council member and two lawyers -- all former supporters of Filner -- who have called for Filner to resign have scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Monday in front of City Hall.
Last week, after Filner released a contrite video and admitted “I need help,” the trio rejected his plea as inadequate and hinted that they will release facts to back up their claims that he has been guilty of “reprehensible” behavior toward women.
In his statement, Filner said “the operations of city government will not be negatively impacted” by the controversy.
He announced the appointment of Walt Ekard as interim chief operating officer. Ekard, highly regarded by reporters and government officials, was the chief administrative officer for the county government.
He also named an assistant chief operating officer and a human resources director, moves meant to stabilize his staff management. Filner’s chief of staff resigned late Friday.
Several members of the City Council, Republicans and Democrats, have called on the 70-year-old Democrat to resign.
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