Warren Buffet famously quipped, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” San Diego, California Mayor Bob Filner crushed his reputation when he recently “admitted” to the accusations of sexual harassment. However, even after claiming last week that he needed help, he made it clear that he has no intention of resigning. In fact, Filner is now requesting an investigation into the claims of sexual harassment. Some would argue that he “crushed” his reputation when he allegedly made the many decisions to sexually harass in the first place.
When rumors started spreading that Mayor Filner was sexually harassing female employees, the rumors soon reached the ears of former City Councilwoman Donna Frye. After several women bravely came forward with issues concerning the Mayor, Frye sent Filner a letter asking him to resign. Frye said that Filner is “tragically unsafe for any woman to approach.”
Though Filner has made no overt effort to resign, he is now seeking help. “I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me,” said Filner during a recent interview. Filner has failed to respect his employees, which has produced a hostile work environment. The first order of leadership is to provide a safe place to work, both physically and emotionally. How can the Mayor now expect their loyalty? And, employee relations issues shouldn’t be his only concern, the “court of public opinion” will render a verdict, in due time. Running the city will prove extremely challenging for Filner if his employees, coworkers and citizens lack the trust and respect he needs to competently do the job he was sworn to do.
Is it possible for Filner to address his issues while continuing to serve as Mayor of San Diego? It certainly seems this adjustment is going to be a struggle for Filner. All leaders have their own shortcomings to address, but sexual harassment is against the law.
If the allegations are true, which they seem to be based on the Mayor’s own comments, the Mayor must step down immediately. He should take some time to solely focus on his personal issues. After Filner works on himself, if he wishes to seek office in the future, the people will decide if he is fit for duty.
Image by TheINDEPENDANT