TAMPA (WFLA) – There are new calls for Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes to resign in the wake of a report outlining allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Documents released by the City of Tampa show an investigation into Gudes conduct was started in August of 2021 when a former aide to Gudes came forward to make a series of allegations about comments he made to her. The investigation was conducted by an outside law firm and relied on an interview with the aide, Councilman Gudes and several witnesses.
The report says there was no evidence of sexual advances, requests for sex or touching. However, the report says investigators did find credible evidence there was a hostile working environment by comments and conduct, which a reasonable person of your sex would find offensive.
City Councilman Luis Viera issued a statement Tuesday saying “No person who behaves with women as is detailed in this report should hold public office, much less chair city council”.
USF Professor Emeritus Darryl Paulson says this incident and the recent resignation of John Dingfelder, coupled with the controversy over the appointment of Police Chief Mary O’Connor, makes the city look bad.
“It’s beginning to look like you’ve got the dirty dozen in the City of Tampa. I mean you’ve got two council members and the chief of police who have been involved in questionable actions in the very recent past,” said Paulson.
Two weeks ago, Tampa City Councilman Bill Carlson charged that he, Gudes and Dingfelder were being targeted for their criticism of Mayor Castor’s appointment of O’Connor. Carlson was not available to talk about the situation with Gudes on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Mayor Castor denied any allegations of targeting council members.
“The difficulties facing chairman Gudes and former Council member Dingfelder are the result of their own actions. Mr. Dingfelder resigned after public records requests revealed he may have used his public position for his own private gain. Chairman Gudes’ own employee accused him of pervasive abuse and harassment, and a thorough, independent, and objective investigation by an outside attorney concluded that the employee’s complaints about a hostile work environment probably are true. These isolated cases in no way reflect the city council as a whole, nor the ability of the administration and city council to continue working collaboratively on behalf of Tampa residents in every neighborhood.”