Local

Dec 31, 2013 11:33 AM by Erika Flores

Councilman Mike Zinkin denies sexual harassment allegations

TUCSON - A recall effort is underway in Oro Valley aimed at one city council member.

It was started by a community member now it is backed by the town mayor and several council members.

This all centers around town council member Mike Zinkin a retired air traffic controller.

The petition, filed by the Oro Valley Citizens for Ethical Government, states Zinkin's behavior is unbecoming of a public official.

It claims he has a complete lack of understand for public safety.

Several of his colleagues are embarrassed by his behavior. They said he's not a good representation of Oro Valley.

"It just got to the point where I think a lot of people say. It must be okay because the mayor has kept quiet on this thing, and I'm just not going to sit quiet anymore," said Mayor Satish Hiremath.

He said allegations of racial and sexual remarks are grounds for council member Mike Zinkin to be voted out of office.

"That's just not the kind of reflection that we want to have in the town of Oro Valley out of our elected officials," said Hiremath.

Zinkin said he believes Hiremath is speaking out against him for political gain.

"There's no other reason to do it. Why would you attack a sitting councilman?" said Zinkin.

He said there's no proof of inappropriate behavior.

"It's all hearsay," he said.

But council member Mary Snider said she's seen it. "As the sole female member on council, I think it's important to speak out that I want to protect the work environment for our female workers. They shouldn't feel that work isn't a safe place to come," said Snider.

When asked if she's seen Zinkin be inappropriate, Snider said, "Yes I have first-hand experience with that."

Zinkin's response:

"I don't have a comment on that because I don't know what she's talking about."

Snider said she couldn't elaborate because it happened during an executive session.

News 4 Tucson's Erika Flores asked Zinkin if he's ever sexually harassed a city employee he said, "No ma'am no ma'am."

Zinkin repeatedly denied the allegations and said the recall against him is uncalled for.

"I think what's going on is underhanded. It's not called for. It's a distraction to the town of Oro Valley," said Zinkin.

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