Rosselló demands O’Neill’s immediate resignation
SAN JUAN — Governor Ricardo Rosselló requested the immediate resignation of Guaynabo mayor Héctor O’Neill, after the municipal leader announced on Sunday he would not resign his post due to allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
According to Puerto Rico’s chief executive, the mayor’s explanation does not comply with the requirements he established on Saturday, in which he gave O’Neill 24 hours to clarify the circumstances surrounding the alleged $300,000 settlement for the sexual harassment lawsuit, including where the mayor obtained the funds for said settlement. To the governor’s understanding, O’Neill did not comply with that requirement.
“Faced with this situation, I request Héctor O’Neill to immediately present his resignation as mayor of Guaynabo so as to prevent greater problems for him, the municipal government, and his family,” declared Rosselló in written statements.
In addition to his resignation, the governor requested O’Neill to resign of all leadership roles in the New Progressive Party (NPP), including the presidency of the Puerto Rico Mayors Federation, stressing the importance of all public officials in his government to meet with an ethical standard.
“It is the responsibility of any public official to comply with the strictest ethical norms while performing their functions and in their personal lives. The public policy of our administration does not tolerate improper conduct toward women, nor infringement of the Law,” he stated.
For his part, the mayor told the press that allegations made against him are mere efforts to tarnish his image. On his position, O’Neill affirmed that Guaynabo residents elected him “fairly” to a fifth term, which is why he refuses to resign.
According to a report by Telemundo, O’Neill settled a lawsuit for sexual harassment against a police officer that was presented before the U.S. Labor Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition to the $300,000 settlement, the officer reportedly was returned to her supervisory management role, from which she had been removed prior to presenting her complaint.
Reports of the lawsuit had been publicized before the November 8 general elections, but was dismissed by some as an attempt to harm the mayor’s reelection campaign, who came triumphant the ballots and continued his role as municipal executive.