Shelby County mayor says he hasn’t read sexual harassment suit against county filed by corrections officer

Mayor says he hasn’t read sexual harassment suit against county filed by corrections officer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Controversy continues to swirl around Shelby County's embattled Director of Corrections, Anthony Alexander. A federal lawsuit recently filed against the county by a corrections employee makes claims of sexual harassment against Alexander and more.

Wednesday, Shelby County Commissioners weighed in.

“This is us standing with women, all women in Shelby County,” said Commissioner Tami Sawyer, “We take this seriously. That’s why this resolution is on the floor.”

A commission committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of a “high standard of conduct in the workplace and providing a work environment free of sexual harassment.” The resolution also “implores the county mayor’s administration to strictly enforce the county’s harassment policy.”

“You’ve got women on the commission from opposite ends of the political spectrum coming together and saying this is unacceptable,” said Commissioner Amber Mills.

Shelby County Commissioners passed a no confidence resolution in the county’s Director of Corrections, Anthony Alexander last November amid allegations Alexander lived in Tipton County, in violation of the Shelby County charter. There were also complaints he created a hostile work environment in corrections.

Commissioners have said County Mayor Lee Harris should let Alexander go. Harris declined to sign the no confidence resolution.

“It does fall to the mayor to make tough decisions as the CEO,” said Mark Billingsley, Chairman, Shelby County Commission, “He’s the guy who can hire and fire people.”

Last week, corrections officer Danecia Edwards filed a federal lawsuit against the county. Edwards claims Alexander made inappropriate comments about her body and committed unwanted sexual advances, and she was later retaliated against and disciplined.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said Wednesday he could not comment on the lawsuit and was not aware of its contents.

“We are not allowed to talk about litigation while it is ongoing. So, I haven’t read the complaint,” Harris said, “But if you get a copy of it, send it my way.”

Despite the controversy, Alexander remains actively employed with Shelby County Government.

Alexander is a 31-year county employee and makes more than $143,000 annually. A WMC Action News 5 review of his personnel file found no major issues.

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