ECHO PARK — The city has suspended the operations of the Echo Park Neighborhood Council and frozen its funds after launching an investigation into claims of harassment between council board members.
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees neighborhood councils, said it has received a “number of complaints of harassment,” according to a letter sent to the Echo Park council this week. The department, known as DONE, said the City Attorney and even a third-party investigator may work on the harassment claims.
The nature of the alleged harassment between board members was not described. But DONE’s action was taken after a particularly contentious Echo Park council meeting last week, according to persons who attended. A video of that meeting was provided to the city.
The Echo Park Neighborhood Council is an elected, advisory body focused on community issues and projects. The Eastsider has contacted the council for a response to DONE’s actions.
The investigation could take months to complete, and, during that time, the Echo Park council board and committee operations will be suspended. In addition, council funds will be frozen except for ongoing monthly expenses, according to DONE. Department staff will run board meetings that will be focused on revising rules and regulations and election outreach.
“The goal is to keep the EPNC from falling behind on the 2016 election preparations during the investigation,” according to the DONE letter.
If measures to resolve complaints fail to work, DONE said it could take action to disband the Echo Park council.
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