Sexual harassment among Pekin’s employees and officials has been taboo for years under city-issued guidelines. They’ve now been set aside.

In their place is a new, though parallel, policy instituted statewide that the City Council formally adopted Monday night.

With a unanimous vote, the council adopted the sexual harassment restrictions and penalties contained in a law the state amended in November.

All public entities in Illinois are now required to pass an ordinance or resolution establishing a policy barring sexual harassment as defined by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

“All prior existing sexual harassment policies of the City of Pekin shall be superseded” by the policies outlined in the state law, according to the new city ordinance.

It includes the state provision that persons found in violation of the policy, or who knowingly make a false accusation of harassment, may be subject to fines of up to $5,000 in addition to discipline or discharge by the city.

Anyone who intentionally files a false claim also can be criminally charged with filing a false report, similar to filing a false police report, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, according to the new ordinance.

The council on Monday also extended contracts for the city to provide school bus service to Grade School District 108 and Pekin Community High School District 303 through the 2019-20 school year.

The two-year agreement calls for District 108 to pay about $4.36 million to the city and for the high school district to pay about $2.58 million.

In its third unanimous vote, the council approved a $5,000 sponsorship to the Illinois High School Association in conjunction with its Boys Basketball State Tournament held in Peoria in March.

In exchange for the donation from the city’s hotel/motel tax fund, the IHSA will include Pekin in its marketing package to attract tournament visitors to the city’s hotels and restaurants.

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