One San Diego County Supervisor said there is not much he can say about key personnel leaving his office and closed-door meetings about a possible settlement with a former employee.
County sources have confirmed with NBC 7 Investigates there have been talks about giving one former employee in Supervisor Dave Roberts' office a $75,000 settlement.
“There is nothing I can share on this,” Roberts said in an interview Tuesday. “It's just one of those allegations that is floating out there."
Last week, NBC 7 Investigates was there when Roberts and his colleagues adjourned a public meeting to talk in private about how to handle what was referenced as a potential lawsuit.
It was the second closed-door meeting prompted by the departure of Glynnis Vaughan, Roberts' former chief of staff. In that meeting, the board did not reach an agreement on a settlement with Vaughan.
A former Roberts staffer and other sources told NBC 7 Investigates Vaughan strongly disagreed with Roberts' decision to hire and promote Harold Meza, a former Starbucks barista.
According to documents and county sources, Meza first worked as Roberts' driver. He now serves in Roberts' office as a staff assistant.
Roberts said Meza interned with his office for 11 months and joined the staff last July.
“He’s responsible for the Mira Mesa community and he has other staff duties,” Roberts said. “He also spends a lot of time out in the field district.”
Neither Vaughan nor Meza have responded to our attempts to reach them.
Roberts said the county has rules in place to deal with situations like this.
“If there are any allegations anyone wants to make, they go through a process,” Roberts said. “The allegations are reviewed, and if there is substance to them, actions are taken, and if there is no substance, the case is closed out.”
Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates through the California Public Records Act show what appears to be an excessive amount of staff turnover in Roberts office.
Since the beginning of this year, seven of Roberts' 11 staff members are no longer working in his office. In the last three weeks, Roberts has also had three different people in his chief of staff position: Vaughan, Lindsey Masukawa and Melvin Millstein.
Click here to read Vaughan's resignation letter.
According to a memo obtained from the county, Millstein will receive an annual salary of $151,008 and began serving as Roberts' chief of staff on April 15.
“I think he (Millstein) will be a great chief of staff,” Roberts said. “All my staff is doing a phenomenal job, and I’m just really pleased they’re doing a phenomenal job.”
The closed session meetings are closed to the public because they involve “exposure to significant liability” to the county and taxpayers. The county’s five supervisors, county attorney and CAO are allowed to be present at the closed-door meetings. The public learns about the results only if action is taken, which usually consists of an agreement to pay money to settle an existing or threatened lawsuit.
County spokesman Michael Workman said the county will not be commenting because it is a personnel matter. It has been responding to and answering our requests for documents, emails and other records through state open record requests.
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