The San Diego County Board of Supervisors reassured taxpayers Monday that any legal settlement made with former employees of Supervisor Dave Roberts will be paid from Roberts’ “personal funds and not taxpayer dollars.”
That assurance is the first official confirmation that personnel problems in Roberts’ office could result in some sort of legal settlement involving payment to one or more of former Roberts’ staffers.
NBC 7 Investigates previously reported former Chief-of-Staff Glyniss Vaughan and scheduler Diane Porter both complained that Roberts’ office was a “hostile workplace." NBC 7 Investigates has also confirmed both women have retained attorneys and are considering filing legal claims against the county.
According to documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates, at least eight staffers have left the supervisor's office since January.
The county memo notes that “allegations have been made by multiple staff members in (Roberts') office that are concerning." The supervisors’ memo says that “due to threats of litigation, we are unable to disclose or comment on the details of the allegations,” but confirms that “an internal investigation has been conducted” and “the work environment within [Roberts’] offices need[s] to be addressed.”
Read the full statement from the County Board of Supervisors below or click here.
The memo also confirms an NBC 7 Investigates story that detailed how Roberts shared confidential information from an April 14 closed session meeting of the supervisors. The memo says Roberts’ violated the state regulations and acted “inappropriately” by disclosing the results of a closed session vote to former Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.
In an email from Roberts' newest Chief of Staff Mel Millstein, Roberts said, "My predecessor asked me a specific question about a media report. I responded directly to her question. I now understand that I should not have responded. I am human, I made a mistake and I apologize."
The memo attempts to clarify what happened in that closed session meeting. It says the vote “was not related to whether or not the Board of Supervisors believed the allegations [made by former Roberts’ staffers] to be true or false.”
Instead, the supervisors now say their vote concerned “whether or not taxpayer money should be used to resolve issues resulting solely from the actions of one Supervisor and multiple staff members he hired and managed.”
In an email, Roberts said he agreed no taxpayer dollars should be used. "I am in complete agreement that the San Diego County taxpayers should not be liable for issues arising from personnel issues in the District 3 office."
“The Board of Supervisors stands united in their belief that whatever issues occurred in the District 3 offices, should be dealt with by the Supervisor,” the memo says. “If any money is to be paid to any of his former staff members, it should be paid from his personal funds and not taxpayers dollars.
Roberts said, "at no time during my time in office has service to my constituents been impacted. We are proud of the high level of service and accessibility we provide to the residents of the 3rd District."
Full statement from the County Board of Supervisors:
Allegations have been made by multiple staff members in Supervisor Dave Roberts’ office that are concerning. Due to threats of litigation, we are unable to disclose or comment on the details of the allegations. However, an internal investigation has been conducted and the findings shared with all 5 members of the Board of Supervisors during recent closed session meetings. The findings and the work environment within the District Three offices need to be addressed.
Supervisor Dave Roberts inappropriately shared information regarding one of the closed session meetings, which is a violation of the Brown Act. The information he disclosed indicated the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 against a severance payment to two former District 3 staff members.
The details of the closed session discussion remain confidential due to potential litigation. However, the Board of Supervisors has approved a limited release of information from closed session to allow this public statement explaining the reason for the vote against the severance payment. The Board of Supervisors believes it is important to let the public know that the vote was not related to whether or not the Board of Supervisors believed the allegations to be true or false. The vote was made in the context of whether taxpayer money should be used to resolve issues resulting solely from the actions of one Supervisor and multiple staff members he hired and managed. No allegations have been made by District 3 staff members who previously worked for Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.
The Board of Supervisors stands united in their belief that whatever issues occurred in the District 3 offices, should be dealt with by the Supervisor. If any money is to be paid to any of his former staff members, it should be paid from his personal funds and not taxpayer dollars.
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