Key personnel have left a San Diego County Supervisor's Office while closed door meetings between top county leaders continue, according to documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.
“It’s all over the building, everyone is talking about it,” said a current county employee who works at 1600 Pacific Highway, the County Administration Building in San Diego.
The subject of discussion is the upheaval inside Supervisor Dave Roberts' office.
Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates through the California Public Records Act show what appears to be an excessive amount of staff turnover.
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: Glynnis Vaughan, Lindsey Masukawa and Melvin Millstein.
NBC 7 Investigates and NBC Political reporter Gene Cubbison called Roberts' office on March 19 and spoke to the supervisor and his policy advisor Adam Kaye.
They said the staff turnover was part of the normal process in any elected politician’s office.
When coming into office in 2012, Roberts, in a move applauded by some, kept a number of employees from outgoing Supervisor Pam Slater’s staff through the year long transition.
During the March 19 phone call, NBC 7 Investigates specifically asked Roberts and Kaye about their then current chief of staff Vaughan. They said she was sick and assured us she would be back in the office the following week.
But Vaughan has not been back to the office since that phone call. NBC 7 investigates has confirmed she is no longer with the office. County documents show her separation date as April 14.
Vaughan has not responded to our numerous attempts to reach out to her.
A former Roberts staff member and current county employees tell NBC 7 Investigates that she went home angry after a disagreement with the supervisor surrounding some staffing issues.
Multiple high-level county employees also confirmed the County Supervisors have been discussing a payout to the former chief-of-staff in excess of $65,000. That payment of tax-payers funds has been the subject of at least two closed-door meetings as recently as Tuesday.
NBC 7 Investigates went to the closed session meeting Tuesday, but were asked to leave once the meeting went into closed session.
In an email from Roberts' newest chief of staff, Mel Millstein, Roberts issued the following statement:
“I have a commitment to provide the highest level of service to my constituents as possible without interruption and so, today I have appointed Mel Millstein as my acting chief of staff to replace Ms. Glynnis Vaughan, who tendered her resignation on April 14th. Mr. Millstein is an experienced and well-respected policy adviser with strong ties to the communities that make up the Third District. I look forward to moving forward with the important business of the County as the elected representative to the County Board of Supervisors from the Third District."
County spokesman Michael Workman said the county will not be commenting because it is a personnel matter.
Several long-time county employees tell NBC 7 Investigates these closed-session meetings are an attempt to clean up what one source described as “a real ugly mess” in Roberts' office.
Those 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.
The county has been responding to and answering our requests for documents, emails and other records through state open record requests.