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Roberts violates Brown Act, Board says

REGION — In a rare step, the County Board of Supervisors revealed the reason why they voted in closed session against a pair of severance payments to Supervisor Dave Roberts’ former staffers, who had resigned in recent weeks.

The Board issued a joint statement Monday afternoon that said that Roberts violated state open meeting laws when he disclosed the unanimous closed-session votes against the severances. The Board said they voted against the severances because they believe Roberts should pay for them with his own money, not taxpayers.

“The Board stands united in their belief that whatever issues occurred in the District offices, should be deal with by the Supervisor,” the statement said. “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.”

Roberts, who represents District Three — which includes a large swath of Coastal and Inland San Diego County, including Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Escondido — has come under fire in the wake of the departure of several high-profile staff members from his office, including his chief of staff, Glynnis Vaughan.

Vaughan, in her resignation letter, accused Roberts of  “the alleged misuse of government resources and other questionable behavior, including alleged staff intimidation, coercion, and the creation of a hostile work environment.”

Recent news reports indicate that Roberts’ office has had a high amount of staff turnover in recent years.

According to published reports, Vaughan had negotiated a $75,000 settlement with county counsel, but the Board unanimously rejected the settlement.

In Monday’s statement, the Board said it felt the need to tell the public that the vote against the settlement was not based on whether or not they believed the allegations to be true or false, but whether taxpayer dollars should be used.

The Board acknowledged that an internal investigation of the allegations, which they called “concerning,” had taken place, and that findings — which were shared with all of the board members in closed session — and the work environment in Roberts’ office need to be addressed.