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San Diego County Will Pay $310K To Settle Allegations Against Dave Roberts

Photo caption: San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts mingles in the halls of the County A...

Photo by Angela Carone

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts mingles in the halls of the County Administration Building in downtown San Diego, Jan. 5, 2015.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to pay $310,000 to settle claims brought by three former staffers of Supervisor Dave Roberts, who was accused of misusing his powers.

In a joint statement, the board members said they don't necessarily believe all the allegations against Roberts, but found substantial risk that jurors would find some of the contentions valid at trial.

The board members said former Chief of Staff Glynnis Vaughan appears to have identified numerous areas where county policy was not being followed in Roberts' office.

"She acted in good faith to work with Supervisor Dave Roberts to correct identified problems and establish professional standards within the District 3 offices," according to the board members "Her actions were met with resistance from Supervisor Dave Roberts resulting in a hostile relationship."

The supervisors also said ex-scheduler Diane Porter "participated in activities in her role in Supervisor Dave Roberts' office that violated county policy. Whether she did so knowingly or not is uncertain."

Her activities were known by Roberts and might have taken place at his direction, the supervisors said.

Another former employee, Lindsey Masukawa, resigned "due to inappropriate pressure from the supervisor to influence the investigation" into his office, the supervisors said.

"The Board of Supervisors' decision to settle the claims is not intended as statement that we believe all the claims by the three former staff members are true," the statement said.

"But, we do believe there is substantial risk that a jury would find elements of several of the claims valid and would render an adverse verdict at trial," the supervisors said. "To minimize the significant financial exposure to county taxpayers, the board considers it's in the best interest of taxpayers to settle the claims immediately."

Combined, the women were asking for more than $1 million in compensation.

They said the supervisor, at minimum, showed poor judgment.

In his statement, Roberts said his chief of staff retired after 22 years in the position, and the transition to Vaughan "did not go as well as I expected and I take full responsibility for that. Now that the settlement has taken place, we are moving forward."

The freshman supervisor, who is up for reelection next year, said he will continue to "work hard delivering results for the people" of his North County coastal district.

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who will challenge Roberts for the seat, said his "actions are a disappointment to those who put their trust in him and have become a distraction from the job he was elected to do. This settlement will cost San Diego County taxpayers hundreds of thousands, which could otherwise be used to support critical county services."

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, who is also running for the seat, last week renewed his call for the embattled supervisor to resign.

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