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Supervisor Dave Roberts Says Allegations Against Him Are Offensive

DAVE_ROBERTS_SWEARING_IN.jpg
Supervisor Dave Roberts Says Allegations Against Him Are Offensive
Supervisor Dave Roberts Says Allegations Are Offensive
Supervisor Dave Roberts Discusses Allegations He Misused His Office GUEST:Dave Roberts, District 3 Supervisor, San Diego County
Supervisor Dave Roberts Says Allegations Against Him Are Offensive
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts is facing claims from former staffers that he misused his office and had an inappropriate relationship with an employee.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts defended himself Thursday against allegations he misused his office.

Roberts has been in the spotlight in recent weeks since three former staffers said he mistreated employees, politicized his office and had an inappropriate relationship with his driver.

“I hold my staff and myself to the highest ethical standards,” Roberts told KPBS Midday Edition. “My mistake was two bad job hires. For people to make these claims is wrong. I am so offended that people said I had a hostile work environment.”

Roberts gave interviews Wednesday to 10News and The San Diego Union-Tribune. He spoke to KPBS on Thursday.

He is being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office. It’s unclear what sparked the investigation, but an adviser for Roberts said it will clear the Democrat of any wrongdoings.

The news of the investigation came after his former staffers’ allegations were made public. Making the claims are his former chief of staff, Glynnis Vaughan, former scheduler, Diane Porter and former administrative assistant, Brittany Shaw. Porter and Vaughan filed formal claims with the county, which is required before filing a lawsuit.

The three former employees said Roberts misused his office by asking staff members to work on his campaign.

“Sometimes elected officials have staff who want to volunteer,” said Roberts, who said Vaughan asked for a campaign business card and he declined that request.

The former employees also said he had an inappropriate relationship with his driver, Harold Meza. Meza refuted the allegations last week in a written statement.

Roberts said he has staff members accompany him to events in response to an incident in 2013 in which he was almost stabbed.

“We wanted to make sure staff was with me when I’m out in public,” Roberts said. “My original chief of staff said, ‘Let’s find someone who wants to get involved in government service — let’s hire someone straight out of college.’”

That’s why Meza was hired after working as an intern for Roberts, he said.

Eight people have resigned from the District 3 office since Roberts took office in 2013.

“I’m the first new county supervisor in almost 20 years,” he said. “My colleagues have been there for a longtime and they had turnover in their initial years.”

But Vaughan is a "well-regarded professional" and "served accordingly" for Roberts, said Lynne Lasry, an attorney for Vaughan.

"Although Supervisor Dave Roberts has apparently decided to revert to stereotypical arguments that women cannot work together, including his mischaracterization of Ms. Porter and Ms. Vaughan’s professional relationship, the fact is Supervisor Dave Roberts created, and continues to create, his own problems," Lasry said in an email to KPBS on Friday. "Ms. Vaughan and Ms. Porter had a good, friendly working relationship. Supervisor Dave Roberts’ claim that he was unaware of concerns held by members of his staff during Ms. Vaughan’s tenure, or that he wasn’t told of these concerns directly by Ms. Vaughan (and others), is not accurate."

Roberts, who is up for re-election next year, is a former Solana Beach city councilman. His county district includes coastal North County as well as parts of Escondido, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta.

Corrected:
KPBS' Megan Burke, Patty Lane, Peggy Pico and Hoa Quach contributed to this report.