We got a tip on Leftovers a couple of days ago informing us that Josh Betta would be getting the finance director position in Glendora. Reporter Dan Abendschein confirmed that Betta is a candidate, and is working on a story about it for next week. In true reporter fashion, he did some digging, and here’s what he came up with:
Star-News (Pasadena, CA)-March 26, 2006
Author: Gene Maddaus Staff Writer
SOUTH PASADENA – The city’s finance director is under investigation for alleged “boisterous and vulgar outbreaks,” according to a labor negotiator.
An outside investigator began to look into multiple complaints against Finance Director Josh Betta this week. The investigation was first disclosed by Jim Luttrell, a labor representative for the South Pasadena Public Service Employees’ Union.
“The issue is a hostile work environment,” Luttrell said in an interview. “When he goes on one of these tirades, it’s heard throughout the whole building.”
Betta declined to comment. City Manager Mike Copp and Assistant City Manager Marc Castagnola confirmed that the investigation is under way, but declined to get into specifics.
“We are in the very early phases,” Castagnola said. “As usual, any investigation we do is totally confidential.”
It is the second investigation at City Hall in as many months. An outside investigator was hired for $10,000 in February to pursue an allegation that Councilman David Margrave had created a hostile work environment within the city’s planning department.
Margrave apologized to the department on March 15, and promised that he would deal only with the city manager in the future.
Luttrell revealed the existence of the second investigation on the same day.
The council was considering whether to approve a $10,000 raise for Betta. Several city firefighters said at the meeting that they had been told there was no discretionary money for fire department raises. They argued that approving the raise for Betta would be unfair.
Luttrell, who represents non-safety workers, made a similar argument and then added that Betta should not be given a raise because he is under investigation.
The council approved the pay raise, noting it was necessary to match market-level salaries.
In a follow-up interview, Luttrell said that there were at least two complaints from city employees against Betta. He expected more employees would be interviewed by the investigator.
“There was a closed-door argument with the city manager,” Luttrell said. “It got so loud, that it brought people out from offices in the immediate area. He was yelling and screaming profanities.”
Castagnola said it was too early to say when the investigation would be completed.
(It’s not clear what the results of the investigation were – JM)