When Billy Fried’s column first outed George Weiss’s conduct towards our former city manager, Shohreh Dupuis, several months ago, I concluded that it was time for George to go.
I privately shared my opinion with some of George’s core supporters. They asked me not to rush to judgment. One even supplied me with a long creed of why George should stay, which included, among other things, the thought that if Ms. Dupuis were a man, we wouldn’t be confronted with this problem of George’s conduct towards the city manager.
Well, now the facts are in, and, in my opinion, George acted like a bully.
Going into someone’s professional office, yelling at them and pounding the desk is bullying. The city-hired attorney Barbara Raileanu’s investigative report makes it clear that George did this at least twice.
Many of you may know me from a column I had in this paper or my service as both an appointed public official on the Design Review Board and an elected member of the Water Board, where I became President. The most important thing I learned is that no one elected official is ever tasked with supervising the staff or the manager of the agency they were elected to govern.
The City of Laguna Beach sets policy by a majority vote of the city council conducted in a public meeting. That policy is then carried out by the city manager. No one council member ever has the right or the power to privately “supervise” the conduct of the manager by harassing them or berating them when they become disenchanted with the manager’s performance, no matter what.
This type of conduct is the essence of a hostile work environment. Ms. Dupuis was factually correct in her perception of George’s conduct, and Attorney Raileanu’s report validates that fact. Nothing else matters.
All the other alleged issues are unimportant to that one central fact. We are now confronted with a crescendo of cries from George’s supporters for more transparency. They want the names of the brave city employees who truthfully testified to what they saw or heard. Is this so they can shame and harass those brave folks?
Then there are protestations that Ms. Dupuis’s allegations can’t be that serious because she settled for so little. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she simply wanted to put this whole tawdry episode behind her and move on with her life.
We owe her a debt of gratitude for moving on. George’s actions could have ended up costing the taxpayers of Laguna Beach a whole lot of money.
Lately, we’ve been hearing from some folks to let George do it, become mayor, that is. It’s clear to me that George did it, and it’s time for him to go, home that is.
JJ Gasparotti, Laguna Beach