Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times
Dana Point City Council saw an organized demonstration comprised of dozens of people in support of Councilmember Debra Lewis in the wake of a gender bias investigation.
Attendees stood with signs that stated “Residents Support Debra Lewis,” as several speakers expressed frustration with the investigation’s handling and conclusions reached.
The Nov. 1 edition of Dana Point Times reported that the investigator assigned to a discrimination and gender bias complaint that Lewis had filed against Mayor Joe Muller earlier this year determined the accusations to be unfounded. The complaint stemmed from a disagreement while behind the dais. Lewis says the investigation is a sham and had submitted a list of her objections to investigator Christine Exton, of Norman A. Traub & Associates, LLC.
Lewis’s objections highlight that Exton was the second investigator hired after the first, Megan Miller, was determined to have a conflict of interest. According to Lewis, the conflict of interest was that Miller had previously retained a contract with Orange County Fire Authority, while Mayor Muller chairs the board of directors for OCFA. Exton used interviews and information Miller had collected and proceeded with the investigation.
In the conclusive remarks Exton made in the report, she states Lewis exaggerated, omitted important information and was inaccurate in her testimony. Ultimately, Exton determined that the allegations of discrimination and retaliation are unfounded.
The city has expended a total of $37,818.20 on the subject investigation. No other costs had been incurred in the previous five years on discrimination investigations.
For more information on the investigation, objections, the investigator’s response, and the incidents leading to Lewis’s complaint, refer to the article “Conclusions Reached” at danapointtimes.com.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.