A few days ago, the independent investigation of Gary Kremen’s conduct as a director of Valley Water confirmed serious allegations including flagrant abuse of authority, bullying and harassment of agency employees and members of the public who appeared at public board meetings to express their views on water issues.
The report is damning, describing numerous employees who broke down crying after retaliation and intimidating behavior, verbal assaults and threats by Kremen that they would lose their jobs, or that he would “rip the employee to shreds.” Many of these behaviors were reported by the employees to the CEO who affirmed that they had occurred.
These egregious actions resulted in a hostile work environment at the water district, particularly for women. Public employees deserve a workplace free of harassment, threats, retaliation and abuse.
Kremen’s disrespectful and unprofessional treatment of staff and the public, who have a right to address their elected public officials, cannot be ignored. The people of this county should not allow Kremen to continue in public office. His conduct is incompatible with ethically serving the public.
LaDoris Cordell is a retired California Superior Court judge.
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