By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 11/12/15, 10:22 AM PST |
Outspoken former Victorville Councilwoman Angela Valles is suing her employer, the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, alleging her colleagues have retaliated against her and demoted her because of her continued efforts to expose government corruption.
Valles’ federal lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Riverside, names as defendants the VVWRA, its general manager, Logan Olds, and board commissioner Russ Blewett, who is also a Hesperia Councilman. The litigation comes in the wake of a nearly year-long shakeup at the VVWRA where Valles, Olds and Director of Operations Gilbert Perez stood accused by more than a half a dozen employees of being ethically challenged and perpetuating a hostile work environment.
But only Valles, a VVWRA employee of 11 years, was singled out for discipline – placed on leave for five months then demoted from director of administration to her former position as director of finance, said Valles’ attorney, Jimmy Mettias.
“Mrs. Valles was one of three managers the various employees lodged complaints against. She was the only one placed of administrative leave. Then in order to smear her the VVWRA informed the media of the circumstances under which she was placed on leave,” Mettias said in an e-mail. “When the investigation returned as unfounded she was allowed to return back to work but with a demotion. No explanation was given for the demotion.”
VVWRA spokesman David Wylie declined comment due to the pending litigation.
Valles is a former Victorville Councilwoman and trustee of the Victor Valley Community College District who made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2012. She is married to former Apple Valley Councilman Rick Roelle, a retired lieutenant with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who unsuccessfully ran against Robert Lovingood, a High Desert businessman also named in Valles’ lawsuit, for First District county supervisor in 2012.
Valles noted in her lawsuit she has reported alleged government corruption to the District Attorney’s Office, the state Fair Political Practices Commission, the state Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. And she has frequently prevailed against “predominantly white male republicans” in local elections, making her a threat to local elected officials and subjecting her to the ire of the county power structure.
“As such the individuals with a position of power have been highly motivated to destroy her reputation and standing in the community,” according to the lawsuit.
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