HERMOSA BEACH — Drunk driving charges were filed last week against City Treasurer Norma Goldbach, the third high-ranking city official in less than two years to enroll in the alcohol recovery program at South Bay Hospital.
Goldbach, 50, was arrested in the early morning Wednesday, June 5, for suspected drunk driving after she allegedly ran a red light at Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway, police said.
Breath tests administered at the police station shortly after her arrest showed blood alcohol levels of .26 and .27, according to police reports. A driver in California is considered under the influence of alcohol if his blood alcohol level is .10 or above.
A few days later Goldbach checked in to the one-month alcohol recovery program, city officials said. Both City Manager Gregory Meyer and Police Chief Frank Beeson are recent graduates of the program. Meyer enrolled in the program in September, 1983, and Beeson in February of this year.
Reelected Last Year
Goldbach, who has served as treasurer since August, 1981, was reelected to a four-year term last year. She is responsible for investing about $3 million in city funds each year.
City Council members have periodically criticized Goldbach's work, complaining, among other things, that she misses too many council meetings. Last month, the council voted to reduce her salary from $750 to $500 a month for the part-time job.
"Generally speaking, most City Council members are not pleased with her performance," said Mayor George Barks. "She has not communicated enough with the City Council."
Barks said Goldbach's problems with the council are longstanding and unrelated to her decision to enroll in the alcohol recovery program.
City Clerk Kathleen Reviczky said Goldbach, who is divorced, has been under pressure recently because of her poor relationship with the City Council and because of personal problems.
"She has had many personal reasons to be under a lot of stress lately" Reviczky said. "She lost a brother a few months ago and she was very close to him. Her sister back East was also involved in a bad car accident in May."
Barks said he and other city officials are concerned that three prominent city officials have required treatment for alcoholism, but defended the council's decisions to stand by them.
"We have to be realistic that every organization, whether the public or private sector, has these kinds of problems, " he said. "The difference here is that these three individuals chose to seek help to resolve the problem."
Goldbach, who could not be reached for comment at the hospital, is scheduled to be arraigned in Torrance Municipal Court on July 23.