In a dramatic scene before a packed hearing of the Ventura City Council, an accounting manager for the city charged this week that she was sexually and physically harassed for two years by the city's budget coordinator.
Angela Spaccia, who said she is on full disability from her city job because of the emotional trauma she has suffered, leveled the charge against Budget Coordinator Michael Solomon during a budget hearing Monday night.
While the council and a surprised crowd of more than 120 spectators listened in total silence, Spaccia urged council members to vote down a pay raise for City Manager John A. Baker on grounds that he did not properly discipline Solomon for the alleged harassment.
Spaccia, 30, later told reporters that she was the target of sexual overtures by Solomon for a period beginning in 1986 and ending in 1988 with an incident in which he allegedly grabbed her by the arms and picked her up bodily during an argument in City Hall.
After the incident, Spaccia said, she began having nightmares and consulted a therapist. She said that he advised her to take action "or I would be destroyed."
Spaccia said she then filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and a grievance with the city. She said that an investigation resulted in a 20-day suspension without pay for Solomon--a punishment she considers insufficient.
Baker, who was granted a 10% pay raise to about $94,000 a year by the council despite Spaccia's appeal, would not comment on the allegations, saying they involve potential litigation against the city. Solomon could not be reached for comment.
Spaccia said she was paid more than $50,000 annually. She said a therapist has told her she is sufficiently recovered to return to work, and she would like to do so.
"I don't know what my status is," she said. "My therapist says I can't return to work with Solomon. The city has appointed a vocational counselor to try to get me some other job, but $50,000-a-year jobs don't grow on trees."