Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Chapters in Saga of Embattled City Treasurer Keep Her in Suspense

October 13, 1994|JAMES BENNING | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Alice E. DeLong pored over Michael Crichton's latest novel as though her job depended on it. The book, "Disclosure," which involves a power struggle and allegations of sexual harassment, reminds the embattled Redondo Beach city treasurer of her life in City Hall, she says.

"Sometimes you don't even know why things are happening," she said. "It's all part of the suspense. It's all a calculated game."

DeLong, the city's elected treasurer for 19 years, has been under fire since February, when City Manager William E. Kirchhoff told the City Council he could no longer supervise her office because she mistreated employees and failed to properly manage the city's $40 million in investments.

Last week, an attorney for a city employees' union made public several employees' allegations that DeLong comes to work under the influence of alcohol and intimidates employees. Attorney Sylvia E. Kellison also told the council that a supervisor in DeLong's department had sexually harassed three employees.

"This has got to stop," Kellison told the council.

*

DeLong, 61, vehemently denied the charges. She said city officials are working to dismantle her department and drive her from office. She is up for reelection in March but has not decided whether to seek another term.

"I just think this is a real power struggle," she said.

Since several city workers met privately with the council in June to voice complaints about the treasurer's office, four disgruntled employees have transferred out of the department. The council hired a consultant to study the issue, but has not released the findings. And the council has not taken any action against DeLong, Kellison said.

According to Kellison, a supervisor in DeLong's department occasionally grabbed the buttocks of three women workers. Another supervisor accepted money over the counter from an individual applying for a permit, she said.

DeLong said the employees never filed grievances with the city, and they never reported incidents of sexual harassment to her. She cannot deal with problems she does not know about, she said.

Kellison said the employees did not follow the city's grievance procedures because they feared retaliation. "There's no obligation to file a grievance if you think it's going to be fruitless," she said.

The council has not publicly responded to Kellison's complaints. Kirchhoff said he has dealt with personnel problems involving the department's staff, but he cannot discipline DeLong because she is an elected official.

DeLong filed an $8-million claim against the city in July accusing council members and other officials of harassment, libel and defamation of character.

She also claimed that officials violated the City Charter by interfering with her duties as treasurer.

Named in the claim were Mayor Brad Parton, the five council members, City Atty. Jerry Goddard, Kirchhoff and two former employees.

City officials rejected the claim last month.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|