SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher before his scheduled resignation on May 15.
First, the supervisors heard public comment from 31 speakers both in-person and on the phone. Staff said they also received more than 100 comments from the public. Only one person spoke out against the no-confidence resolution, everyone else called on Fletcher to resign now.
However, the no-confidence vote does not mean Fletcher must step down now. The only way the board can remove him is if he resigns or if he's removed in a recall election. A recall election could take months.
CBS 8 reached out to Fletcher's office Tuesday. A spokesperson repeated the same statement he provided Monday:
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is unable to respond due to the fact he is in treatment.
"He has let his constituents down, he has let San Diego County down and now he needs to resign and step down," said Supervisor Jim Desmond during Tuesday's meeting.
Fletcher announced his resignation on March 29 after admitting to an affair with Grecia Figueroa, a former Metropolitan Transit System employee who is suing him for sexual assault and harassment. He denies those charges. Figueroa said none of what happened was consensual.
Fletcher was one of the most powerful men in the county when he announced on March 26 that he was entering a treatment center outside the state for post-traumatic stress, trauma and alcohol abuse, and was abandoning a planned run for state Senate.
On March 29, he announced his resignation from the Board of Supervisors effective at 5 p.m. on May 15, following a tumultuous day in which he admitted to the affair.
The next scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting is May 2, when the board will discuss its options moving forward for the county and the 675,000 residents of District 4.
Supervisor Jim Desmond, one of Fletcher's most vocal opponents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has called it unacceptable that Fletcher would stay on the board and collect $25,000 from taxpayers in the quasi- resigned period through May 15.
"While the Board of Supervisors does not have the ultimate power to remove Mr. Fletcher, this resolution will serve as a powerful statement for him to resign," Desmond said Sunday. "Mr. Fletcher has let his constituents down and should no longer receive taxpayer funds.
"Also, given these circumstances, the search for a new Chief Administrative Officer should be restarted without input from Mr. Fletcher," he said. "This is an important decision for the future of San Diego County, and he should not have any input in future decision-making."
The plaintiff in the lawsuit against Fletcher, former MTS Public Information Officer Grecia Figueroa, alleges that Fletcher groped her on two occasions and pursued a sexual relationship with her for months before she was abruptly fired on the day Fletcher announced his state Senate candidacy.
Fletcher resigned April 4 as MTS chair.
Figueroa alleges that beginning in 2021, Fletcher began "stalking" her social media account, then sought to meet with her privately on several occasions. On two of those occasions, she claims he assaulted her.
The complaint alleges Figueroa "was intimidated by the dynamic Fletcher had created" and says she "felt pressured to reciprocate Fletcher's advances because she knew he had authority as both a career-politician and as chair of the MTS Board to destroy her career at MTS and to potentially humiliate her publicly if she made him angry."
She alleges that on Feb. 6, she was fired during a closed-door meeting and believes "that MTS terminated her employment because she was sexually harassed by Defendant Fletcher."
The lawsuit filed last week in San Diego Superior Court alleges sexual assault and battery and sexual harassment by Fletcher. It also names the MTS as a defendant and alleges sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation, and whistleblower retaliation.
Fletcher denied Figueroa's charges, claiming the affair was consensual.
Fletcher's wife, former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, posted on Twitter that she asked her husband to resign "to lessen the strain on our family."
"I'm relieved he is finally getting treatment he needs. Thank you to everyone who has reached out today," Gonzalez posted on Twitter.
Fletcher's attorney, Danielle Hultenius Moore, said the woman's allegations "are false and are designed to drive headlines and not tell the truth."
The attorney said the woman pursued Fletcher, who "does not and never had authority over her employment."
"We will aggressively fight this issue in court and the full record will show the truth," Moore added.
In the meantime, board supervisors made it clear that their attention is on the future of the county.
"I would like everyone to stay focused on the real work that we have, which is to make San Diego a better place for everyone," said Board Vice-Chair Terra Lawson-Remer.
She added that progress will continue on a number of fronts, from housing and homelessness to climate change to the county's investment in behavioral health, which Lawson-Remer credited the county staff with being on the forefront of.
"It's one of my top priorities," she told CBS 8. "I know it's a shared priority among all my colleagues, a nonpartisan priority, because it is meeting an incredibly important need of our community."
She also pointed to the critical importance of finding the best representative for District 4: the most diverse district in the county.
"We know there's going to be an amazing community leader that's going to fill that seat," Lawson-Remer said. "We don't know yet who it is but it'll be someone who is going to pick up the torch and accelerate the transformation of San Diego."
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