REGION — Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer declined to call for the immediate resignation of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher today, telling City News Service that Fletcher’s planned May 15 resignation gives the county “the sufficient runway to plan a timely and orderly transition.”
Fletcher announced his resignation on March 29, following a tumultuous day in which he admitted having an affair with a former Metropolitan Transit System employee who then sued him, alleging he sexually assaulted and harassed her. He denies those charges.
“The county will continue working without interruption” until Fletcher’s resignation, Lawson-Remer added.
Lawson-Remer, vice chair of the Board of Supervisors, said in a statement Tuesday that she was incredibly “sad, frustrated and disappointed with Supervisor Fletcher’s alleged actions,” and that she supports a “full and transparent independent investigation” at the MTS.
“I look forward to filling the District 4 seat through a participatory and deliberative process to ensure continued democratic representation and good governance for the people of San Diego County,” she said.
Her statement came after board Chairwoman Nora Vargas’ announcement during Tuesday’s regular meeting that supervisors will discuss options on finding a replacement for Fletcher at their May 2 meeting.
“United and with your input, our board will determine the best direction for our county,” Vargas said.
Fletcher announced on March 26 he was entering a treatment center for post-traumatic stress, trauma and alcohol abuse and abandoned a planned run for state Senate.
In a later statement, Fletcher said he was resigning from the Board of Supervisors at the request of his wife, former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, to focus on his mental health.
First elected in 2018, Fletcher will officially resign from his District 4 seat at 5 p.m. May 15. Fletcher also resigned as chair of the MTS.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit against Fletcher, former MTS Public Information Officer Grecia Figueroa, alleges Fletcher groped her on two occasions and pursued a sexual relationship with her for months, leading to her abrupt firing on the day Fletcher announced his state Senate candidacy.
“The strain on my wife and family over this past week has been immense and unbearable,” Fletcher said in a statement. “A combination of my personal mistakes plus false accusations has created a burden that my family shouldn’t have to bear. I will be resigning from the Board of Supervisors, effective at the end of my medical leave.”
Fletcher is one of the three Democrats, along with Vargas and Lawson-Remer, on the technically nonpartisan board. Recently, some have suggested that Fletcher’s decision to delay his resignation was related to the upcoming Board of Supervisors vote on the hiring of a chief administrative officer.
La Prensa reported on April 3 that the leading candidate for the role is Cindy Chavez, who currently sits on the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, a former San Jose city councilwoman and former executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.
Fletcher said last week his resignation will take effect on May 15, leading residents to believe he will remain in office to cast the deciding vote on Chavez’s hiring. A county source said the vote will likely be in May.
La Prensa reported Chavez has the backing of Supervisor Nora Vargas and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer.
According to the county Communications Office, the county’s charter allows the Board of Supervisors to fill a board vacancy “by appointment, by calling for a special election, or by a combination of the two.”
Fletcher’s colleague Jim Desmond on Tuesday said Fletcher should not wait until next month to resign.
In a statement, Desmond said that “while this is a pending civil case, it’s clear that Mr. Fletcher should end his county employment immediately.”
Desmond, a Republican, added that Fletcher would continue to receive a county salary and benefits for weeks during his absence.
Supervisor Joel Anderson said he doesn’t condone any of Fletcher’s actions, “but at the end of the day, my concern is not about getting even with him — it’s about doing right by his constituents.
“My constituents do not like when politicians from outside our community tell them what its best for them; I would not presume to do that to District 4 residents,” said Anderson, who is also a Republican. “But it is important that we all know what the options are, which is why I have reached out to county counsel to provide concrete answers, so we are not making decisions based on pure speculation.”
The Coast News reporter Steve Puterski contributed reporting to this article.