OCEANSIDE — Treasurer Victor Roy violated several conduct and ethics codes, including viewing inappropriate material at a city library and making inappropriate comments about a dead city employee, according to a third-party investigation report released last week.
Zappia Law Firm conducted the investigation following several allegations from Oceanside Treasury Manager Steve Hodges made against Roy earlier this year.
The report found that Hodges’ allegation that Roy was caught viewing inappropriate material at the Mission Branch Library over a year ago in June 2021 was true. A senior librarian saw Roy looking at “adult nudes” and asked him to leave, but instead he stayed and took the photos off of the computer while continuing to download material.
The librarian couldn’t recall if the nude photos were depicting sex acts. She also did not push Roy to leave after he removed the material from the computer but did report the situation.
Additionally the report also found that Roy was dishonest when he claimed he was only investigating a citizen’s complaint that the library was not filtering inappropriate material and that the librarian was a liar when she claimed she asked him to leave. Roy could not provide the material he downloaded when asked by investigators.
Investigators also found that Roy made inappropriate comments about Treasury Technician Becky Salvatierra, a 20-year employee with the city who died unexpectedly last year. Roy had demanded to see a copy of her death certificate or an autopsy report, which he told investigators he did because he was worried about taking necessary COVID-19 protective measures in the office. The report found no evidence to back Roy’s claim.
Roy did not respond to The Coast News’ request for comment.
The rest of Hodge’s allegations were found either to be not sustained, lacking in evidence or outside the scope of the investigation, including his assertion that Roy made risky investments that cost the city millions.
The report clarifies that as treasurer, Roy only oversees investments and does not choose or make them. The report also noted that market conditions in 2019 caused a drop in the city’s interest rates.
There was also insufficient evidence to back up Hodges’ claims that Roy solicited campaign donations from him. His claim that Roy harassed and retaliated against him was also unproven, however Roy was found to have improperly raised Hodges’ work performance at a Citizens Investment Oversight Committee meeting in May.
City Attorney John Mullen said the city has accepted the report’s conclusions and will implement its recommendations which include taking disciplinary or corrective action, however he noted that the city manager does not have disciplinary authority over elected officials like the treasurer.
“The purpose of releasing the report is to be transparent to the public about the investigator’s findings and conclusions,” Mullen said via email.
Although he can’t be punished by the city, Roy has been directed to take state required sexual harassment training within seven days of the report’s release. Beyond that, potential action against Roy could include a voter initiated recall of his position.
Furthermore, the city has updated its investment policy to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the elected treasurer and treasury manager.
“There was no expectation regarding any results,” Hodges said via email regarding the investigation. “The important part is various changes to key policy language have been adopted and were initiated completely independent of any report, one of which will ultimately result in saving taxpayers millions of dollars for many more years to come.”