"Your Secret Admirer" —That's how Carmel City Administrator signed emails to former staffer Jane Miller; Miller recently agreed to settle her sexual harassment suit.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea agreed to pay Miller, the city's former Human Resources Manager, a settlement of more than $600,000 earlier this month to put her long-running sexual harassment and age discrimination lawsuit to rest. Now, some details of the case, which neither City Attorney Don Freeman nor members of the city council have discussed publicly, are beginning to emerge.
In June 2009, Miller alleged that City Administrator Rich Guillen went far beyond the bounds of appropriate workplace conduct, showering her with endearments and later eliminating her job because she failed to respond to his sexual advances.
For more than a year, city officials largely kept mum about the accusations. While some in the community called for Guillen to be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, city officials refused, saying they were satisfied City Hall was a safe place to work. They pointed to an investigation conducted by their former defense attorneys at the San Francisco law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore but refused to reveal particulars, citing pending litigation.
Now, however, it appears that Guillen wasn't entirely truthful during the investigation.
In a letter to Miller's lawyer, Michael Stamp, the city's former defense counsel Richard Bolanos said Guillen had denied using "terms of affection" with Miller. However, emails obtained by the Weekly show otherwise.
He repeatedly refers to himself as "Your Secret Admirer", and calls Miller "Beautiful".
In one message, Guillen writes, "You looked very cute in your red wig and halloween garb...I'd say you're always a hottie." In another, he writes, "Can I come back in life as one of your grandkids? Heck with that...can I hang out with you and your grandkids now?"
"Your know how I love to avoid work," Guillen comments in yet another email, to which he adds this ps: "What time are pancakes served tomorrow? I'm available for child care assistance and I will work for pancakes."
"It was not pleasant," Miller says of the long-running legal battle. But she adds, "The end result demonstrates they felt there was credence to it."
Mayor Sue McCloud, along with City Councilwomen Karen Sharp and Paula Hazdovac failed to return calls for comment. City Councilman Ken Talmage couldn't be reached but the newest member of the council, Jason Burnett, who campaigned for greater openness in city government wants the city council to examine its policies and look closely at what went wrong.
Read the Weekly's July 29 print edition for more on this story.