Following weeks of public pressure, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors announced on Wednesday it unanimously voted to place the county’s CEO Nav Gill on paid administrative leave while under investigation for claims of misconduct.
Three of Sacramento’s five supervisors also voted to express “no confidence” in Gill, one vote short of the threshold to terminate the county’s top executive.
Gill is facing accusations of sexism, racist behavior and misconduct by colleagues past and present, and complaints that he mismanaged spending of the county’s federal coronavirus relief funding.
The supervisors’ vote to put their CEO on leave happened after members of the public demanded Gill be fired during a board meeting on Tuesday.
“I’m calling to have Nav Gill removed,” Paula Spano, a former public defender and law professor, told the board during a public comment via phone. “I left Sacramento County after 20 years because of the toxic environment of intimidation and discrimination against women perpetrated by Nav Gill.”
Public health directors and managers also sent a letter to the board on Nov. 9 accusing Gill of bullying, racism, discrimination against women and disregard for public health. The letter was signed by eight county health directors and managers, including current public health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye and retired officer Glennah Trochet.
Last month, Supervisors Phil Serna and Patrick Kennedy also asked Gill to resign after he presided over an indoor meeting with more than three-dozen county staff, many of them not wearing masks, including the CEO.
“As you are well aware, we have had as a board and individually, several difficult conversations of late calling into question your patterned behavior and decision making,” the memo from Serna and Kennedy read. “We no longer have confidence in you as Chief Executive Officer and call for your resignation.”
In a written statement Tuesday, Gill told CapRadio that he “categorically denies any allegations of wrongdoing,” but that he “cannot comment further as it is a personnel matter.”
Gill and county executives also have been criticized for allocating most of its $181 million in federal coronavirus aid on the sheriff’s office payroll and benefits, approving just $24 million for public health.
During Tuesday’s board meeting, a woman who gave only the first name Bri called-in to decry the county’s executive leadership.
“Hearing the stories from dedicated staff of the county of Sacramento about how the county CEO failed to prioritize public health and created a hostile work environment for women of color and other women is horrifying,” she said.
Ryan McClinton, a county resident, was one of several callers, whose public comments lasted nearly an hour. “I don’t feel safe in my home community by the administrators of our community. That’s a problem,” he said.
Gill has defended his use of the federal stimulus dollars and told CapRadio that his “budget procedure” prevented “huge reductions in General Fund departments that provide critical services to the community and are on the frontline during this pandemic.”
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