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'Shock and Disappointment'

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Editor:

I can't fully express my shock and disappointment at Karen Paz-Dominguez's video response to the Board of Supervisors' 5-0 vote to censure her for harassment/bullying of her staff ("A Symbolic Censure," April 7). Two investigations (in 2018 and 2022) into 10 separate complaints of bullying/harassment by Paz-Dominguez sustained all 10 allegations. Her response was to publicly mock and belittle employees, thus continuing the behavior sustained in the investigations.

I am a retired county department head who began county service as a legal office assistant. As someone who worked her way up from entry level to leading a team of employees, my primary and most sacred duty was fostering an environment where people felt safe and valued. It creates a high performing workplace where people do their best work, particularly in times of short staffing and slim budgets.

It deeply saddens me to watch an elected official publicly demean and dismiss the complaints of those who risk retaliation, and potentially their careers, to step forward. It displays a lack of leadership. It does not foster an environment where people want to work and are able to give their best.

We should expect more from our elected leaders. No one should be allowed to treat public servants with such disrespect. Local government employs our friends, neighbors and our family members who work hard to provide important services. I am angry at the discourse that characterizes this part of our community as lazy, on-the-take or uncaring. Our county employees deserve our appreciation, not humiliation from politicians.

Lisa Dugan, McKinleyville

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