San Bernardino City Councilmember Kimberly Calvin Faces Allegations

San Bernardino City Councilmember Kimberly Calvin Faces Allegations
Council Member Kimberly Calvin engaged in an Elected Officials panel at the Moreno Valley Conference Center, engaging with speakers. (Aryana Noroozi/Black Voice News/CatchLight Local)

Introduction

In the heart of San Bernardino, City Councilmember Kimberly Calvin finds herself embroiled in a controversy that has implications not only for her political career but also for the work environment at City Hall. The recent release of a personnel investigation on Thursday, Dec. 7, has brought to light allegations of rule violations and the creation of an "uncomfortable" workplace atmosphere.

Councilmember Profile

Delving into the background of the accused, Kimberly Calvin, who has represented the 6th Ward since December 2020, has been a vocal advocate for her community. However, her tenure has not been without challenges, as she grapples with issues such as the redevelopment of Carousel Mall, homelessness, and concerns about the behavior of fellow elected leaders. With her seat on the March 5 presidential primary ballot, Calvin's term extends until December 2024.

The Unveiling Investigation

At the center of the controversy is a personnel investigation triggered by a complaint from an unnamed city employee. The complaint alleges that Calvin violated city rules by making direct requests to staff, bypassing the established chain of command through the city manager. The report, released by city officials, acknowledges Calvin's dedication to her community but raises concerns about the work atmosphere she may have inadvertently created.

Detailed Violations and Findings

The investigation unearthed a pattern where Calvin "repeatedly" contacted staff directly, surpassing the authority typically granted to a City councilperson. It sheds light on several interactions deemed as misconduct under the city's municipal code, leading to a politically charged atmosphere within San Bernardino. Witnesses attested to experiencing negative physical reactions to the stress attributed to Calvin's behavior.

Impact on City Staff

Beyond the allegations of rule violations, the investigation report highlights the impact on City staff. Witnesses express enduring a highly stressful work environment, indicating potential consequences for both the unnamed employee who filed the complaint and other staff or council members who may have borne the brunt of the uncomfortable atmosphere.

Allegations Regarding Document Forwarding

Adding complexity to the situation, the unnamed employee alleged that city emails may have been forwarded directly to community activist Treasure Ortiz without adhering to the California Public Records Act process. Despite efforts, investigators were unable to definitively confirm the source of the forwarded documents, creating an additional layer of uncertainty.

Council Decision and Findings

Facing a decisive moment, the city council voted unanimously (5-0) to release the executive summary of findings. The investigation sustained three of the four complaints against Calvin, pointing to the creation of an uncomfortable work environment and violations of city rules regarding communications and directions to staff.

Response and Future Implications

As the investigation findings reverberate, Councilmember Kimberly Calvin has yet to publicly comment on the allegations, leaving the local community in anticipation of her response. The repercussions of this investigation could extend beyond the immediate circumstances, impacting her political future and the dynamics of local politics in San Bernardino.

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