VVWRA Puts Valles On Administrative Leave Pending Investigation Outcome

VICTORVILLE —(March 19) The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority earlier this month placed Angela Valles, the authority’s director of administration, on paid administrative leave, pending the conclusion of an investigation.
That investigation has grown out of action the authority’s board of directors took on February 27 to retain the San Bernardino-based law firm of Mundell, Odlum and Haws to investigate claims made by seven former Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority employees in writing and at a February 19 board meeting that Valles had engaged in a host of actions unbecoming to the authority and prejudicial to the departed employees.
Those employees – Katherine Beyers, James Bryant, Gina Cloutier, R.C. Elliot, Elaine Gutierrez, Natalie Mirmontes and Haik Seropian – charged Valles with a host of inappropriate acts. Some alleged that Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority General Manager Logan Olds and his second-in-command, director of operations Gilbert Perez knew of Valles’ comportment but had ignored it or even encouraged it.
The board, however, has left Olds and Perez in place.
The Sentinel has learned that Valles, the agency’s director of administration overseeing day-to-day finance operations and human resource functions, between July and December of 2014 filed complaints with several investigative bodies such as the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, the Fair Political Practices Commission, the Attorney General through Congressman Paul Cook’s office, and the FBI, alleging a criminal conflict of interest involving San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood based upon the entangling relationship between his company, Industrial Clerical Recruiters, Inc, (ICR) and the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority, which formerly utilized ICR to provide contract workers for authority projects. After the ICR contract with the authority was terminated, ICR filed a $3.6 million claim against the authority.
The Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority is an agency of the state of California which provides wastewater treatment service along the Mojave River in the Victor Valley. It is a joint powers authority, which by its charter has as its board members one member from each of the Hesperia, Victorville and Apple Valley councils as well as the San Bernardino County First District Supervisor. Lovingood has substituted himself out of the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority board post and has been replaced by Third District Supervisor James Ramos.
The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s legal counsel, Piero Dallarda was unable to provide any definitive statement with regard to Valles’ leave.
It is unknown how widely or narrowly the Mundell, Odlum and Haws firm will focus its inquiry. It appears, based upon the firm’s insistence that Valles be absent from the authority’s premises while it is carrying out its inquiries, that it is taking seriously charges that Valles, who was prior to going to work for the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority the warden of the privately operated 550-bed, adult male, Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, was dictatorial in her interactions with authority employees, retaliated against others, conspired to have some laid off or fired and compromised some of their confidential personnel and medical information. While the information Valles forwarded to the several investigative agencies is available in a compendium since made available to the Sentinel and other entities, it is not clear whether Mundell, Odlum and Haws have been authorized to take up those issues.

Leave a Reply