What can be done about Carson’s controversial city clerk? When an employee’s conduct becomes erratic or threatening, employers have options from counseling to termination. But what happens when that employee is an elected official?
It’s a question that the city of Carson has been pondering in recent months as allegations of bizarre and threatening behavior by City Clerk Jim Dear have piled up.
Though in his current position for less than a year, Dear has been an elected official in that south Los Angeles County city since he joined its City Council in 2001 — and often a controversial one. (In 2008, he was the subject of a failed recall election.) But when Dear traded in his part-time council gig for the job as a full-time boss in the clerk’s office, things allegedly went downhill fast.
Many staff members found his manner more than a little alarming. According to an independent report commissioned by the city manager, they described irrational and erratic behavior that scared them so badly, some laid out escape routes in case Dear were to “snap or go postal.” They said he was prone to mood swings and extreme anger, yelling and cursing in the office. They also reported that he made racist comments about African Americans, regularly bullied people in City Hall and made it a hostile workplace