City approves Performance Improvement Plan

Imperial Valley

City approves Performance Improvement Plan

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CALEXICO, CA (13 On Your Side) - The city of Calexico has agreed to follow a performance improvement plan to fix internal problems - including a vote of no confidence of its previous police chief and claims of sexual harassment among city council members.

The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority recently slapped the city with a list of "red flag" warnings that - if ignored - could result in lawsuits totaling millions of dollars.

During Tuesday's council meeting, California Joint Insurance Authority representative Alex Mellor warned the city - failing to follow its performance improvement plan could lead to lawsuits totaling more than 5 million dollars in claims.

The JPIA provides Calexico with insurance coverage such as liability protection and worker's compensation.  

According to a JPIA report, more than 300 workers have filed claims against the city - most stemming from in-fighting in ousting the former police chief - and in-fighting in choosing its current police chief.

Former Mayor Maritza Hurtado also filed claims - accusing council members of sexually harassing her.  

City council members agreed to undergo sexual harassment training as part of its performance plan.  

"Regardless of the claims hanging over us or if they weren't – that's something that any governmental operational entity or corporation should always give to their employees," says mayor Bill Hodge.

Furthermore, Mayor Hodge says new police chief, Pompeyo Tabarez, will do an internal review of the department to pin-point solutions to address moral between his officers, employees and residents.  

"So there's going to be a series of a particular of critical thinking questions that you ask an in any scenario it leads you to get to the root of a problem."

The city has 18 months to fix its problems. If the city fails to comply, the JPIA could drop the city's insurance protection policy - which could lead to numerous lawsuits costing taxpayers millions of dollars.  

"That means that we cant get it together as a governing city. And rightfully so, we would have lost credibility in the eyes of agencies and the public. But it is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN," says Hodge.

The JPIA will monitor the progress and status of the plan from now until 2015.