Despite being under close watch, infighting continues among city

Imperial Valley

Despite being under close watch, infighting continues among city

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CALEXICO, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - 13 On Your Side has learned the Joint Powers Insurance Authority was in Calexico today to follow up with the city's plan to stop in-fighting between city council members.

But as we found out, city leaders are still mud slinging despite the threat of lawsuits hanging over their heads.

In a conversation over the phone with Bob May, a member with the JPIA, he tells 13 On Your Side the Authority is aware of the situation within the council but have to evaluate each allegation.

Meanwhile, councilwoman Martiza Hurtado accuses mayor Bill Hodge of conducting secret meetings.

"There were no secret meetings." Calexico mayor Bill Hodge denies he's violating open meeting laws.

Still, councilwoman Maritza Hurtado accuses the mayor of using his power to meet behind close doors - to help a friend, who is a police officer, get promoted to sergeant.

We asked the mayor why infighting continues to hinder his city.

"Because this kind of stuff is continuing and it looks like it's not going to go away. And I just don't understand the rationale for all these conspiracies."

In August, the city came under close watch from the Joint Powers Insurance Authority of California.

They ordered the city to come up with a Performance Improvement Plan to resolve internal conflicts - ranging from accusations of abuse of power, to intimidation, to sexual harassment.

The Authority says the city is at risk of getting sued and could lose millions of dollars in settlements. Hurtado says she has yet to file a new complaint. But still, there's no signs of infighting coming to an end.

"That is what I intend to do. Is follow the guidance of JPIA and of course local, state, federal law and regulations. Brown Act. I'm intending to do the right thing."

Meanwhile Hodge says he plans to be more open in communicating with other city leaders.

MEANWHILE HODGE SAYS HE PLANS TO BE MORE OPEN IN COMMUNICATING WITH OTHER CITY LEADERS.

"I'll just turn to my city manager and say 'If I take the lead on something, send out an email to the city council. Let them know what I'm doing, says Hodge, "But I really don't want us to be in a bad light for JPIA because I don't want the city to get hurt."

The JPIA says the city has a total of 18 months to comply with the Performance Improvement Plan.