GLENDORA - The City Council will consider approving the appointment of a new finance director today.
Josh Betta, who has been the finance director for South Pasadena for the last seven years, has been selected for the position. He spent 12 years working in Monterey Park when Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers was the top executive there.
Betta said that the chance to work with Jeffers again motivated his decision to leave South Pasadena.
"My respect for Chris Jeffers, and my enthusiasm for working with him again are major factors in wanting to take the job," he said.
Betta's tenure at South Pasadena drew the ire of city staff during a brief period in spring 2006. They claimed Betta created a "hostile work environment."
The complaint alleged that Betta had made staff uncomfortable during a heated argument he had with another staff member.
South Pasadena Mayor Michael Caccioti said a city investigation revealed no problems.
"Nothing serious ever happened," said Caccioti. "Betta has been an excellent finance director."
The complaint was aired by a union representative at a meeting where Betta had a $10,000 raise approved by the city. The timing, said Betta, was not coincidental.
"The raise came at a time when the unions hadn't seen a pay increase for three years," said Betta. "It made me a target."
Betta described the incident as him "yelling at an employee behind closed doors."
He dismissed the idea that he had created a hostile work environment.
Yolanda Vasquez, a South Pasadena city employee and union leader, seemed to mostly remember the union's displeasure about his raise.
"Our main conflict with the city was that the kept saying they didn't have any funds," Vasquez said, "then they gave this huge raise to Betta."
She did recall that several staff members had complained about an "outburst" from Betta.
However, Jim Luttrell, a retired city union representative, said the complaints were minimized.
"Betta's a tyrant," said Luttrell. "Half the city employees were terrified of him ... I'd see people come out of his office crying."
Luttrell said he had pushed local union members to make a complaint to state agencies.
Jeffers said he had heard about the complaints, but based on a background check and recommendations from supervisors and co-workers in South Pasadena, he thought Betta was the best candidate for the job.
Glendora Mayor Ken Herman said he had not heard about the incident, but that any potential problems with Betta would be discussed at today's meeting.
"The negatives will be discussed fully," said Herman. "I don't want to buy anyone else's problems."