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County Supervisors Unanimously Censure Auditor-Controller for Abusive Conduct; Paz Dominguez Addresses Complaints in YouTube Video

Screenshot of Monday’s meeting. Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson attended via Zoom. In a special meeting Monday morning, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to censure Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez over the findings of a recent independent investigation , which concluded that she’d engaged in retaliatory, harassing and/or bullying behavior. The investigation also found that Paz Dominguez’s financial decisions have increased staff workload and caused financial losses to the county. A staff report for today’s hearing says a prior independent investigation into workplace misconduct, in 2018, reached similar conclusions. County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes explained to the board that a censure offers them an opportunity to reprimand Paz Dominguez, who, as an elected official, is not subject to the county’s typical progressive discipline measures. “This is your board saying publicly that you don’t agree with the way the auditor-controller interacts with staff and believe her to be in violation of our abusive conduct policy,” Hayes said. Prior to the vote, a number of department heads, including the district attorney, the sheriff, the director of public works and the director of planning and building, offered pointed criticisms of Paz Dominguez and urged the board to act. Paz Dominguez herself was not in attendance, though as First District Supervisor Rex Bohn noted early on, her re-election campaign published a video to YouTube on Sunday in which she addresses some of the relevant matters. Set to the kind of goofball music that might accompany a collection of sports bloopers, the video shows Paz Dominguez at a desk, reading from a heavily redacted copy of the 2018 investigation. She mocks the report’s spelling errors, its abundance of redactions and a selection of the employee allegations contained within. Bohn said the video seemed demeaning to the employee who filed a grievance in 2018. (Hayes later said three employee compl

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