A former Los Angeles Unified personnel director denied Monday that she told a potential successor in 2011 that his chances of getting the position may have been hurt when the Personnel Commission allegedly reviewed information in a background report that included his 2003 filing of a discrimination complaint against the school district.
Wendy Macy told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing trial of Jesus Estrada Melendez’s retaliation lawsuit that she did not meet with him and give him a copy of the report after the panel selected Janalyn Glymph for the job of personnel director instead of Melendez and a third finalist.
Macy’s testimony contradicted what the 71-year-old Melendez told the panel Friday, when he said Macy, who was the LAUSD’s personnel director in 2006- 10 and later its chief operating officer, met with him in November 2011 and informed him that the commission members had seen the report.
LAUSD attorney Linda Miller Savitt has argued the decision-makers never saw the Melendez background report.
Melendez, who joined the LAUSD in 1984, and attorney Robert Cuen filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, expressing concern about the lack of diversity in their office and among its managers. Three of the 39 staff attorneys at the time were Latino, according to the counsel’s office.
The personnel director oversees all departments within the Personnel Commission, including recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, employment assignments and transactions, appeals and staff development. Melendez says that although he was the most qualified applicant, he was ready to move on after he was denied the position until he learned that the selection process was allegedly tainted.
According to Melendez, a background report prepared for members of the Personnel Commission before they made their selection contained copies of his DFEH complaint and the accompanying news coverage was flagged by the Office of Inspector General and labeled as a “significant issue.”
Macy said she could not recall seeing the Melendez background report even though a letterhead presented to the jury showed a copy was forwarded to her in her role as COO. But she said she could not rule out the possibility she had read and reviewed it.
“It doesn’t surprise me that one was done,” Macy said.
Macy said she worked with Melendez on various projects when both were members of the LAUSD’s Office of General Counsel before she became personnel director.
Macy, a Harvard Law School graduate, is currently the general manager of personnel for the city of Los Angeles, having been nominated to the post by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014.
In other testimony, LAUSD Personnel Commission member Mark Vargas — who also serves on the California Coastal Commission — said he did not recall seeing a background report on Melendez. He said the panel selected Glymph, who is black and has a doctorate in leadership and human behavior, because she “stood head and shoulders above the rest.”
Vargas said that Melendez, who was ranked last of the three finalists, gave “thorough, thoughtful and balanced answers” when interviewed, but that he lacked the managerial experience that Glymph possessed.
The Spotlight on Coastal Corruption filed suit against five current and past members of the Coastal Commission, including Vargas, in 2016, alleging numerous rules infringements. Along with the $13,600 fine against Vargas, current Commissioner Eric Howell was fined $3,500 by a San Diego Superior Court judge, while former Coastal Commission members Steve Kinsey, Wendy Mitchell and Martha McClure were assessed $30,300, $7,100 and $2,600, respectively.
Glymph retired as personnel director in August 2015.