West Hollywood Public Safety Commissioner Desiree Sol tonight spoke out against the city’s Public Safety Director, Kristin Cook, saying: “I’ve seen a wonderful employee leave because of this woman. I hope you either resign or they kick you out.”
Sol’s comment, made at the monthly Public Safety Commission meeting, follows allegations from employees of the Public Safety Department of abusive behavior by Cook. Those allegations prompted WeHOME, the West Hollywood Municipal Employees Union, to file a complaint that resulted in a City Hall hearing on May 30. In support of the hearing, members of the union wore WeHOME t-shirts to work that day, with many of them wearing “anti-bullying” badges. WeHOME spokesperson Alison Reagan has said a follow-up hearing is likely.
The comment from Sol, an appointee of City Councilmember John Duran, came during a portion of the Public Safety Commission meeting during which commissioners are asked to comment on issues of concern to them. Commission Chair Jeffrey Waack offered his support to Cook. “To me Kristin, you’ve been nothing but professional and I appreciate everything you have done. That is my personal opinion.” Commissioner Ruth Williams said: “I’ve known Kristin since the day she set foot in West Hollywood…. “ and that “there have been times that she and i haven’t agreed, but she has never shown me a side that has been portrayed.”
The only other of the six commissioners to speak up about Cook was Tory Berger, who said he believes City Hall’s review of the allegations against Cook will be fair and that the Commission should let that process follow its course.
Because it is a personnel issue, the city isn’t permitted to make the allegations public. Reagan also would not discuss specifics of the union’s complaint. However, in an interview last week she said, “we are interested in a place where no manager or director may frequently bully staff through frequent screaming and tantrums.”
Cook is one of 10 city directors who report to City Manager Paul Arevalo. She has been a city employee since 1999, oversees a staff of four and is the liaison with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with which the city contracts for public safety services under a $20.4 million contract, and with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which provides fire protection services to West Hollywood.
It’s unclear which employee Sol was referencing, however, of Cook’s four direct reports, Public Safety Supervisor Bonnie Smith has recently retired and Administrative Analyst Rob Winrader is said to be on leave because of stress. The other two subordinates are Tatiana Rodzinek, the Russian community outreach coordinator, and Lily Campbell, the emergency management coordinator.
Cook had a salary of $251,168 a year in 2017, with health and retirement benefits of an additional $70,280. That information comes from PublicPay.com, to which the city’s website provides a link. However, that site has not been updated to provide the latest salary information.
If commissioners resigned from their duties whenever they were upset about the allegations against the institution we’re all trying to improve, what benefit or service do they really provide to the City and its residents? I don’t think former-Commissioner Oliver resigned for this reason, nor do I believe Commissioner Sol should resign for this reason.
Over $321,000 in salary and benefits in 2017.. are you kidding me…???
WeHo = one of the most corrupt cities in the nation
I am deeply committed to Public Safety and Quality of Life issues in West Hollywood and although I do not currently serve on a Commission, I work diligently in the private sector to advocate for Safety and Civil Rights issues in our city. Over the past decade I’ve had many interactions with Kristin Cook and have found her to be accessible, receptive, fair, responsive and extremely professional. Additionally, I truly believe Kristin cares about and respects all members of our diverse community. I am sorry to hear some of the issues raised and believe that they can be mitigated without… Read more »
You must know the specific incidents that have been alleged by these employees, since you believe they can be resolved amicably. Please share because the rest of us would like to know the details. Thanks.
I have literally walked out of safety commission meetings two times because of the way this woman speaks to others. I nearly almost said out loud one time, “Do you not realize that these are commissioners and NOT your underlings?” However, I simply left. IN DISGUST. And I was there one time when this woman cut short and shut Desire down. I am so happy Desire spoke out. Everyone should stop tip toeing around a real issue.
Good post, Jimmy. Why hasn’t this abusive person been fired? I’m outraged that my tax dollars are going to a city that keeps space for bullies. Makes you wonder what else has been covered up.
She’s dismissive, brusque, and seemingly possesses a deep inability to read a room. She shouldn’t be holding this position, having demonstrated her true face to colleagues and those she serves in West Hollywood.
At that end, D’Amico frequently makes excuses for her.
Maybe it’s time we stopped giving him passes, as well.
Where”s the FBI? WEHO is in the major leagues of the most corrupt cities in the USA, Chicago, and Los Angeles are in first and second place. Just look at John Duran and you can see why. Pay for play everywhere. Major city payouts for numerous lawsuits for the self-invented creator of homosexuality. Plus, he has over $100,000 in Federal Tax Liens. Maybe Ms. Cook could loan him the money to pay them off? After all, the WEHO City “Student” Council is in charge of directing the city’s business and Ms. Cook is one of their team members.
The FBI is on Wilshire Blvd. between Sepulveda and Veterans. They do have a phone and anyone may call them about anything that concerns them. If one can make a case, so much the better.
Is anyone else in shock with her salary?!
I’m appalled at the high salary. And she’s only of many grossly overpaid city employees.
Desiree is a Duran appointee. For her to call for Kristen Cook to resign and stand by meekly thru all the Duran allegations and proven facts is two-faced. Robert Oliver resigned and stood on principle. If Desiree had a problem maybe she should resign in principle. Instead she choose to smear a long serving honorable, (whether you like her or not) city staffer with nothing behind it.
It’s my interpretation former Commissioner Oliver resigned from his role on the Pubic Safety Commission because he was disappointed in the silence of his colleagues to his call to action on an important issue that he felt was related to public safety and within the purview of the Public Safety Commission. His resignation to me seemed more to do with a response to not having the support of his colleagues to address a matter that was of great importance, which understandably might lead someone to ask themselves “why am I here?” “what is it we are doing?” “why do I… Read more »
as a reader, i’d like to know what the specific allegations are and if the accused is actually denying them to the faces of both the accusers and city management. also, the commissioners have differing views likely because they haven’t been given the same information. more information would serve everyone, residents-voters especially.
Jumping in here….. I’ve had hella experience with bullies. Every single one of them showed completely different [usually opposite] personalities to different people. I don’t buy a whole sack of sugar anymore.
Fascinating. So, the doubters actually believe four responsible, hardworking people decide – out of the blue – to make up wild stories (that match up, I assume) about their supervisor just so they can go through the pain of multiple hearings that will likely show their govt siding with the alleged abuser? Anita Hill anyone?
Kudos to Commissioner Desiree Sol for having the courage speaking truth to power. No one should ever be afraid to talk about an issue so hopefully Ms. Sol’s comment will start a productive conversation about workplaces being a positive and respectful place.
Ditto on the kudos. Took guts and she obviously knows what’s up. But “productive conversations” about enduring insane work situations don’t get victims the justice they deserve.
How unprofessional of the commissioner
If the director was a man conducting himself like Ms. Cook allegedly is, he would be fired by now
From what I’ve read, it sounds more like this kind of person is purposely promoted into positions where they serve as a terrier/barrier.