The man who accused a Kern County department head of years of bullying has criticized the county’s investigation into the matter.
Shawn Beyeler, a planner in the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department, filed a claim against the county in October, saying Director Lorelei Oviatt’s frequent abusive treatment of him and others had created a hostile work environment and caused him to have a panic attack.
He has said that some employees have left the department due to Oviatt’s behavior.
Beyeler appeared before the Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“I am obliged to express my dissatisfaction and frustration as to the county’s purposeful mishandling of the investigation as to not accurately reflect Director Oviatt’s true nature over the past decade,” he said during the meeting. “Many county employees have reached out to me and my family to share their personal stories of shock and dismay at Director Oviatt’s lack of professionalism toward her staff in front of them over the years.”
The county has completed its investigation into Oviatt’s behavior, but is keeping any ramifications toward the planning director private.
“All claims or complaints involving personnel matters are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated,” Megan Person, the director of countywide communications, said in an email. “We’ve performed our investigation and analysis, and any appropriate actions have been or will be implemented. All our employees are a valuable part of the Kern County team and enjoy a right to privacy where their personnel files/records are concerned. For that reason, we do not release the records of our employees.”
Beyeler had requested Oviatt step down or be removed from her position as director, but it appears Oviatt will remain as head of the department.
Oviatt said she could not comment on the investigation because it was a personnel issue.
“I respect the confidentiality of all personnel matters for all employees who work for the county,” she said.
Beyeler first brought allegations against Oviatt before the county’s Civil Service Commission in June.
He included a list of 30 current and former department employees in his claim that he wanted the county to interview to back up his statements.
In a phone interview he said the county had not interviewed many people on the list, and during the meeting he said that prior complaints against Oviatt had been ignored during the process of the investigation.
“It is obvious this investigation was purposefully incomplete,” he said during the meeting.
As part of a resolution to the claim, Beyeler said the county had offered him multiple positions in the Public Works Department. He has not decided if he will take any of the positions.
For the moment, he remains employed with the Planning Department.