Home News Valley Water director censured for discriminatory misconduct, mishandling report

Valley Water director censured for discriminatory misconduct, mishandling report

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LOS GATOS — Acrimony among directors at Santa Clara Valley Water District led to the recent censure of one board member over allegations of misconduct, including discriminatory harassment, abusive conduct and improper direction to staff.

Rebecca Eisenberg is a candidate for the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the November 2022 election.
Rebecca Eisenberg, District 7 supervisor for the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors, is seen in an undated photo. (Courtesy photo) 

In two separate votes, the Valley Water board of directors voted 6-1 last week to censure Rebecca Eisenberg, who represents District 7, for mishandling confidential information and substantiated allegations of discriminatory harassment, abusive conduct and improper direction to staff, as stated in a press release by Valley Water.

In a 5-2 vote, the board approved five disciplinary actions against Eisenberg, according to a press release. The director will be removed from all roles and responsibilities representing the board and the water district, and she will not be allowed to meet with any employees who do not want to meet with her or request information directly from employees.

Tony Estremera, who represents Valley Water’s district 6, said that the disciplinary actions against Eisenberg will be in place for at least a year.

She is also required to complete anti-discrimination training and behavioral management training for two months, after an independent investigation last December found one of Eisenberg’s comments to board member Nai Hsueh to be an act of national origin-based discriminatory harassment.

The board also requested that Eisenberg return a 2,000 page investigative report on her behavior to the clerk of the board.

“For what was sustained, I can’t control whether you believe me or not. I can’t control how you see me,” Eisenberg said during the special meeting on March 14. “All I can do is my best, and all I can do is get better.

“I care about the public far more than I care about myself. I’m here for the public.”

Eisenberg did not respond to an email request for comment from the Bay Area News Group.

The censure for mishandling confidential information comes from a Jan. 29 incident, when Eisenberg reviewed a 2,000-page investigative report on her behavior. The report, compiled by an outside investigator, investigated allegations made by Eisenberg’s colleagues against her, as well as her own allegations against Valley Water, according to the board’s resolution.

According to a memo by the board, Eisenberg was told that she couldn’t take the report, which contained personal identifying information on witnesses, out of the conference room she was reading it in, but took it to her car anyway.

Eisenberg’s second censure, which was voted on during the same meeting on March 14, was related to an independent investigation last December that found several of her comments were discriminatory. Eight allegations against Eisenberg were substantiated as racist, sexist, ageist, abusive conduct and improper direction to staff.

Some of Eisenberg’s substantiated discriminatory statements, according to the investigation conducted by Meyer Nave included saying men “love to build things and use concrete,” asserting herself as the only “non-Boomer on the board and it shows” and telling Hsueh, “English isn’t your first language so I want to make sure you understand.”

The investigation also found that she created a hostile work environment for, or engaged in abusive conduct toward, Valley Water CEO Rick Callender.



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