San Diego MTS board meeting
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System boardroom. Courtesy Circulate San Diego

The San Diego City Council member who is serving as acting chair of the Metropolitan Transit System board called Friday for a second independent investigation into allegations against former agency chair Nathan Fletcher.

Council member Stephen Whitburn said Friday that he would convene a special closed session of the board to consider hiring another outside firm – in addition to the one already engaged by the agency – in the wake of allegations that a former MTS employee was targeted due to her relationship with Fletcher.

Fletcher resigned as board chair, then submitted his his resignation from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, after the one-time employee, Grecia Figueroa, sued him Tuesday, alleging that he had assaulted and harassed her.

The woman also named the MTS in the lawsuit, accusing officials of retaliation related to her allegations about Fletcher. She was fired in February.

Fletcher, who announced he would seek treatment for alcohol use and PTSD late Sunday, before news of the legal case became public, acknowledged making “a terrible mistake” by having an extramarital affair with Figueroa, but denied her other claims.

MTS’ general counsel said Thursday that the agency had hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the Fletcher-Figueroa matter. She also said Figueroa’s termination was “solely related to ongoing performance concerns,” and that the officials who decided to fire her did not know of any allegations against the supervisor.

Whitburn, in a statement early Friday evening, argued that the board should seek an additional probe, citing a need to assure the public “that MTS adheres to a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and retaliation.”

“Under these circumstances, I believe an independent investigation by an outside counsel
commissioned by the Board of Directors would be appropriate in addition to the investigation by the law firm contracted by MTS to provide legal representation in this matter,” he explained in the statement, released by his city office.

The MTS board, which meets monthly, is made up of 15 local county and city elected officials.

The special meeting will be next week, with the day and time to be set on Monday, Whitburn said.