MTS’s Mishandling of Nathan Fletcher Scandal and MTS lies under Councilman Whitburn’s Leadership Spark Outrage Among Voters and the Public: Why an Impartial Investigation is Imperative for Transparency and Accountability
MTS, the Metropolitan Transit System, is under fire for their handling of the Nathan Fletcher scandal. It has recently been revealed that MTS staff had known for six weeks that a complaint about sexual harassment and assault involving Fletcher was coming. Despite this knowledge, MTS released a statement claiming that they didn’t know about the allegations until Grecia Figueroa filed a lawsuit on March 28, 2023.
This blatant lie has caused outrage among voters and the public. It is unacceptable that a public agency, which is supposed to serve the community, would try to cover up sexual harassment allegations. MTS should have taken the allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation when they first received the demand for records letter on Feb. 17. But under Councilman Whitburns leadership, they have not.
The fact that MTS waited until a lawsuit was filed to take action is not only unethical but also puts other employees at risk of experiencing similar harassment. MTS has failed in their duty to protect their employees and the public they serve.
The board of directors of MTS is meeting for a special closed session to discuss the situation, and the acting chair, Stephen Whitburn, has said he will press for an independent investigation. However, this response is too little too late. MTS should have taken swift and decisive action when they first received the demand for records letter.
Stephen Whitburn, the acting chair of MTS, is at the forefront of the mishandling of the Nathan Fletcher scandal. Whitburn, who is also a San Diego City Council member, has a history of alleged misconduct himself, including accusations of not intervening in an alleged rape that occurred at his home, and now has shown a proclivity to lie to the public. Being caught lying and alleged misconduct does not make a good leader, and given his history, it is questionable whether Whitburn can be trusted to lead an independent investigation into the MTS’s handling of the Fletcher scandal objectively.
It is essential for MTS to address the conflict of interest created by Whitburn’s involvement and appoint an impartial third party to conduct the investigation. The public deserves transparency and accountability from their elected officials and the agencies that serve them, and any investigation into the matter must be free from bias and political influence. The MTS board of directors must take swift and decisive action to ensure that the investigation is fair and thorough, and that those responsible for mishandling the Fletcher scandal are held accountable. It is imperative that MTS takes responsibility and implements changes to ensure that something like this never happens again.
MTS needs to regain the public’s trust and prove that they are committed to protecting their employees and the public they serve.
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