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Wanted to Avert Leak, Lockwood Says of Scandal Pact

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Former City Manager John Lockwood, called to testify about his approval of the secret settlement in last year’s San Diego City Hall sex scandal, said Friday that he did not inform the mayor and City Council of the agreement because that probably would have would have led to a news leak.

Testifying in former city planner Susan Bray’s civil trial, Lockwood said he does not regret his decision to keep the matter of the carefully crafted $100,000 settlement from elected officials, even though he knew they would not be happy.

“I knew Maureen (O’Connor), the mayor, would go ballistic,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood, now director of the state General Services Department, was called to the witness stand by Bray’s attorneys, who are trying to win millions of dollars from the city because the settlement of her claim of sexual harassment against former Planning Director Bob Spaulding was made public.

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Lockwood testified that many other supposedly secret matters considered by the City Council in executive session--closed-door hearings where the officials discuss employee matters and lawsuits--were leaked to the press and labor unions, probably by elected officials.

The harassment settlement was not brought to the council “because our experience in the past several years had been that matters discussed in closed session had not been kept confidential.”

Lockwood testified that O’Connor, a close friend of 20 years, was “incensed” because she was not told of the sexual harassment allegations made against Spaulding, an employee who was hired by and who reported to the mayor and council.

O’Connor blasted Lockwood during testimony last week--going as far as saying she would have demanded his resignation if he still worked for the city, but Lockwood testified that the mayor took the matter personally and never suggested that he violated the City Charter.

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“I don’t recall her saying it was a violation of any law, but she thought we’d been friends for so long I had an obligation to tell her,” he said.

Talking with reporters after his testimony, Lockwood downplayed O’Connor’s testimony last week that the Spaulding-Bray affair was the biggest scandal in her 20 years at City Hall.

“The fact that it was reported (to the council), isn’t a scandal,” he said.

Lockwood continued to defend his decision the keep the matter secret. In any case, where there are allegations of sexual harassment, both parties have a right to privacy, Lockwood said.


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