Shohreh Dupuis is leaving her city manager role at Laguna Beach City Hall.
Officials say it’s a “mutually agreed-upon” retirement, one negotiated after Dupuis lobbed a hostile workplace claim against a council critic of hers, Councilmember George Weiss.
City Council members approved the agreement in a special closed session on Thursday.
Dupuis’ replacement, for now, is Assistant City Manager Gavin Curran, pending council members’ decision on a permanent one.
Requests for comment from Dupuis when unreturned Thursday.
Weiss, in a Thursday phone interview, called Dupuis’ claim against him “groundless.”
“I haven’t expressed anger at the city manager at any meetings I had with her, nor has she caused me anger at the meetings themselves. I don’t know the substance. I had little contact with the city manager beyond the fact that my trust in her was diminished,” said Weiss. “I believe there was a lack of truthfulness and transparency.”
The two have at times publicly disagreed on the topic of City Hall transparency, with Weiss, for instance, pushing for earlier publication of City Council agendas last year while Dupuis, citing Laguna’s smaller size, disputed the need for more advance notice of city business to the public.
Weiss had also joined residents like Michele Monda in calling for the release of officer-worn body camera footage of a November 2022 traffic stop in which Dupuis – who had been on her phone while driving – told the officer she was talking to the city’s police chief.
During the time Monda and other residents called for more information, Dupuis had acknowledged the violation and publicly apologized.
But the city also held out on releasing the footage, despite residents and Weiss voicing concern that Dupuis attempted to use her position to get out of the stop, until council members in March voted to make it public.
The recording was released in April, several months after police had launched an investigation into what was described as “feces” smeared on and around Dupuis’ house.
Under the separation agreement, the city will pay Dupuis nine months’ severance pay and $223,077 to settle the hostile workplace claim against Weiss.
Her City health insurance will remain unchanged for nine months and she will receive a reimbursement of legal costs up to $10,000, according to the settlement, which also stipulates that Dupuis will be on paid leave through September 1, 2023.
“Shohreh played a key role for our City during the COVID-19 pandemic and has helped deliver on wildfire safety, transportation and mobility programs, key property acquisitions and other important City Council priorities,” said Mayor Bob Whalen in a Thursday news release about Dupuis’ departure.
“We appreciate her dedication through some very challenging times and wish her well as she enters the next phase of her life.”