Orange County Transportation Corridors Agencies head resigns after investigation into alleged misconduct In order to avoid a conflict of interest with his city, city manager Doug Barnett has announced that he is stepping down from that position
Agency heads resign after investigation into alleged misconduct In order to avoid a conflict of interest with his city, city manager Doug Barnett has announced that he is stepping down from that position
The Orange County Transportation Authority has launched a formal investigation into the agency head that oversees the agency, after being alerted to allegations of sexual harassment last month by a former employee.
The agency suspended the former director of the Department of Transportation’s Capital Projects Division, Michael Babbitt, a day after he and a handful of other employees were named in a report from an employee alleging he sexually harassed her and other women.
The allegations were brought to the attention of the organization’s Executive Committee, which has opened an investigation into the allegations, officials said. Employees and officials from outside the department interviewed Babbitt before the investigation was launched.
The investigation, which is still taking place, will be overseen by the Agency for Management and Governance’s executive staff, officials said. The two people appointed to lead this investigation — former California State Controller Elaine Connell and former Los Angeles Superior Court judge Robert D. Hilder — are overseeing the investigation alongside Orange County Dist. Atty. David A. Zepp (pictured), who is also the lead investigator.
The investigation is expected to be concluded in February. If it clears Babbitt, it will be his last day on the job, officials said.
Agency officials announced the investigation on Wednesday night following an executive session discussion on a variety of issues. The meeting included Babbitt and the other employee who brought the allegations against him, as well as a handful of others who spoke about Babbitt’s time at the agency, including a former employee who said she was harassed by other members of his staff.
Babbitt allegedly touched her breasts after a meeting, made lewd comments, and threatened to fire her when she said she was pregnant with his baby. She said she asked him to leave early from a party after he was accused of propositioning her.
Babbitt, a former transportation official who was hired about a month later than the other women who came