By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County’s CEO is under fire as county department heads are calling on him to step down. They say county executive Navdeep Gill created a culture of racism, sexism, and bullying within the county government.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye is among other county officials who signed a letter alleging Gill has fostered a dangerous atmosphere that prevented officials from protecting Sacramento County from the pandemic.

“I just felt that the truth needed to be known,” Dr. Kasirye said.

The two-page document says Gill has a pattern of targeted abuse at women, especially women of color.

“Being yelled at and being demeaned and isolated and being left out of important decisions,” Kasirye said.

credit: Sacramento County Board of Supervisors

It also claims Gill is creating barriers for the public health team to do its work and has a history of underinvestment in public health, slowing down the county’s response to the pandemic. 

“I did request that we declare a health emergency. He reminded me he was in control of the resources and that he could take this whole thing over. It does impact our ability to do our job,” Kasirye said.

Information sent to CBS13 from Gill’s office claims the county has allocated $72 million in coronavirus relief fund money and approved $16 million in grants to combat the pandemic. But County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy says it’s not clear where the money has gone.

“He handled the whole CARES Act funding for COVID-19 very poorly and then following that, he showed a disregard for a seriousness of the situation by holding a meeting with 40 department heads where none of the protocols were followed,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said one person tested positive for coronavirus after that October meeting.

READ MORE: Person Tests Positive For COVID-19 After In-Person Meeting With Top Sacramento County Officials

“It’s a complete disregard for rules that the county itself has established,” Kennedy said.

He echos the claims in the letter that allege Gill’s office is not following public health protocols like wearing masks.

“I would like to see his resignation,” Kennedy said.

 

In a statement to CBS13, Gill said, “I categorically deny any allegations of wrongdoing and cannot comment further as it is a personnel matter.”

Kennedy says if Gill chooses not to resign he could potentially be fired if four out of the five-county board members make that decision.

More from CBS Sacramento: