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Oceanside's Victor Roy stories go on

If the city council asks him to resign, will he?

Victor Roy's entourage
Victor Roy's entourage

Victor Roy, whose signature is used to certify the validity of checks issued by the City of Oceanside, says the reason he was viewing “inappropriate material” at a city library was because he was on a fact-finding mission to see if one could access naughty material at an Oceanside library.

Oceanside's city treasurer says he was doing this investigative work due to a citizen’s complaint.

But according to a report released this week by the City of Oceanside, Roy's lewd library investigation was a fraud. Plus, the report said he lied about being asked to leave by the librarian who saw him performing his peek-a-boo investigation.

“It would not be proper for an elected Treasurer to personally and confidentially investigate an allegation that library Wi-Fi filters were inadequately blocking inappropriate Internet material and never report the alleged concern,” the report stated.

The report was commissioned by the city of Oceanside who hired the Zappia Law Firm of Huntington Beach to get to the bottom of a public dustup between Roy, who serves in the largely ceremonial post of City Treasurer and full-timer city employee Steve Hodges. It is Hodges who actually makes the day-to-day decisions on how to increase Oceanside’s $450-million investment portfolio.

The rift went public when a June memo from Hodges about Roy was released. That memo, plus a contentious May meeting of the Citizens Investment Oversight Committee chaired by Roy, triggered the investigation.

Hodges claimed in that memo and verbally that Roy made inappropriate statements about Hodges’ colleague Becky Salvatierra who died in December 2021 while working for Oceanside. Roy's comments allegedly made about Salvatierra were redacted in the Zappia report, but Hodges and other city hall staffers indicate Roy repeatedly claimed she died from substance abuse.

While the Zappia report found that Roy was at fault over his library visit and his Salvatierra comments, it said other claims made by Hodges against Roy could not be proven. They include charges that Roy harassed employees, that Roy asked Hodges for political donations and that Roy cost the city “millions” for steering the city into bad investments.

The last assertion would seem hard to prove since Oceanside’s city treasurer makes no decisions on investments. Hodges claims that Roy would lobby Hodges to make high-risk investments with vendors who sold products that yield high commissions for the vendor but iffy returns for the city.

City attorney John Mullen says the Zappia Law Firm has yet to send the city a bill for its Victor Roy investigation, but that the city agreed to pay Zappia $350 per hour to compile the 31-page report.

Maybe just as explosive as the Victor Roy allegations initially made by Hodges were the reports that Hodges himself had a history that included a burglary conviction as a teenager (it was later expunged), and that he received $590,000 and $49,000 in litigious settlements from previous employers.

In July the city announced that Hodges would resign his position on November 1. Hodges agreed to not hold the city liable for any future litigation. The city agreed to pay him his annual salary and benefits (worth over $149,000 a year) and an additional one-time settlement of $49,000.

The city Treasurer position held by Roy is supposed to "oversee" investments. That position has no fixed hours and no actual job duties and pays $26,582 a year. Previous to Roy’s unwelcome publicity he would attend all city council meetings where he would sit at the dais with the city council, city manager and city attorney. He has failed to attend the last four city council meetings yet was in the city hall complex during some of those meetings according to city hall staffers.

One insider with knowledge of the Oceanside City Council says the council will likely vote on whether to write a letter asking Roy to resign immediately from the four-year elected position of treasurer. Roy’s term is not up for two years.

The city council can only ask. It can not force Roy to resign.

However, the city council can make it difficult for Roy to run again in 2024.

Assistant city manager Michael Gossman says he will forward to the city council (maybe as soon as its September 27 meeting) minimum requirements to run for the city treasurer position. He says those requirements may include having one of the following: a CPA (certified public accountant) license; a Chartered Financial Analyst license; or a four-year college degree that includes at least 16 units in relevant fields including accounting, finance or economics.

Similar thresholds are used by the City of Carlsbad for those who even want to get on the ballot to run for its treasurer position. Of the 18 cities in San Diego County, only Oceanside, Carlsbad and Escondido elect its treasurer.

Meanwhile, Hodges’ departure from the city on November 1 will likely bring in sweeping changes on how the city oversees its millions in investable cash. The city advertised for Hodges' replacement, but Gossman reports that he received only three applicants and none of them qualified for the Treasury Manager position. He says that when Hodges leaves, the city will likely abolish the Treasury Manager position and will instead use an outside firm. Grossman says many California cities use such firms but did not know exact numbers.

Gossman says that while the elimination of the Treasury Manager position will save the city money, it will diminish the overall return on the city’s investments since such firms take a cut of the investment income. He says the city will have to create a new accountant position to take over some of the job duties performed by Hodges.

Roy says in 1970 he earned a degree from UCLA in geography.

Attempts to reach Victor Roy for this story by phone and by email were unsuccessful.

Zappia’s Victor Roy report has other discrepancies besides Roy’s college degree. Dr. Rafe Trickey was the city treasurer before Roy, serving from 2016 through 2018. Trickey says part of the report is “...absolutely incorrect….[it] claims that previous city treasurer office holders were less engaged in the daily operations of the [office] than Victor Roy. I know for a fact that I was much more engaged in the daily operations…than Victor Roy. I was not interviewed during the course of this investigation and I assume former Financial Services Director Jane McPhderson [and members of the] Citizens Investment Oversight Committee] were not interviewed,”

Emails and phone calls to attorney Ed Zappia were not answered.

Roy was elected over incumbent Trickey in 2018. Trickey seemed to be caught off-guard by Roy’s aggressive street campaign which posted campaign signs prominently citywide. Also, Roy positioned himself as a champion of the mobile home parks where he would walk with a large “ROY” sandwich board.

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Victor Roy's entourage
Victor Roy's entourage

Victor Roy, whose signature is used to certify the validity of checks issued by the City of Oceanside, says the reason he was viewing “inappropriate material” at a city library was because he was on a fact-finding mission to see if one could access naughty material at an Oceanside library.

Oceanside's city treasurer says he was doing this investigative work due to a citizen’s complaint.

But according to a report released this week by the City of Oceanside, Roy's lewd library investigation was a fraud. Plus, the report said he lied about being asked to leave by the librarian who saw him performing his peek-a-boo investigation.

“It would not be proper for an elected Treasurer to personally and confidentially investigate an allegation that library Wi-Fi filters were inadequately blocking inappropriate Internet material and never report the alleged concern,” the report stated.

The report was commissioned by the city of Oceanside who hired the Zappia Law Firm of Huntington Beach to get to the bottom of a public dustup between Roy, who serves in the largely ceremonial post of City Treasurer and full-timer city employee Steve Hodges. It is Hodges who actually makes the day-to-day decisions on how to increase Oceanside’s $450-million investment portfolio.

The rift went public when a June memo from Hodges about Roy was released. That memo, plus a contentious May meeting of the Citizens Investment Oversight Committee chaired by Roy, triggered the investigation.

Hodges claimed in that memo and verbally that Roy made inappropriate statements about Hodges’ colleague Becky Salvatierra who died in December 2021 while working for Oceanside. Roy's comments allegedly made about Salvatierra were redacted in the Zappia report, but Hodges and other city hall staffers indicate Roy repeatedly claimed she died from substance abuse.

While the Zappia report found that Roy was at fault over his library visit and his Salvatierra comments, it said other claims made by Hodges against Roy could not be proven. They include charges that Roy harassed employees, that Roy asked Hodges for political donations and that Roy cost the city “millions” for steering the city into bad investments.

The last assertion would seem hard to prove since Oceanside’s city treasurer makes no decisions on investments. Hodges claims that Roy would lobby Hodges to make high-risk investments with vendors who sold products that yield high commissions for the vendor but iffy returns for the city.

City attorney John Mullen says the Zappia Law Firm has yet to send the city a bill for its Victor Roy investigation, but that the city agreed to pay Zappia $350 per hour to compile the 31-page report.

Maybe just as explosive as the Victor Roy allegations initially made by Hodges were the reports that Hodges himself had a history that included a burglary conviction as a teenager (it was later expunged), and that he received $590,000 and $49,000 in litigious settlements from previous employers.

In July the city announced that Hodges would resign his position on November 1. Hodges agreed to not hold the city liable for any future litigation. The city agreed to pay him his annual salary and benefits (worth over $149,000 a year) and an additional one-time settlement of $49,000.

The city Treasurer position held by Roy is supposed to "oversee" investments. That position has no fixed hours and no actual job duties and pays $26,582 a year. Previous to Roy’s unwelcome publicity he would attend all city council meetings where he would sit at the dais with the city council, city manager and city attorney. He has failed to attend the last four city council meetings yet was in the city hall complex during some of those meetings according to city hall staffers.

One insider with knowledge of the Oceanside City Council says the council will likely vote on whether to write a letter asking Roy to resign immediately from the four-year elected position of treasurer. Roy’s term is not up for two years.

The city council can only ask. It can not force Roy to resign.

However, the city council can make it difficult for Roy to run again in 2024.

Assistant city manager Michael Gossman says he will forward to the city council (maybe as soon as its September 27 meeting) minimum requirements to run for the city treasurer position. He says those requirements may include having one of the following: a CPA (certified public accountant) license; a Chartered Financial Analyst license; or a four-year college degree that includes at least 16 units in relevant fields including accounting, finance or economics.

Similar thresholds are used by the City of Carlsbad for those who even want to get on the ballot to run for its treasurer position. Of the 18 cities in San Diego County, only Oceanside, Carlsbad and Escondido elect its treasurer.

Meanwhile, Hodges’ departure from the city on November 1 will likely bring in sweeping changes on how the city oversees its millions in investable cash. The city advertised for Hodges' replacement, but Gossman reports that he received only three applicants and none of them qualified for the Treasury Manager position. He says that when Hodges leaves, the city will likely abolish the Treasury Manager position and will instead use an outside firm. Grossman says many California cities use such firms but did not know exact numbers.

Gossman says that while the elimination of the Treasury Manager position will save the city money, it will diminish the overall return on the city’s investments since such firms take a cut of the investment income. He says the city will have to create a new accountant position to take over some of the job duties performed by Hodges.

Roy says in 1970 he earned a degree from UCLA in geography.

Attempts to reach Victor Roy for this story by phone and by email were unsuccessful.

Zappia’s Victor Roy report has other discrepancies besides Roy’s college degree. Dr. Rafe Trickey was the city treasurer before Roy, serving from 2016 through 2018. Trickey says part of the report is “...absolutely incorrect….[it] claims that previous city treasurer office holders were less engaged in the daily operations of the [office] than Victor Roy. I know for a fact that I was much more engaged in the daily operations…than Victor Roy. I was not interviewed during the course of this investigation and I assume former Financial Services Director Jane McPhderson [and members of the] Citizens Investment Oversight Committee] were not interviewed,”

Emails and phone calls to attorney Ed Zappia were not answered.

Roy was elected over incumbent Trickey in 2018. Trickey seemed to be caught off-guard by Roy’s aggressive street campaign which posted campaign signs prominently citywide. Also, Roy positioned himself as a champion of the mobile home parks where he would walk with a large “ROY” sandwich board.

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