PALM DESERT – A candidate for the Palm Desert City Council has a Workplace Violence Restraining order filed against him that remains in effect through Nov. 1, 2019, according to court documents.
The Restraining Order was issued Nov. 2, 2016 in Riverside County Superior Court against Kenneth Doran, 58, who is retired. Doran is one of five people seeking one of two seats on the City Council in the Nov. 6 election.
The Restraining Order stems from five sworn statements from employees and a Riverside County Deputy Sheriff and Riverside County Sergeant. The 28 pages of sworn statements paint a frightening image of a belligerent, erratic, man using foul and offensive language in elevated tones to terrorize employees.
In one exchange, he said an employee had hung up on him and he wanted to talk to her manager. When told the manager was not available, he interrupted the employee saying that “No one is going to f**king hang up on him and he was not going to be treated that way.”
He also said he was going to head over and “f**king take care of this.”
In her sworn statement, Amber Molina, a Palm Desert city employee, said, “Based on Mr. Doran’s statements and actions, I am afraid of what he might do to me and to other city employees when he returns to City Hall.”
The vitriol stemmed from Doran learning he would not get an interview for senior management analyst, a job for which he said he was the “best qualified person for the position.”
The employee at the center of another exchange said she would get the Human Resources Director to give him a call. Doran argued with the employee saying such a position did not exist.
At one point, according to the sworn statement, Doran started “ranting and swearing, saying things, like … “You need to f*c*king clean house there.”
The employee said she was not going to tolerate his language and would hang up.
“He said, ‘You can’t hang up on me, damn it, you work for me, I’m a citizen.’ He was speaking quicker and more garbled by this point and I hung up,” Del Walker said in a sworn statement under penalty of perjury.
The Human Resource Director, in a sworn statement, described Doran as “unpredictable, highly agitated, aggressive, vulgar, and displaying a level of anger and hostility completely out of proportion to the matter at hand.” He has accused the city of illegal hiring practices and demanded to see employee qualifications and questioned their integrity.
When news isn’t what he wants to hear, he “burst into an angry tirade,” the Human Resources Director said in her statement. “His body language (fidgeting, clenching fists, grimacing) and raised voice, along with the use of curse words and threatening language make me and staff that comes in contact with him, very nervous. It seems like he may at any time escalate from angry words to physical contact, and because he is often unpredictable there’s no way to know when that might be.”
You may read all of the sworn statements and all details here.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials have been called in to de-escalate situations and monitor City Council meetings at which Doran is in attendance.
Doran, according to the Workplace Violence Restraining Order, is prohibited from coming within 100 yards of Palm Desert City Hall unless he is attending a City Council meeting and has first scheduled an appointment. In order to schedule an appointment, Doran must call and speak with a representative of the City Manager’s office. Doran must also schedule an appointment at least 24 hours in advance.
The persons protected by the order are “all city of Palm Desert employees,” according to court documents.
Should Doran violate the Restraining Order he may be sent to jail for up to one year, pay a fine of up to $1,000, or both, according to the court order.
“We may have additional employees or law enforcement staff on hand when Mr. Doran visits City Hall, but this is accomplished by diverting existing staff members from other tasks, not by paying for overtime or for additional staff,” City Manager Lauri Aylaian told Uken Report. “As example, when Mr. Doran came to City Hall to submit his candidacy paperwork, he specifically asked for me, in addition to the Deputy City Clerk, to meet with him. Ordinarily the City Clerk or Deputy City Clerk would be able to handle this meeting by herself. However, since I am already on staff and paid a set salary, there is no additional cost incurred for me to sit in on the meeting.
In addition to the Restraining Order, Doran has also filed three lawsuits against the city of Palm Desert in the past three years. Two have been dismissed; one is pending. The first was filed Sept. 4, 2015. You may read it here. It has been dismissed.
Doran’s second lawsuit was filed Feb. 19, 2016. You may read it here. It, too, has been dismissed.
His third lawsuit was filed Sept. 27, 2017. You may read it here. It is pending.
In addition to Doran, others seeking one of the two open seats in the Nov. 6 election are incumbents Sabby Jonathan and Jan Harnik and Carlos Pineda and Matt Monica.