Water agency accuses one of its directors of taking documents

Daily Post Staff Writer

Valley Water board member Rebecca Eisenberg is under fire from her colleagues for taking a confidential report from Valley Water’s headquarters that details an investigation into whether she discriminated against men.

CEO Rick Callender published a memo on Thursday that includes a map of Eisenberg’s alleged heist, a by-minute timeline, interviews with employees in the building and two photos of Eisenberg carrying the 2,000-page report out the door and to her car.

Callender said if Eisenberg was his employee, then she would be placed on leave and potentially fired. He asked San Jose police to investigate.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office is reviewing the case for potential criminal charges, spokesman Sean Webby said.

The Valley Water board on Tuesday will talk about passing a “censure” resolution formally expressing their disapproval of Eisenberg’s actions.

Callender said he hasn’t read the report, but he believes it to include full names of witnesses who reported “illegal, discriminatory or harassing behavior.”

Worries about witnesses

Eisenberg taking the document could have a “chilling effect” on future witnesses coming forward, he said.

In an interview yesterday, Eisenberg criticized Callender for being narcissistic and Valley Water for being corrupt.

Eisenberg said the investigation and Callender’s memo are a distraction from Valley Water lying on a $2.8 billion loan application to expand a reservoir east of Gilroy — a project that Eisenberg opposes because of its cost and environmental impact.

“This is all a distraction from the main point,” she said. “The main point is this district has engaged in significant, significant corruption and malfeasance.”

Anti-male discrimination
The investigation started four weeks after Eisenberg took office in December 2022, when Callender accused her of discriminating against men.

Eisenberg allegedly said Valley Water should be led by a woman of color and hire women-led contractors. Flooding issues are happening because men “love to build things” using concrete, she said.

“Both male and female members of staff have directly expressed to me fear, concern and trepidation about past and potential future interactions with Director Eisenberg,” Callender wrote in a memo to the board on Jan. 23, 2023.

Eisenberg said the only people who complained about her are Callender and District Counsel Carlos Orellana, so the investigation should’ve never been opened in the first place.
Callender is projecting his own problems with rank-and-file employees onto her, she said.

“If staff are so afraid of me, why do they still come to me — to this day — to have me help protect them from the CEO?” she said. “A narcissist only sees as far as the mirror.”

Eisenberg gives her side

Eisenberg said the investigation has been unusual every step of the way, and her lawyer Connie Yu advised her to get a copy of the report for “integrity purposes.” The fear is that the district would change portions of the report.

Eisenberg said she has only skimmed the report and hasn’t shown it to anyone else. Nobody from Valley Water has asked for it back, she said.

A San Jose police officer called her on Wednesday and said he was looking into her for petty theft, Eisenberg said.

She said she told him that she is entitled to a copy of the report and that she wasn’t trying to conceal that she took it.

Matt Keller, a spokesman for Valley Water, said yesterday that the board will decide whether the report gets released to the public.

“It really is the board’s thing,” he said.

The investigation cost Valley Water $587,498, Keller said.

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