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A Coronado city official resigned, ending a month-long investigation after a video surfaced on social media alleging he and his wife made racist comments during an argument in January.

Roger Miller, Coronado’s director of recreation and golf services, agreed to leave his position effective March 2, effectively ending the investigation because he is no longer a city employee.

Miller lives in Temecula and had worked for the city of Coronado since 2009, according to his LinkedIn page. He was promoted to his current position in 2015 and earned nearly $205,000 in 2020, receiving a total of more than $272,000 in pay and benefits, according to Transparent California.

Coronado City Manager Tina Friend confirmed he will receive six months’ separation pay. She said in an interview that the city’s municipal code requires all city executive staff be given 90 days’ notice of a termination date, followed by a minimum of three months’ severance pay.

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The city will pay Miller a lump sum of $96,339, minus any applicable withholdings and deductions, according to the separation agreement.

Friend said in a statement Thursday: “This decision was made with careful consideration of the best interests of the city, our residents and our larger community. A resignation allows a separation to take place and the city to move forward without delay … I am confident that we upheld our process and came to a conclusion that was appropriate.”

The allegations first arose on Jan. 25 when a video circulating on social media showed Miller and a woman who was later identified as his wife, Sandra Miller, arguing with someone who was not on the video in a parking structure at a shopping mall in Newport Beach.

A social media post alleged the couple made racist statements to someone who is Asian before the video started, including that Chinese people are spreading COVID-19. The person who filmed the video has not been identified.

Although the couple were both shown arguing with someone and flipping them off, Miller is not shown on video saying racial slurs. Sandra can be heard saying “I love that we are not communism — I love that very much … America is a free country… Go back to China!”

Immediately following the incident, Coronado announced that it had placed an employee who was later identified as Miller on administrative leave pending an independent investigation.

Sandra Miller was terminated from her job at Linfield Christian School, a K-12 school in Temecula that serves nearly 800 students, on Jan. 31. Her job title at the school was not released.

During the course of Coronado’s investigation, investigators conducted interviews and reviewed materials related to the video, Friend said. However, the investigation was concluded with Miller’s resignation, and no further information was given regarding its findings due to it being a personnel matter, Friend added.

The Millers could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Friend says the city received hundreds of calls and emails and that she spoke with many residents in the community regarding the incident.

“There was a lot of pain and hurt … and I really feel I empathize with that incredibly,” she said. There were also “a lot of labels being put on the city and community, so this really had a tremendous negative impact on Coronado. It was very, very difficult, and so I am pleased that we’re able to resolve this and move forward.”

Friend says that the city will also take this as an opportunity to learn from the incident.

“I, as the leader of the city, really am taking this seriously about looking at our practices, looking at our training and having a lot of dialogue internally about how we can be better … (and) have greater awareness,” she added. “So I do want to move us forward. I do think that this is something that we can learn from.”

Moreover, Friend says Coronado wants to remain a welcoming place for all that does not tolerate any form of racism or other discrimination.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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