BOOTH, THE SLEUTH, INVESTIGATES FOR THE TRUTH
Employee Spotlight on Veronica Booth
All detectives and investigators should have a snappy-sounding nickname.
“Everyone calls me Roni now. Someone once told me Veronica was too long.”
Those are the words of Veronica (Roni) Booth, whose entire career with Caltrans has been based on “upward mobility” and on-the-job training. She always wanted to work in the legal field and ultimately become an investigator.
Now, as a Caltrans Legal Investigator, Roni is celebrating 25 years of State service. On May 22, the District 7 Legal Division joined to celebrate and congratulate Roni upon receiving her gold-faced watch with a State Seal and a certificate signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
“From her very first day, Roni brought a high level of energy to her job,” said Linda Harrel, Deputy Chief Counsel. “Always eager to learn and improve, she has promoted from Legal Secretary, to Paralegal, to Legal Supervisor I and II and now, Investigator. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to each position and understands how important each position is and how they all fit together to make the Legal Division operate.”
Roni’s advice to others is, “If you qualify for an exam, always try to promote.”
After high school graduation at Franklin High in Los Angeles, Veronica Booth joined the State of California as an Office Assistant with the Controller’s Office. then to the Department of Rehabilitation in Pasadena working with counselors for handicapped and hearing-impaired persons. While there, she befriended, Ray Ruffolo, who encouraged her to apply for an opening with the Legal Division. Through Ray, she met Tony Ruffolo, (Ray’s brother) and District 7’s then Deputy Chief Counsel. In 1987, she moved laterally to become a Legal Secretary.
For the next five years she typed legal briefs and pleadings, filed court documents and learned about court rules, timelines and filing dates. By 1992, Roni promoted to Legal Support Supervisor I with the responsibility of 12 support staff. During that time, she was able to acquire two years of training for a Paralegal Certification. In 1999, Roni was promoted another level to Supervising Office Manager, which was a step closer for her to become a Litigation Specialist, or an investigator.
She asked a lot of questions and kept her eyes and ears open, as good investigators do. Then, one day in 2004 her supervisor, Jeanne Simmes, leaned against her open doorway and said, “So, I hear you want to be an investigator.”
Another two years of on-the-job training and development ensued. Roni spends three to four days a week doing fieldwork in steel-toe boots and jeans, taking photos on the freeway, re-enacting accident scenes, working with law enforcement and the California Highway Patrol and researching courthouse documents. Her day in the office is spent interviewing witnesses and catching up on paperwork.
Booth’s manager, Terry Hales, Staff Services Manager, Legal Division and Claims Office, says “Roni's dedication and can-do attitude in all tasks she undertakes has proven to be invaluable to the mission of this office.”
As one of only four investigators in District 7, Roni says, “I’ve always wanted to be an investigator. I knew I would love the fieldwork needed to assist lawyers with cases and lawsuits in defending the State of California. I admire those who investigate and interview witnesses. They are a select group.”
“Roni is a tremendous asset to the Legal Division, always a pleasure to work with; always happy and eager to help. She is an integral member of our Legal family and I have enjoyed working with her all these years,” says Harrel.
Oh, and in-between her career ladder climb, Veronica had three children and is now is a first-time grandmother. Now, that is upward mobility!