Joe Felz Sure Knows How to Pick ‘Em

Nicole Bernard
Nicole Bernard

Without comment (for now), and with emphasis and typing as originally delivered, I present a letter that was delivered from Anonymous City Staff;

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“November 11, 2016
Taxpayers, Council Members, City Staff, and concerned parties:

What would you do if you were made aware of a city employee who has caused numerous issues affecting the city including: failing to perform her job, creating a hostile work environment causing several city staff to quit and causing others to file complaints with the Manager and Human Relations Department, taking advantage of her close relationship with the your city manager, illegally allowing a Chevron lobbyist to conduct in-private hiring / personnel interviews with city applicants, illegal and inappropriate use of her city credit card to purchase among other things food and drinks for her personal and private enjoyment, stealing tax payer money by attending private functions on city time, ignoring calls and emails from business ·developers and others (who she doesn’t like or benefit from), purposely not setting up her city voicemail in an effort to avoid having to return calls from anyone, not being held accountable for official complaints sent in by non-city and city persons, constantly showing up late, constantly leaving early, not even understanding her job (however she recently started telling people she is the Assistant City Manager so maybe she does have authority to commit all of these actions regardless of the financial and other carnage.) Other areas of interest will be listed in the remainder of this letter. Will you ignore all of this or do something about it? Some of you may be aware of these issues or may have heard bits and pieces but you may not know the extent of the issues caused by Ms. Nicole Bernard.

But the question is, why has she been receiving all this preferential treatment under the protection of the City Manager even though H.R. is aware of it? Some believe it is because of her oddly close
relationship with City Manager Joe Felz. Later it will be explained just how odd this relationship is. To use Ms. Bernard’s words, “I get what I want.” Is there some inappropriate personal relationship, does she have something she has been holding over the City Manager’s head from her time in Redevelopment where a lot of money was involved in their budget, was there some deal made on bringing in certain businesses to the city, or is it he just has a certain fondness for Nicole? Several employees mentioned a time when Ms. Bernard told of rumors emanating that she and the city manager are having an affair and how other staff members questioned their relationship because of the promotions she keeps receiving She should not be having this type of conversation with any employee. But what if the rumor is true or is there some other reason she keeps getting promoted with ridiculous amounts of salary increases? As of today, Ms. Bernard makes an obscene amount of money, but by the end of the 2018 contract, she will make $145,000 plus 35% in benefits equaling about $195,000 per year which is the same as the City’s Human Resources Director.

Staff, including Directors, have stated there must be incriminating evidence she has on the city manager or they are sleeping together due to the promotion, which accompanied a large pay increase. Many people know she does not know her job and does not perform well. Complaints are continuously received against her for her lack of response to phone calls and emails from developers, individuals and companies. In fact, if you call her office phone number she does not have a voice message or name attached to her phone number. When asked the reason for not having her voice mail set up, her reply is that she doesn’t want to return anyone’s call and wants to hide in her office because she is far too busy. We are confident that if her previous Redevelopment co-workers were queried they would provide interesting insight to her work ethic and how she tries to pawn her work off onto them by way of her using her current title as a means of intimidation, as if this will accomplish her doing less and them doing more. This is poor customer service and a tactic to avoid people and accountability. She shirks her responsibilities. Her co-workers are unjustly compensated for the quantity of work they perform in comparison to her. Each can easily outperform her and do it well but they do not receive their fair share of compensation. She receives much more, very unfair and disparate.
She has stated that she caters specifically to the Korean community as this is Fullerton’s future and she will devote as much as she needs in order to bring their business to the city because that is where the money is and, “that’s what she is about.” She stated something along the line, “…they (Koreans) get the vip treatment from me but don’t get me wrong I am not a Korean lover and I don’t have to live here so I don’t care how many of them come in”. Is this the way Fullerton conducts business? Are there preferred ethnicities for city services? This sounds quite discriminatory and coming from an individual who has their own personal agenda. Oddly, since her latest promotion as Assistant to the City Manager or as Ms. Bernard puts it to outside colleagues, “Assistant City Manager”, she chooses the ethnicities that seem most lucrative but for her personal gain. She brings in Korean businesses, is recognized for this one portion of her job, and receives an obscene salary. So on one hand she uses the business owners but does not like Koreans?

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HE’S TRYING TO TAKE OFF! GET HIM!

joe-felz-up-close

Intrepid Friend, David Curlee, has got hold of mobile data computer log from the FPD patrol cars on the night City Manager, Joe Felz, was driving home after a night of campaign partying, jumped the curb on Glenwood Ave, ran over a tree, and tried to motor off. After that the Cone of Silence has descended on the incident thanks to the Fullerton Culture of Cover-up.

HCON3 is a dispatcher. U321 is a patrol unit. Note the time: 1:30-ish in the morning. Precisely the time the Felz incident occurred.

 

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Hmm. Twenty minutes of radio silence. Then another cop who must have been there decides that whatever happened, he ain’t a-talkin’. I wonder why not. No I don’t. And notice U321 isn’t saying anything, either.

Now, remember Barb Pollinger, the neighbor who called the cops in the first place? She said very clearly that driver of the vehicle”should have stopped.”

Is it possible that the MDC is describing an incident other than the madcap motoring of our City Manager? I suppose it’s possible. But it seems pretty implausible.

The witness talks about a suspect departing the scene of an accident. The log conveys the notion of someone in need of immediate apprehension.

I think what is being described here is a crime. If that’s true, then I would also think the actions of former Chief of Police Dan Hughes in ordering his troops to let Felz go without a breathalyzer analysis, to drive him home, to tuck him into bed and to forget the whole thing would also be a crime, obstruction of justice-wise. Our lawyer, Dick Jones, said that a criminal investigation was underway/remotely possible, but since the cops arrested no one that night, and since nobody has been charged with anything that I am aware of, what gives?

The City Council once again takes up the topic of Mr. Felz’s performance tomorrow night. It might be an interesting performance.

Who Watches the Watchers?

No news is good news...
No news is good news…

A while back Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker proposed the creation of an audit oversight committee, rather like the one they have at the County. His concern was that the City do more than just meet the bare minimum of accounting standards, but is actually doing the things that are legally required by some of our budget funds. This is called accounting for management. Are you curious to see how his colleagues felt about the idea? Enjoy this clip:

 

The head and the hat were a perfect fit.
The head and the hat were a perfect fit.

How entertaining! Bud Chaffee sees the proposal as bureaucratic metastasis and preposterously claims to want to reduce the number of city commissions! The proof of this big government liberal’s insincerity (okay, he’s a liar) can be found by counting the number of commissions proposed for elimination by Chaffee both before and after this escape of gas. What? You want a round number? How about the roundest number of all: 0.

The bars stayed open and the band played on...
The bars stayed open and the band played on…

Missus Flory chimes in with her generous offer to act as “interpreter” with her staff for Mr. David Curlee, who has actually uncovered evidence that the City government most assuredly did not want advertised: very possible misfeasance in the Brea Dam area accounting, (including out of fund transfers)  that could actually jeopardize the whole enterprise. Apart from the fact that Flory couldn’t understand the illegal water tax ripoff in 2012, she is hardly qualified to discuss accounting issues at all. She is so drenched in venom;  just look at the utter disdain she demonstrates for a “a few verbal allegations.”

 

I hear you. Well, no I don't, not at all.
I hear you. Well, no I don’t, not at all.

Finally we see our Lobbyist-Mayor buzz in. She “hears” what Whitaker is saying but her retort is that Fullerton only hires “experts.” She includes the lamentable example of hiring Michael Gennaco to oversee the FPD Culture of Corruption, one of the most egregious examples of a cover-up anybody could possibly think of (she says she’s proud of it!). She too, seems to believe that the “expert” accountants the City hires to look at the financial documents do anything other than make sure the numbers all add up at the end, don’t ruffle any feathers, and collect their fat taxpayer funded fees. Of course Ms. Lobbyist-Mayor’s statements are just as phony as Chaffee’s. See, un-expert Fitzgerald herself sits on a citizens’ audit oversight committee – for the Fullerton Joint Unified High School District. 

 

You pay the mortgage, we live in the palace...
You pay the mortgage, we live in the palace…

 

Well, Friends, there you have it.

The Brea Dam Denial

Trust us, the answers are buried in there somewhere…
Trust us, the answers are buried in there somewhere…

I began to question the City’s management of the Brea Dam in early 2015.

Numerous problems had one thing in common: Joe Felz‘ involvement during his tenure as Parks and Recreation Director, and then, again, during his transition into the City Manager role in 2010.   Who better to ask about these things than Joe himself?  I tried reaching him by e-mail.  After that failed, I tried calling instead.  He never returned my calls either.

Seeing that as a dead end, I requested copies of documentation from Parks & Recreation staff that I believed to be the responsibility of administrative manager Alice Loya.  Her name appeared on numerous City Council and Parks & Recreation agendas pertaining to the Brea Dam.

My initial records request was denied, in part, because they said the records didn’t exist.  I had requested from Ms. Loya very basic budget and profit/loss statements for the Fullerton Golf Course.  That’s when I knew my suspicions of mismanagement had at least some merit.  We pay the golf course expenses, yet Ms. Loya, whose job it is to supervise these things, could not produce anything of substance to justify the overall financial performance.  She instead offered what I’ve termed monthly invoicing “bundles”, so I requested a full 12 months.  This was the only way to reconcile financial performance over a full fiscal year.  I would later be shamed by the Fullerton Observer for making that request and others.  After all, I was wasting precious City staff time.

Over the summer of 2015, some friends and I studied these documents in depth, and we each came to the conclusion that something is very, very wrong up there. So wrong that, unless corrected, the US Army Corps of Engineers could revoke the lease and evict the City of Fullerton.  That could potentially force the closure of the Fullerton Golf Course, Fullerton Tennis Center, Fullerton Sports Complex, YMCA, Child Guidance Center, and Fullerton Community Nursery School — all of which occupy Brea Dam land leased from the Federal Government.  The Feds could also sue the City for failing to remit revenue.  Believe it or not, we could also face the wrath of the IRS because the bonds we sold to replace the golf course sprinkler system came with strings attached to the interest subsidy the City receives from the Feds. The list of problems just goes on and on and on…

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The Sherbeck Stadium Swindle

Fullerton College is going to ruin the nearby neighborhoods when they build the boondoggle that will be Sherbeck Stadium and they are going to use the fact that you residents didn’t yell at them as the very reason for building an unnecessary Stadium when there is already a High School stadium literally within walking distance of the College in a town with another already under-utilized stadium at C.S.U.F..

If you don’t want Fullerton College to go ahead with their plans you need to write a letter to them to tell them why you’re against it. You have until tomorrow, 03 December 2016, to get your letter postmarked & in the mail or they will ignore you and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself for sitting out on this issue.

I don’t even live in the neighborhood and I’m writing a letter on behalf of a friend of mine who does live in that neighborhood. Because I’m a friend and it affects both his and Fullerton’s future. That’s why I’m here in the first place.

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When It’s Better Not to Know

In management circles, claiming to be unaware and uninformed is one favored tactic to avoid responsibility for the bad behavior of subordinates. Sometimes unawareness is attributable to simple incompetence. Other times, it is intentional.

Our mayor is caught here taking the latter approach when the woman who witnessed Joe Felz’ drunken crash came forth to recount the details of the event:

The clip ends when the mayor cuts off this concerned citizen.

Now you all know that the city manager reports directly to the council. He is, in fact, the only employee for whom they are directly responsible. You might think the council would be interested in hearing a first hand report of their employee’s bad behavior. Perhaps recklessness, destruction of government property and abuse of authority are not qualities you seek when employing a municipal executive.

Nope. Not our mayor. Not in our town.

Felz After a Fortnight

The last official word we heard on the status of our City Manager post the Sappy McTree incident was that, besides apologizing, Joe Felz was on leave for 2 weeks.

The Official Story, if you recall, started on 15 November 2016 when the City Attorney, “The Other Dick Jones“, told us that City Manager Joe Felz would be on leave for 2-weeks which prompted Jones to ask Mayor Fitzgerald to immediately put forth an emergency motion to appoint Gretchen Beatty as “Acting City Manager” and once that was done she’d stay in the Acting City Manager position until the Council voted to remove Ms. Beatty from said position. None of this was 1) an emergency or 2) needed as legally we don’t need a City Manager but I don’t expect the City Attorney to bother with such details as State Law.

The pertinent issue is that nobody on Council bothered to ask timely questions on this matter and so the fact that there wouldn’t be a Council meeting 2 weeks later (yesterday) never came up. Now 2-weeks has passed with the next Council Meeting scheduled for 06 December 2016 and it’s at THAT meeting that the Council would have the first opportunity to remove Ms. Beatty from her Acting position in order to put Joe Felz into his chair again.

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Does that mean that Mr. Felz is back now twiddling his thumbs with nothing to do (2-weeks later as stated) or that he’ll stay gone until next week when the Council can remove Ms. Beatty from her Acting position or later due to the ongoing Felz/FPD investigation? Who knows with answers not exactly forthcoming from City Hall. We won’t even know if it’ll be on the Council Agenda until this coming Friday night.

As for the inevitable “What difference does a week make?” question I will posture that it speaks to the nature of our City Government and the way our city is run. It’s slapdash thinking & haphazard decisions over even such basic calendar items that showcases the culture in City Hall where there is almost zero attention paid to details. This sort of intellectual laziness is how we end up with unaccountable bureaucrats spending time in Las Vegas or elsewhere while the city bleeds red ink and puts our kids further into debt with only high-density boondoggles on, and blocking, the horizon in order to offset the bloated spending.

We shouldn’t have to point this sort of stuff out but our so-called leaders can’t be bothered to do the jobs they voluntarily took and that leaves us, the malcontents and rabble-rousers,  to do the job of making sure that somebody is paying attention.

The Slow Drip of Deficit Spending – Part 1 of an Endless Series

The Mayor likes to say that we have a “Balanced Budget” and that we’re making great strides on our roads, parks, et cetera. All of this in spite of closing the Hunt Branch Library, having rundown parks and having to beg, borrow and steal from our City reserves every year to keep the lights on. Why?

Oh, because we send people to Canada. That’s one reason why.

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We sent five people to Canada because apparently PowerPoint, Video Conferencing and YouTube don’t cost the taxpayers enough money.

As far as we can tell the City of Fullerton sent Anthony J. Bogart (Police Sergeant), Cesar A. Navarro (Lead Police Dispatcher)m Julie A. Langstaff (Police Technical Services Manager), Christopher J. Overtoom (Information Systems Assistant) & Helen M. Hall (Information Technology Manager) to a conference in Ontario about “Thinking Forward” in policing. But hey, at least according to the agenda they got to attend a Curling Bonspiel on our dime so it wasn’t a total waste of money.

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Stay tuned as we show off some more bang that we’re getting for our collective bucks.

The Mayor Game!

Arf!
Arf!

Yes, Favored Friends! It’s time once again to play…The Mayor Game!

Every December our illustrious city council elevates one of their own to assume the august tile “Mayor.” The Mayor of Fullerton gets to preside at meetings and that’s about it. Almost a kind of booby prize if you think about it. And yet our elected representatives lust after the title, particularly if there is an election the following November.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown...
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown…

For years the selection was fraught with political tension as the repuglican old guard, orchestrated by the odious Dick Ackerman contrived to keep Dems (and Chris Norby) from ascension to this lofty estate.  In recent years though, the process has become less political. The Council even adopted a process for non-partisan rotation in which it would be the turn of the that person serving longest without wearing the bejeweled tiara. This process is not enshrined in any law or code. It’s just sort of a Gentleman’s Agreement between people who really don’t trust each other – and for good reason.

The humble office of Mayor Pro Tem serves as the approach to the green and thence the flag.

Will the bonhomie last?

It was a rough landing...
It was not a smooth landing…

The current Mayor Pro Tem is my broomstick-wielding former mistress, Jan Flory, who will mercifully be out of office in a week or so. This means that it is Councilman Bruce Whitaker’s turn to shimmy up the greasy pole. Whitaker became mayor in the Fall of 2012, but it wasn’t without nervousness since it was well known that Flory and Bud Chaffee opposed him. But Jennifer Fitzgerald was given a directive and fell into line. But that was then.

What, me worry?
What, me worry?

 

Another wrinkle this time is that both Whitaker and Fitzgerald are rumored to be seeking the job of 4th District County Supervisor in 2018, and running with title of mayor next year would be just dandy, at least according to conventional wisdom.

So will the new council stick to its own policy or will they dump it? Will the new guy, Jesus Silva go along, or will he cut a deal with Fitzgerald and Chaffee to the exclude Whitaker? In the past it was not uncommon for councilmembers to gin up any stupid sort of excuse to keep the incumbent in place for another year.

In the end what it takes is three votes, and everything else is eyewash.

And now I must to attend to my nether parts.

Trust the System that Can’t be Trusted

Remember when Our Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald, had the City Attorney, “The Other Dick Jones“, repeat the city’s position on the Joe Felz alleged D.U.I. incident?

That they’re looking into it, via an outside investigative group without subpoena power that is answerable only to the City Brass, and that any potential criminal charges would be forwarded to the District Attorney?

It’s a good thing that we can trust the District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, to be interested in the law and to not be too cozy with Law Enforcement.

Oh wait. Nevermind.

In the latest episode of “You’ve Got to be F*^%ing Kidding Me” the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has kept the entire D.A.’s office off of the most high-profile shooting case in county history for misconduct. All because the D.A. is too cozy with Law Enforcement and doesn’t follow the law.

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