Oops! Is it Really All That Difficult?

Sharon Quirk-Silva
Pam Keller










Hey who is in charge over there at City Hall? Doesn’t anybody have a clue?

At their September 15, 2009 meeting, the Fullerton City Council deliberated over whether or not the Fullerton School District could get a two-year pass making annual payments on a $1,320,000 loan the District had received from the Redevelopment Agency for the renovation of Maple School nine years ago.

Without debating the merits of the proposal, we note that the suspension of payments was approved 5-0 by the City Council.

But wait! Both Sharon Quirk-Silva and Pam Keller are employees of the School District, and have no business voting on issues, especially financial issues, in which their employer is involved. If ever there were a case for recusal, this was it. At the meeting Mitch Hovey the Superintendent of the Fullerton School District was in the audience. Imagine that! You’re voting to defer over $50K in loan payments to the operation you work for and your boss is sitting in the front row! Hmmm. No bueno!

 We can’t imagine why it didn’t occur to either Keller or Quirk-Silva that there was an evident conflict of interest involved. Perhaps it never occurred to them because they see the District as some sort of charity, and doing favors for charities can’t possibly undermine the fiduciary responsibility that they have to the City of Fullerton. It’s all about the children, after all. But we merely speculate. Who really knows why they voted?

And even more baffling is why Richard Jones, the City Attorney failed to bring up this problem. Attorney Jones is paid, and paid a lot, to keep these meetings on the up and up, and keep his charges out of trouble, in loco parentis, as it were. Hmmm.

And finally we reserve a separate post for the performance by Mayor Don Bankhead, who really outdid himself on this item

16 Replies to “Oops! Is it Really All That Difficult?”

  1. These people just don’t seem to understand that you shouldn’t be voting on these things.

    Keller in particular is starting to look real shaky.

  2. Maybe the two of them thought they were insulated from the thing because they didn’t profit directly. if so they may have been wrong. I don’t know if a crime was committed, but it sure looks bad. They definitely should have recused themselves.

    And that idiot Jones should be fired immediately. He;s nothing but a lackey for the City Manager.

  3. Bingo, #3, you hit the proverbial nail on the had. They look at it as one big happy collaboration and fiduciary responsibility and ethics be damned. You can’t possibly do bad by doing good.

    I really think these gals are brain damaged.

  4. I read about that item in Sharon Kennedy’s paper. She missed this issue altogether. Birds (ostriches) of a feather….

  5. I think they would do anything that may benefit them directly or indirectly. They both know they should not have voted on this issue but thought it would slide by since it helps the schools. Not good.

  6. #7, it isn’t good. There is really no way to defend this, although I welcome any explanation from the principals in the drama, including the City Attorney, who is starting to look more and more like a guy who needs to be replaced.

  7. Thanks FFFF for writing about this. Makes you wonder how much crapola has been going on over the years by our councilmembers. What’s funny is Nelson keeps abstaining on downtown stuff just because he made some kind of loan to a business there.

    And where was Pam Keller’s “our wonderful Barbara Giasone”? Sitting in the front row simpering at her collaborators in City Hall!

  8. Welcome, Cody.

    Yes. A good question. Where was Barbara? unfortunately Barbara seems to think her job entails reprinting City Hall press releases. I don’t think it would ever even occur to her that something untoward would happen at a council meeting. It’s government, after all and they all like her so much.

    Of course the people who run that pathetic operation are all pretty much of the same mindset, so don’t look for any changes in the direction toward a real journalistic endeavor.

    1. I’d like to see that citation, too.

      Even if it got them off the hook it still leaves us with th problem of how employees can surrender their fiduciary responsibility to their electors simply because their own boss in another government agency says he needs the money.

      If Hovey got rid of one-quarter of a useless administrator each year he wouldn’t have had to have his employees vote to suspend payments. It’s great to know whose side these people are on (each others).

      In fact, he could have gotten rid of that %40 of Pam Keller that the Fullerton Collaborative doesn’t pay for. But oh no, there’s no conflict of interest there!

  9. If the opposition of needs and interests existed between Pam Keller, the Director of the Collaborative/FSD employee and Pam Keller, Board Member of the Redevelopment Agency, then an actual conflict exist.

    It appears a conflict of interest, aka a “work conflict” did exist at the time of the vote.

  10. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if government employees weren’t exempt from this sort of thing.

    Governments treat themselves as disinterested entities because it fits their notion of selflessness – i.e. its for the common good. I seen this time and time again, especially with CEQA documentation of government projects.

    But the idea that two government agencies might have competing agenda (as with the case above) is definitely problematic. There is an undenaible “practical” conflict of interest here.

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