Magicians have been making things disappear for a long time. In fact it’s a staple of the repertoire. Making a public employee position come and go is harder. That’s because in a public agency budgeted positions, like money, have to be approved by the governing board in the first place. And once budgeted they never go away.
And yet somehow, during the year of her re-election bid, lobbyist-mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald demanded, and got, a special assistant from Joe Felz to help her with her mayoral chores, without getting any authorization from the city council to create a new position.
The individual in question is called Gladys Blankenship, who is probably a very nice person. Here she describes the scope of her “official” position on Linkedin. Check out the second bullet point. The rest is ginned up bureaucratic nonsense.
• Participate in special projects to develop and implement new processes, develop and standardize practices, assist in streamlining methods for improving existing ordinance and procedures
• Schedule and prepare all appointments and meetings for the Mayor of Fullerton
• Provide office support for Mayor, City Manager and Economic Development Manager
• Provide research for ongoing projects being presented to City Council
• Provide knowledge and personal opinions on subject matters being presented in City Council and Economic Development Commission meetings
• Perform clerical duties requiring the application of subject matter knowledge and interpretation of policies, rules and procedures
• Provide assistance in preparation of draft and/or final form of material such as, memoranda, letters, reports, requests, etc., as assigned
• Check, compile and assemble records information in preparation for City Council meetings
• Assist in preparing and distributing agendas and related materials to various committees
• Maintain and update ongoing projects, records and office filing systems for both the Economic Development Department and Commission
• Provide information, including explanation of policies, procedures, rules and regulations, to City personnel and general public
• Copy, file and appropriately dispose of sensitive documents
• Record actions of meetings attended and transcribe taped records into minute format
• Maintain subject matter files and records
• Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
Looks like the deal was supposed to be that once Fitzgerald was safely re-elected, Ms. Blankenship would be quietly moved to another department where, presumably, a vacant budgeted slot existed to receive her tab. And we may safely infer that deal, since that is precisely what has happened; and Ms. Blankenship’s previous job has not been filled, nor will it be under new mayor, Bruce Whitaker.
Ms. Fitzgerald spent a lot of time during the election year lying about Fullerton’s allegedly balanced budget. It isn’t balanced, and hasn’t been for five years – ever since she came on to the city council. And now we discover that while the tide of red ink was rising ever higher, Fitzgerald demanded, and got, an employee all to herself.