The Weasel Words of Dick Jones Regarding Joe Felz
After tonight’s Fullerton City Council meeting all signs point to City Manager Joe Felz being out of a job, likely from early retirement after he runs out the clock on his vacation time. Allow me to explain.
Joe Felz was a no-show at last night’s Council meeting and the City Attorney, Dick Jones, relayed a nothingburger of an apology from Felz during the Open Session and said that Felz was taking a 2-week leave of absence. Mr. Jones then requested that the council agendize an emergency* item for the same meeting, last night, to appoint an Acting City Manager which they did.
There is zero reason to appoint an Acting City Manager if somebody is on a voluntary leave for 2 weeks. Do we appoint an Acting City Manager anytime the City Manager goes on vacation? No. Was it an emergency? No. This is ridiculous. How ridiculous you ask? Well…
Pursuant to California Government Code we don’t even NEED a City Manager owing to Fullerton being a General Law City.
36501. The government of a general law city is vested in: (a) A city council of at least five members. (b) A city clerk. (c) A city treasurer. (d) A chief of police. (e) A fire chief. (f) Any subordinate officers or employees provided by law.
Notice that there is no “City Manager” on that list.
So our City Council just appointed a person, Gretchen Beatty, to a position that we don’t even legally need because our City Manager is on a 2-week leave. Funny how the City Attorney missed that little nuance in the law or as I like to call it – his job. Dick Jones asked that a non-issue be agendized unless of course more is going on behind the scenes that can’t be discussed with us common rabble known as residents.
Now here’s where the weasel words really come into play. Mr. Jones stated that Gretchen Beatty would be acting City Manager not until Felz came back from leave but rather until the City Council relieved her. He’s a lawyer who chooses his words carefully so this means something.
To really drive this point home it should be noted that during Public Comments people spoke up about the Joe Felz / Sappy McTree incident and Mr. Jones made a point that the details of the investigation couldn’t be released until this “Personnel Matter” is resolved. He also said that it was an ongoing criminal review and it would go to the D.A. for a “Potential Criminal Prosecution”. Further he said, and Mayor Fitzgerald asked him to repeat, that the Bodycam footage couldn’t be released pursuant to California Government Code 6254F.
So I read California Government Code 6254F. It does not say what he implies that it says. The actual code states (emphasis mine):
(f) Records of complaints to, or investigations conducted by, or records of intelligence information or security procedures of, the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, the Office of Emergency Services and any state or local police agency, or any investigatory or security files compiled by any other state or local police agency, or any investigatory or security files compiled by any other state or local agency for correctional, law enforcement, or licensing purposes. However, state and local law enforcement agencies shall disclose the names and addresses of persons involved in, or witnesses other than confidential informants to, the incident, the description of any property involved, the date, time, and location of the incident, all diagrams, statements of the parties involved in the incident, the statements of all witnesses, other than confidential informants, to the victims of an incident, or an authorized representative thereof, an insurance carrier against which a claim has been or might be made, and any person suffering bodily injury or property damage or loss, as the result of the incident caused by arson, burglary, fire, explosion, larceny, robbery, carjacking, vandalism, vehicle theft, or a crime as defined by subdivision (b) of Section 13951, unless the disclosure would endanger the safety of a witness or other person involved in the investigation, or unless disclosure would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation. However, this division does not require the disclosure of that portion of those investigative files that reflects the analysis or conclusions of the investigating officer.
For those wondering about “subdivision (b) of Section 13951” fret not folks I’ve got you covered.
(b)(1) “Crime” means a crime or public offense, wherever it may take place, that would constitute a misdemeanor or a felony if the crime had been committed in California by a competent adult.
City Manager Joe Felz tried to flee the scene of an accident, as witnessed by the person who called 911, and thus committed a misdemeanor therefore his actions fall into line with California Government Code 6254F in regards to disclosure. The only legal reason that I can see as to why the bodycam footage wouldn’t be released is because there is no criminal investigation and therefore privacy rights for Felz kick into play.
If there is an investigation it makes zero sense for it to be internal as even Former Chief Hughes’ said in his memo to Council that CHP would have been called if an investigation had been warranted. Legally it makes even less sense for the City Attorney’s firm to even be involved in this case as the job of the City Attorney is to defend the city, including the City Manager, during lawsuits filed against said entities. Conflict of Interest much?
As far as anybody can tell Joe Felz has not been arrested or charged with a crime and is on a “2-week leave of absence” and everything else that is being said is simply legalize for “let us handle this” like the old guard always handled corruption – by sweeping it under the rug.
Mayor Fitzgerald can act annoyed and ask the City Attorney to repeat his disingenuous nonsense as many times as she wants but the facts on the ground do not support what is being peddled by this city. If we had actual Police Oversight in Fullerton as prescribed by the likes of Jane Rands & Sean Paden, which Mayor Fitzgerald is against, we might be able to trust that this issue would be investigated properly and honestly but alas she put all of her faith in the F.P.D. and “Danny” when she was cashing all those donation checks and instead of doing the right thing she has led us here – to another potential scandal.
In an age when Conservatives and Liberals agree that accountability should matter and that criminal justice reform should be a priority we should keep in mind that people like Mayor Fitzgerald doesn’t share these opinions. We have a new Police Chief on the horizon so this City Council has the chance to do the right thing and bring actual police oversight to our fair city and with it try to restore some trust that is solely lacking. Or the establishmentarians like the Mayor will continue to cash their union election donations while putting the citizens of Fullerton last. Time will tell and we’ll be watching.
*Correction – the Agenda item was noted as “an emergency agenda item” and the “emergency” aspect of it would likely make it legal for the council to deal with it even though legally it wasn’t an emergency.
26 Replies to “The Weasel Words of Dick Jones Regarding Joe Felz”
So get the homeowner, who is the victim in this matter, to make a demand for the information.
Wait – Jones told the council to agendize an item for the SAME meeting? Did he also give some explanation of how this was not in violation of the Brown Act, because the Council cannot act on items until notice is given to the public that action may be taken on an item. At best, the council could vote to agendize the item for the next council meeting.
The Council can schedule an emergency meeting. it can’t do it on the spot. I don’t think that’s legal.
I think you stepped out at that point. Jennifer said it was an “Emergency Agenda Item” at the request of Dick Jones.
This cover-up is going to hang around Fitzy’s 19 inch neck like a stinking albatross. And that’s a good thing.
What did Whitaker and Sebourn say about all this Jones bullshit?
P.S. looks like city managers have their own version of POBR now. Watch for a disability retirement!
Joe he doesn’t need disability retirement. He was retiring anyways right now.
“Potential criminal investigation” = unadulterated bullshit. There is no personnel issue because there is nothing here related to his job as city manager – unless the council were to invoke the standard morals clause.
Fitzgerald has been using this donkey to get what she wants. She can’t afford this embarrassment.
Felz is gone. You don’t start a proper coverup by announcing an “ongoing criminal investigation.” The S.S. Felz is being abandoned after impact.
I told you that DannyBoy and Felz would be gone by the end of this year. They planned it that way anyways. This just allows him to be out the door before the Holidays. I asked you all earlier this year, who is going to take their spots but you ignored me, as they set it up for their right hand boys to takeover.
I always know.
Felz doesn’t have any right hand boys.
Assistant City Manager? that he just put in place last year?
Joe Felz is the Albert Pujols of city managers!
Considering how badly Albert Pujols has played since coming to the Angels, that might be a fair statement!
Sounds like Joe is out and Ms. Beatty is in for now.
2 down, not sure how many more we need to get out (probably a sh_t-load) but at least its a start. We need to get the Police Oversight committee to keep the FPD in order, possibly a recall to get rid of the rest, and then get good people in to run our city.
I’m tired of this bullsh_t, let get going!
“Potential Criminal Investigation”
No, that’s not what he said. He said “Ongoing criminal investigation.” Said it more than once.
What’s the difference? Probably nothing because I don’t believe any real investigation will take place. Just a waste of money hiring a special “investigator.”
Yeah, he did say that a few times. He said it would be sent to the DA for an potential criminal prosecution and I made the correction.
There is no evidence in terms of alcohol. There will be no prosecution. Hit and run? Will never hold up in court. It’s all smoke and mirrors trying to appease the haters.
That you agree that it’s smoke and mirrors just lends credence to the abject corruption of both City Hall and the FPD. A witness saw him attempt to flee the scene after the accident and reported it to 911 in what sounds like real time. Alcohol is irrelevant to that point.
He said it both ways, once with a stutter.
Check out this mornings OC Register story (http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-735592-felz-council.html) on last nights council meeting and Mr. Felz’s leave.
Interesting to note Flory’s question to city attorney about potential liability to the city, meaning mabey Joe could sue the city?
The City should sue Joe for the property damage, attorneys fees, and other associated costs.
Flory has been pulling out that card since her first tour of duty – back when Grover Cleveland was president. We can’t say anything or do anything ’cause we’ll be sued!
We really need to let investigation all work out prior to all this speculation and here say. Did everyone dislike Joe Felz prior to this incident? Or is somebody hungry for this position? It sure seems like it with these above comments. “Really” is Fullerton this crazed and anxious to recommend an political lynching without investigation results? There are two ways this can work out when you think about it, if Joe is guilty then the process will take it course, if the results prove he not let’s spin the wheels to take care of and focus on Fullerton and place this nonsense be hind us.
“if Joe is guilty then the process will take it course”
There is ample evidence of an ongoing cover-up, in which case Joe’s guilt won’t matter one bit. I guess you’re ok with that?
“place this nonsense behind us.”
Classic! The City manager gets tanked, drives drunk, destroys property, tries to run, uses his position to dodge responsibility and with the connivance of the Chief of Police gets ride home and tucked into bed. And you call that “nonsense?”
Typical. Never look back, mistakes were made (not by anyone, of course) things happen, certitude is impossible, let the in-house investigation play out. Blah fucking blah.