In Fullerton, reasonable people may be forgiven for their skepticism regarding the probity of the folks in City Hall causes them to consider cynical possibilities.
In this case, the object of scrutiny is once again our former Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has ditched Fullerton after years of working as a lobbyist on our dime. On her way out the door, Fitzgerald got some sort of gig with a company called Tripepi Smith, an outfit that hires itself out to governments to promote stuff like bond floatations and new taxes.
Well, so what? you say. Somebody at Tripepi Smith thinks Fitzy is a useful addition to their stable of government string pullers; and they also think there is some way in hell she can peddle her wares in Texas, where she has fled.
The thing of it is, Tripepi Smith was given a contract by the City of Fullerton in 2020 to broadcast City Council and Planning Commission meetings. But that’s not all. The first RFP went out early in the year and there was only one respondent. You guessed it: Tripepi Smith. The incumbent 25-year contractor cried foul, claiming he hadn’t been notified, despite assertions to the contrary from now-fired City Manager, Ken Domer. And it turns out that Domer’s second in charge, Antonia Graham, actually had a testimonial on Tripepi Smith’s web page from when she was employed by Huntington Beach.
The embarrassed council put the gig out to bid again in April, and in August 2020 Tripepi Smith was once again selected – over the incumbent – by a hand-picked collection of cities – one of whom Tripepi Smith actually works for.
Now, what Fitzgerald’s efforts in this peculiar procurement were is, of course, a matter of speculation. But we do know that she controlled what went on in City Hall, and we also know that when it came to personal opportunities, she never missed a trick. Was she in cahoots with Domer to make sure the applicant pool for this service was small and that Tripepi Smith would inevitably get the job? I can’t say. But I can say that a suspicious bid process was followed by some sort of personal opportunity for Jennifer Fitzgerald. That is all.