Tag Archives: Fullerton Police Department

Felz and Hughes become celebrities in Federal Court

Remember the OCDA investigator who faced the wrath of Rackauckas and his minions for suggesting former Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes be charged with criminal obstruction?

Abraham Santos and co-plaintiff Tom Conklin have recently filed a lawsuit in Federal court.  Be sure to read pages 23-24 where it talks about our esteemed former City Manager Joe Felz and his wild DUI ride home.  “JC” refers to FPD Sergeant Jeff Corbett.

https://www.fullertonsfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Santos-Conklin_v_Rackauckas.pdf

Enjoy!

Sonny’s Admission of Guilt

Those who saw my post from the other day would probably be interested in Sonny Siliceo’s misdemeanor plea and sentencing documents.

Once the Orange County DA took the Felony charge off the table, Sonny readily admitted to making a false police report, among other things:

On 7/9/15, I was a police officer employed by Fullerton Police Department and on this date I did use excessive force by assaulting John Doe while acting under the color of authority.  Additionally, I knowingly & intentionally filed a false police report with Fullerton Police Department in case number 15-44269, making a material false statement regarding the commission of a crime.

There you have it, everyone.  Sonny just admitted to being a corrupt police officer.  Now that he’s unemployed, one can only hope this is a positive step forward for the Fullerton Police Department.

The full document can be found here.

Former Fullerton Cop Sonny Siliceo to Serve Jail Time

Two of FPD’s worst now-terminated officers — Sonny Siliceo and Albert Rincon

Former Fullerton Police officer Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo — recently fired by the department — yesterday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of PC 149, Assault and Battery by Officer.  The conviction follows on the heels of a false police report filed by Siliceo accusing a man of resisting arrest.

What the Orange County DA press release conveniently left out is that Sonny was originally charged with PC 118.1, a Felony.  As is common with criminal cases, a plea bargain of a lesser charge was offered to avoid going to trial.

And what a bargain it was.  Not only did Sonny escape a Felony on his record, the plea deal ensured his CalPERS pension would be left intact.

Under California Govt. Code section 7522.72, a Felony conviction in the performance of official duties would have barred him from accruing additional CalPERS service credits after July 9, 2015 — the date of the crime.

Instead, Sonny remained on patrol until October 2016, and then on paid administrative leave for well over another year, all the while collecting a salary and accruing additional CalPERS credit.  Given Sonny’s salary of over $100K, and under the 3% @ age 50 retirement formula, the time between the July 2015 date of the crime and his February 2018 termination guarantees him an extra $7,000 to 8,000 per year (maybe more) until the day he dies.

This miscarriage of justice will net Sonny, currently age 52, an additional:

  • $283,977 to $324,545 — if he lives until age 82
  • $422,814 to $483,216 — if he lives until age 92.
    (figures include annual 2% COLA increases)

It is important to emphasize this is NOT the total size of his pension, it is the additional amount he will receive after the date of the crime he committed while on-duty.  He gets to keep this money because he was convicted of a Misdemeanor, not a Felony.

Quite the deal in return for a measly 30 days in Orange County Jail and three years of probation.  Crime really does pay when you’re a government employee and the DA has no desire to pursue a felony conviction.

The Petropulos Era is Over

The name Petropulos is long associated with Fullerton law enforcement circles.

John Petropulos was a Fullerton Police Officer between 1981 and 2010, rising to the position of Captain.  He also taught for many years at the Fullerton College Police Academy.  The chances are good that if someone you know attended the academy over the past decade or two, they know and have stories to tell about John Petropulos.

His son, Tim, was hired by the Fullerton Police Department in 2005 and was a Sergeant handling Internal Affairs.  Many believed Tim would follow in his dad’s footsteps, until he and Cpl. Brad Fernandes jumped ship this past week for the Irvine Police Department.

Tim’s departure is noteworthy because his transfer to Irvine PD came with a demotion from Sergeant to Police Officer.  Voluntary demotions are not unheard of, but certainly not the norm.

Adding to this strange turn of events, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel is currently married to Fullerton Police Lt. Kathryn Hamel, the sister of former Fullerton Police Captain George Crum.  Having a loved one in law enforcement is apparently necessary for upward and lateral mobility these days.

Lest anyone from the FPD come forward to bemoan that Fullerton doesn’t pay enough, you should know that Fullerton has paid less than other cities for a very long time.  This is nothing new.  So why are Fullerton Police officers quitting in droves for other departments?  Dan Hughes promised everyone for years this was now a reformed, and better-than-ever police department.  If true, why wouldn’t people want to stick around and be part of that?

Nails. Coffin. Dan Hughes’ legacy as police chief.  Meet your hammer.

One of the Worst Decisions

Your Fullerton City Council majority — consisting of Fitzgerald, Chaffee, and Silva — made one of the worst decisions in recent memory last night.

Desperate to protect their pensions, and to keep pension contributions at a minimum, the Fullerton Police Officer’s Association (FPOA) approached the City about extending their contract.  They voted yes.

CalPERS pension costs are skyrocketing as a result of poor investment returns, and far too optimistic rates of return.  To “correct” this problem, CalPERS is demanding the City of Fullerton pay more in the years ahead.  The table shows pension costs for FPOA members which consist of Police Officers, Police Corporals, Police Sergeants, and a small handful of non-sworn civilian employees, such as Police Dispatchers.

The table above uses the current fiscal year as a baseline (on the bottom row) to get a feel for the pain ahead.  Beyond the current fiscal year, the projected pension costs for FPOA employees will cost Fullerton residents — at the very least — an additional $12.3 million through June 2022.

That’s $12.3 million of new money the City of Fullerton doesn’t presently have.

The timeline of the FPOA contract status is illustrated above with the agreed to “concessions” which are disingenuous at best.  As noted, the contract extension runs to 2021 at the earliest, and possibly 2022 if FPOA decides to exercise that option.

You might be thinking to yourself, wait a minute, if their current contract expires June 30, 2019, why not negotiate a new contract at that time to get a better handle on the escalating pension costs?  That’s precisely the problem.  Instead of acting in good faith for Fullerton residents, council members Fitzgerald, Chaffee, and Silva rolled over to satisfy the public safety unions that paid big money to help them get elected.

The worst part about the FPOA contract, and the extension handed out last night, is the City cannot reopen negotiations to combat rising pension costs.  The promises are now etched in stone through 2021 or 2022 regardless of what CalPERS does.

All very troubling, not just for basic principles, but because the California Supreme Court is expected to rule in 2018 on the so-called “California Rule” which prevents government agencies from reducing already promised pension benefits.  The court’s decision will carry significant implications either way.  If they overturn or modify the “California Rule,” Fullerton could have sought to renegotiate FPOA pension benefits upon the expiration of the contract in June 2019 and saved Fullerton residents millions of dollars.  Conversely, if the “California Rule” is upheld, CalPERS will likely respond by further lowering the discount rate (assumed rate of return).  A lower discount rate will cost the City of Fullerton tens of millions more in the coming years.

At last night’s meeting, the introduction of a new financial forecasting tool was presented earlier in the night, before the FPOA extension came up for a vote.  The gentleman making the presentation noted that his model predicts a U.S. recession in the year 2020 — right in the middle of the FPOA extension.  I was at the meeting and brought this up when it came time for the FPOA vote.  I also pointed out that Fullerton’s brand new City Treasurer, who started on January 8th — just eight days prior — should be given a chance to review the FPOA proposal and offer his thoughts to the City Council.  After all, the existing FPOA contract didn’t expire for another 18 months, so what’s the rush?

Council member Sebourn registered his opposition to the FPOA proposal, and then, without another council member saying a word, it passed with a 3-2 vote, Sebourn and Whitaker voting no.

Last night’s recklessness puts us a couple steps closer to municipal bankruptcy.  When the Library is forced to cut hours or close completely, when Parks and Recreation has to shutter the community center, when Public Works has to stop paving streets and repairing broken water mains, you now know exactly which three council members to thank.  It was failure on full display.  As usual.

Musical Captains

It is official — Tom Oliveras and Bob Dunn are the new Captains of the Fullerton Police Department.

They replace Danny Hughes favorites John Siko and Scott Rudisil, who, pension spike completed, decided to retire.  Some in the department question the timing, openly wondering if new Chief Dave Hendricks helped to accelerate their departure.  Don’t be surprised if they land new jobs at The Mouse.  Dan Hughes pulled strings to get his buddy, Lt. Mike Chocek, a new job a Disneyland.  Chocek abruptly quit in 2017 for his new position at Disneyland.

Oliveras has been with the Fullerton PD since 1992, and has kept a low profile all these years.  That’s probably a good thing.

Bob Dunn is the fascinating choice, as he left the Anaheim Police Department as a Lieutenant, and was hired just days ago by the Fullerton Police Department as a Captain.

Why is this fascinating, you ask?  Because FFFF’s biggest fan, Lt. Andrew Goodrich, was rumored to want the empty Captain seat.  After completing a Master’s Degree in recent months from the prestigious Capella University, we’re told Goodrich viewed himself as the heir apparent for the Captain seat.  That is, until he was blindsided by the hiring of Dunn.

Oh well, Andrew Goodrich is more than welcome to leave Fullerton if he so chooses.

Your diploma is in the mail. No refunds.

Grant Funding: No Accountability

Fullerton’s increasing reliance on grant funding comes with one consistent problem — poor or no accountability across the board.  Last week, I wrote about the Police Department’s $3900 mini-freezer and was called out in the comments section as follows:

It was paid for with money from the state from Prop 69 you morons. You can purchase items that are related to dna collection. Google is your friend.

The commenter was likely referring to this notation where Captain Siko wrote “Prop 69 grant.”

Captain Siko, and the person leaving the comment, are both wrong.

They charged the freezer to special subprogram 6188, which is the Justice Assistance Grant 2016.  The page below is from the Chart of Accounts posted to the City website.

The Justice Assistance Grant is Federal funding offered to state and local law enforcement for various purposes.  JAG awards are not at all related to Prop 69 revenues.

Fullerton’s share of the funding comes via the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who is charged with managing compliance.  No lawyer is needed to see that Fullerton has a compliance problem.  The full agreement can be found here but I’m going to post a few snippets below.

2. SUBGRANTEE shall be reimbursed with said JAG funds only for expenditures
necessary to acquire personal property or equipment as set forth in Attachment A hereto
[hereinafter called “grant property and equipment”] or to perform such other grant functions, if
any, for which Attachment A specifies that SUBGRANTEE may utilize grant funds.

8. By executing this Agreement, SUBGRANTEE agrees to comply with and be fully
bound by this Agreement and all applicable provisions of Attachments A, B, C, D and E
hereto. SUBGRANTEE shall notify COUNTY immediately upon discovery that it has not
abided or no longer will abide by any applicable provision of this Agreement or Attachments A,
B, C, D or E hereto.

15. COUNTY may terminate this Agreement and be relieved of the payment of any
consideration to SUBGRANTEE if a) SUBGRANTEE fails to perform any of the covenants
contained in this Agreement, including the applicable terms of Attachments A, B, C, D and E
hereto, at the time and in the manner herein provided, or b) COUNTY loses funding under the
grant. In the event of termination, COUNTY may proceed with the work in any manner
deemed proper by COUNTY.

Now would be a good time Continue reading

Felz Gets a Trial Date

I’ll drink to that!

It’s been almost one year since former Fullerton City manager, Joe Felz, embarked on his infamous Wild Ride after an evening of drinking at election night parties in the Downtown Fullerton gin mills he worked so tirelessly to protect.

We all know how the drive home went wrong: Felz lost control of his vehicle on Glenwood Drive, drove over a tree, and tried to get away – in violation of the law. We also know that the Fullerton cops gave Joe a free pass and a ride home, many believe on the instructions of outgoing Cop-in-Charge, Danny “Gallahad” Hughes. That would be a crime, too – obstruction of justice, which is exactly what is asserted by District Attorney investigator, Abraham Santos.

Anyway, Felz has been charged with drunk driving by the DA, but the collusion to protect the City Manager has not been addressed and it never will be. That would set a very bad precedent, wouldn’t it?

On January 16, 2018 it looks like Wild Ride Felz is going to get his day in court as he has pleaded innocent to the charges. And since there is no evidence of his inebriation we all reckon the deal will be “dry reckless” driving, and case closed.


Rest assured, FFFF will be present to record and report the court proceedings.

Useless Conferences

I love going to conferences!

 

New procurement card policies are being implemented at City Hall this week.  That’s a good start and something to be cautiously optimistic about.

Until such changes extend to the merits of things like conferences and travel, any such reform will be of limited value because it’s all interrelated.  Employees from all departments have had a reputation of being sent to conferences, staying for a couple hours, then skipping out on the rest to play tourist, play golf, or be entertained.  Some have joked about these trips being “paycations” — as in the City pays them to go on vacation.

CalNENA is the California chapter of the National Emergency Number Association, a trade organization for 911 dispatchers.  Without any consideration for the City’s bleak financial outlook, or the value of such a trip, the Police Department sent two dispatchers to the annual conference in San Diego.  That shouldn’t be too expensive, right?

$1,467 for hotel rooms and parking, $1,200 for conference registration, $93.84 for mileage reimbursement, and probably $4,000 to 6,000 in wages, benefits, and potential overtime paid out to other employees to cover their absences.  Their union agreement has a provision that considers it a full workweek if they attend training for 3+ consecutive days.  I assume that provision applies here.

Ballpark cost of attending = $6,500 to 8,500.  So what did the City of Fullerton gain from this trip?  You tell me…

Continue reading

$3900 Mini Freezer

Another day, and another reason to question the fiscal insanity at the City of Fullerton.  The Police Department paid over $3900 for this freezer which is a mere 3.9 cubic feet in size.  The typical residential refrigerator-freezer holds anywhere from 18 to 25 cubic feet, so this unit is far smaller than it appears.

The police will be quick to say how essential this is to preserve forensic evidence like DNA.  I can’t fault them for buying a unit with temperature alarms, but you know what’s funny?  Medical grade freezers used by pharmacies, similar in size and features, cost anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 the price, maybe even less.

Wasteful spending is nothing new around here, but this serves as a great opportunity to look at the City’s flawed procurement policies.

The freezer was not purchased by the City’s Purchasing Agent.  The Police Department doesn’t think the City’s procurement rules apply to them, so they bypass City Hall in most cases, and order whatever they want themselves.

“Reasonable effort shall be made to obtain three or more competitive bids for procurement of goods or services.”  This sounds like a good policy except that it allows a City employee to solicit bids for their preferred piece of equipment, and preferred manufacturer, no matter how unnecessary or overpriced.

They didn’t get bids for a small freezer sufficient to store forensic evidence.  They got bids for this specific Follett FZR4P-00-00 freezer, which was already leaps and bounds more expensive than comparable options from other manufacturers.  Basically, we acquired the Mercedes-Benz of freezers, but that’s all fine and dandy because the Police Department got three bids as specified in the procurement policy.

There’s no excuse to overpay because somebody is too lazy to research alternatives perfectly acceptable in a similar work environment, and yet, the City of Fullerton does this over and over and over again.