Mr. Mauk, what will you do about Carlos?

Last Tuesday, OC Public Works Director of Administration, Carlos Bustamante made what some in the Red blogosphere call a “funny and on point joke.”

Christian and I were discussing the vote. At that point, Carlos walked into the building. he and I shook hands and commiserated about the vote. I told Carlos that I was explaining to Christian why I thought it was, ultimately, a gender-driven appointment. That’s when Carlos made the comment, at which I chuckled because I a) thought it was funny and b) that it was on point. - Jubal (Red County Magazine).

The funny joke was “I kept telling the Chief (Walters) maybe we should get you some implants, or a water bra.”

What is not funny is that Carlos Bustamante was not on his own time and speaking as a private citizen contrary to what the Public Information Office says…

Mr. Bustamante’s alleged comments at Tuesdays Board Meeting were made in his capacity as a Santa Ana Councilmember and private citizen.  

First, Mr. Bustamante’s “joke” is no longer alleged, since the two people he made it to have confirmed that he made the joke. Second, as Director of Administration for OC Public Works, Bustamante had walked into the Hall of Administration for the budget hearings. He made his “joke” while on county time and in his capacity as a senior county executive who oversees Human Resources for his Agency. But even if he had been off work that day, or at that time, it is the policy of the County of Orange that such comments are not tolerated.

By what measure are current and future employees to gauge the commitment of county to this policy if a senior executive is permitted to engage in such embarrassing and intolerable behavior? How can anyone trust the commitment of executive management to uphold sexual harassment policies if a Director of Administration is permitted to hold his position in management after making such a “joke?”

The Personnel and Salary Resolution adopted in 2003 establishes the following related to senior management officials, which Carlos Bustamante is:

Section 5. Senior Management Officials (Executive Management – Group III)

A. All Executive Management employees, other than Agency/Department Heads, shall serve at the pleasure of the Agency/Department Head (i.e. At Will).

B. Group III Executive Management employees may be released from County service at any time, without notice, cause or rights of appeal or right to reduce to a lower level position, by the Agency Department Head.

The bottom line here is quite simple really. If Carlos Bustamante is to remain in his position as Director of Administration for OC Public Works it will be At County CEO Tom Mauk’s Will. So what’s it going to be? Will the bad behavior of senior managers once again be ignored?

Will Tom Mauk stand on the side of integrity? Or will he stand with one of the boys?

  27 comments for “Mr. Mauk, what will you do about Carlos?

  1. June 16, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Great post, Chris, but if Mauk actually disciplines Busty (from now and forever more, Carlos’ nickname!), I owe you lunch.

  2. June 16, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I think I will need to start bringing my lunch, or starve. :(

     

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    June 16, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Busty at least needs to apologize for lying about making a joke to the LA Times.

  4. Sean H. Mill
    June 16, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Janet needs to apologize to the residents and elected officials of the First District for ignoring our choice for Sheriff, Paul Walters.

    She thumbed her nose at the district and the police chiefs from around the county.

    Carlos’ comment may have been in bad taste, but Janet’s vote was just bad.

  5. June 16, 2008 at 10:57 am

    …and in his capacity as a senior county executive who oversees Human Resources for his Agency.

    How is that? If Carlos had come over and said, “Hey Matt, nice to see you” is that an official statement from the OC Public Works Department?

    But even if he had been off work that day, or at that time, it is the policy of the County of Orange that such comments are not tolerated.

    Is this the section of the policy to which you’re referring?:

    “Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to the following, when such acts or behavior come within the above:

    *off-duty conduct which falls within any of the above and affects the work environment;

    You’d have a great difficulty successfully arguing Carlos’ comment “falls within any of the above” let alone that it “affects the work environment.”

    The same policy also states:

    “Occasional, isolated, sporadic, or trivial acts that are simply annoying in nature may not constitute harassment. Nonetheless, Agencies and Departments are expected to investigate and remedy promptly any seemingly minor acts of harassment to avoid the development of a hostile work environment.”

    Note the terms “occasional, isolated, sporadic or trivial.” Not exactly the open-and-shut case you”re making it out to be, Chris.

    For a guy who was on the receiving end of a witch hunt, you’re awfully quick to stack the fire wood around the stake when it comes to someone else, Chris.

    And in case Gustavo whines that I’m “covering for Carlos,” let me say again: that’s a mighty convenient, self-serving criteria: disagree with Gustavo and you are ipso facto “covering” for Carlos.

    Finally, I agree with Dan that Carlos needs to apologize for denying he made the comment.

  6. June 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Okay Jubal,

    If Rob Richardson, Deputy CEO had made the “joke” in the same setting, would it be acceptable? What if it had been made by Carlos’ boss Brian Speegle or Carl Crown the Director of County HR? Would it be acceptable then? I think not.

    All of these individuals hold key leadership positions in county administration. Anything they say publicly can describe their attitudes and commitment to county policies. Added weight applies to comments made while they are on duty. Even isolated comments, while not violations of law, may serve to effect the ability of management to credibly enforce county policies and proceedures.

    Isolated or not, the “joke” was made at the expense of the credibikity of an organization that employs more than 18,000 people. It is a “joke” that should not, and by any standard of integrity can not, be tolerated from a senior management official.

  7. June 16, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Chris,

    Great post, but when is the DPOC going to after this guy and put up a candidate to take him out? The fact is, Democratic Mayor MIguel Pulido supported him for Supervisor and is propping him up even now. You guys need to beat him so you can brag about the Council being all Democratic.

  8. June 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Art:

    Remember: you promised on your blog that you would run against Carlos if noo one else filed.

  9. June 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Chris:

    Who made the joke is immaterial to the points I’ve been making.

  10. June 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Does your standard only apply to senior county management?

  11. June 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Art,

    Just because one of your pajaritos hasn”t told you anything doesn’t mean nothing is happening. The filing deadline has not hit yet.

    Jubal,

    Giver Bustamante’s position, tacitly supported by Mauk, how is any woman expected to believe she will have a fair opportunity for advancement in any county department?

    Or for that matter, a man without implants or a water bra?

  12. June 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    You’re the one who’s whining, Matt, calling people names and trotting out the PC card. Me? Laughing at how increasingly thin-skinned you’re getting.

  13. June 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    My position applies to anyone in a management position. When you make a public statement while on county time and business what you say reflects on the county. If you are a member of senior management it really doesn’t matter what your are doing. Senior management serves at will. If Tom Mauk is having dinner at CPK and a reporter overhears him making the same joke, he should, and I hope would, be held accountable.

  14. Northcountystorm
    June 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    The statement was inappropriate at any location in the County Building. Chris limits that to management employees but any County employee who made that comment at a County facility in front of a reporter should be subject to at least a verbal warning from their supervisor if not a letter of reprimand, depending on whether the individual had any prior history of inappropriate behavior such as this.

    Someone in management like Bustamante should know better. By saying this in front of a reporter it has the same effect as saying it in front of 100 employees. The p.r. response that he was speaking in his capacity as a Santa Ana Councilmember and private citizen is off the mark because of his status and the location he would be at least in a dual capacity. I understand how Mauk may want to distance himself from Bustamante’s behavior but he really can’t and he should do verbal counseling and, if Bustamante has any history as a County employee of sexual harassment or inappropriate comments, at least a letter of recommendation or more, depending again on the prior history. I don’t think Dave Ream would agree that Bustamante was speaking in his capacity as a Santa Ana Councilmember.

    Bustamante should admit he lied and admit what he said was stupid and inexcusable. He should apologize to the new sheriff and, in an appropriate manner after consulting with his supervisor, to other County employees. If this is the only instance of inappropriate humour or conduct than I suspect a verbal warning/counseling by his supervisor is appropriate. it was stupid but it is an isolated instance and without more would not constitute a hostile work environment. However if the County fails to do at least this they are setting themselves up if there is repeated conduct of allowing a hostile environment to exist. And of course, if Bustamante has a record of inapprorpiate remarks or conduct that create a hostile work environment than a verbal warning/counseling won’t suffice.

  15. June 16, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    You’re the one who’s whining, Matt, calling people names and trotting out the PC card. Me? Laughing at how increasingly thin-skinned you’re getting.

    Unsurprising since you’ve added little else to the discussion other than lamely dismissing contrary viewpoints as “cover” or “being think-skinned.”

  16. June 16, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    that should read “thin-skinned.”

  17. June 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    When you make a public statement while on county time and business what you say reflects on the county.

    But you said that applies to county employees even on their private time?

  18. June 16, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Giver Bustamante’s position, tacitly supported by Mauk, how is any woman expected to believe she will have a fair opportunity for advancement in any county department?

    Did Carlos say a qualified woman shouldn’t be promoted?

    His comment used humor — lame or not — to make a point: that gender was a major factor in tipping the necessary two votes in Hutchens favor.

    Which has nothing to do with whether a qualified female county employee will be eligible for promotion.

  19. June 16, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Says you, o master of cover. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  20. June 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Mr. Arellano, would you please return to your desk so we can get on with the class?

  21. Misha Houser
    June 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    If I can put it into a little different context than what has been discussed so far…Bustamante’s comments effectively dismissed the intelligence of Hutchens, Bates, Nguyen. He has insinuated that two female supervisors aren’t smart enough to look past their gender to make an intelligent choice for Sheriff.

    Reducing a woman’s talent and intelligence to her cup size is an old trick and nothing new. It’s still unwelcome in any capacity.

    Jubal, You don’t have to think so, but you’re not one of the women who may now BELIEVE that they didn’t get a promotion because Bustamante has little respect for their gender.

  22. Dan Chmielewski
    June 16, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Matt — address the issue that Busty lied when he denied uttering the statement; good thing it wasn’t under oath or we’d have to impeach him.

  23. Jubal
    June 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Dan:

    I’ve already addressed it a couple of times.

  24. Yikes!
    June 16, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Holy Smokes! Sure looks like Jubal has been spending a lot of time here to the exclusion of RC.
    Call from Busty:
    “Hey Jubal. Could you please give this sexist thing a rest?You are killing me here. And WHAT were you thinking corroborating my statements to the LA Times and then you said it was “funny’?! I’m toast! Could you please just stick to the OC GOP line and let this blow over? Thanks. Carlos”.

  25. June 17, 2008 at 11:51 am

    “Janet needs to apologize to the residents and elected officials of the First District for ignoring our choice for Sheriff, Paul Walters.

    She thumbed her nose at the district and the police chiefs from around the county.

    Carlos’ comment may have been in bad taste, but Janet’s vote was just bad.”

    She get to it right after Sal Tinajero apologizes to the residents of Santa Ana for thumbing his nose at them and ignoring their wishes to keep me on EPIC.

    In addition, the entire Santa Ana City Council should resign in shame for failing to enforce the Code of Conduct demanded by the voters in which honesty was demanded. Carlos Bustamante outright lied about even making any comment. Several sources have came forward and told us all that Carlos Bustamante did indeed lie.

    So after Sal Tinajero apologizes to us all, the entire Santa Ana city Council should apologizes for disregarding the will of the voters.

  26. just...asking?
    June 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    TAG,

    “Janet needs to apologize to the residents and elected officials of the First District for ignoring our choice for Sheriff, Paul Walters.

    Huh! Just who is the “our” your referring to? You? The Juice? Last time I checked only 5 votes counted for supervisor actions. I must have missed the election when you were elected supervisor. Must have been a re-count!

    Chief Walters and Sheriff Hutchens were accepted as the two best and most qualified of many who applied to fill the role. Nobody complained about Sheriff Hutchens, who happened to be a woman, then.

    By the way, you wanted Chief Walters, you got what you wanted in Santa Ana. Or did you just want to get rid of Chief Walters and dump him on the County?

    Deal with it, Sheriff Hutchens it is!

    Oh, and just received my invitation to her swearing in ceremony, hope to see you there supporting our OCSD.

    Tuesday June 24th
    Reception begins at 8:30 am
    Ceremony at 9:00 am
    Where: Old County Courthouse, 211 W. Santa Ana

  27. June 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    just …asking?

    If you read all the comments, you will see that the one you attributed to me, was actually in quotation marks. Someone else said it, I just resonded to it.

    I thought that Sandra Hutchens was far and away the better choice and I still do.

    Crime in Santa Ana is out of control and everyone from the top down lies about it. If you can’t run Santa Ana, how in the hell could you run Orange County?

Comments are closed.