Bustamante: Still Lying, Still Denying

Busty Bustamante (Photo Credit OCWeekly)Santa Ana City Councilmember and Director of Administration for OC Public Works Carlos “Busty” Bustamante resigned from two state commission appointments in the wake of his comments last month regarding the appointment of Sandra Hutchens as Orange County Sheriff.

“Busty” had stated to Red County Blogger (Jubal) Matt Cunningham and LATimes reporter Christian Berthelsen; “I kept telling the Chief (Paul Walters – Santa Ana) maybe we should get you some implants, or a water bra.”

As of Thursday July 10th, Carlos was still denying he made the comment. His denial reminds me of the denials from a serial sexual harasser.

When an alleged comment is corroborated by two witnesses, the continued denial of the comment is simply not credible. Since “Busty” continues to deny he made the comments, County CEO Tom Mauk appears to be taking the position that the incident never happened.

Thus far, Mauk has refused to comment on the matter and has asserted that Mr. Bustamante was “on his own time and acting in his capacity as a private citizen and Santa Ana City Councilmember” at the time the alleged comments were made.

The problem with that story is that “Busty” is the Director of Administration, responsible for the OC Public Works Department Budget. He was required to be present at the Board of Supervisors meeting because of the budget hearings that day. As a county manager, “Busty” is paid for a full day of work if he shows up for two hours. Because he was present for the Budget hearings, he was most likely paid for the full day, although the County refuses to confirm this.

Bubba Busty“Busty’s” statement is clearly in conflict with county policy regarding sexual harassment and is certainly not conduct that is permitted under existing Equal Employment Opportunity regulations and polices of the county. In his position as Director of Administration, Bustamante also oversees the Human Resources Department.

OC CEO Tom MaukI doubt that Bustamante will receive any substantial discipline from the county for his conduct. Even if he does, since it is a personnel matter, it is likely we will never know for sure what if any action was taken. Since Mauk will not even repudiate “Busty’s” alleged comment as contrary to policy, I have to presume that Mauk agrees with and supports his conduct and comment.

In striking contrast to Mauk’s lack of action we have this from the Governor’s Deputy Press Secretary who declined to comment to the Orange County Register in detail on the decision of Bustamante to resign his appointments; “We hold all of our appointees to the highest standard of professional conduct.”

Lucky for Carlos, Orange County CEO Tom Mauk appears to not have the same level of standards. In fact, I see no evidence that he has any standards of professional conduct for his management staff at all.

In “Busty’s” resignation from his appointments he cites two reasons. One is his recent promotion to Director of Administration in March. The other is his involvement with the Santa Ana Business Bank as a member of its Board of Directors.

I’ve got to ask…

When “Busty” is attending the meetings of the Santa Ana Business Bank during his work day, is he taking time off in the form of vacation time? Or, like when he made his comments about Hutchen’s appointment, is he being paid by the taxpayers for a full day while conducting his personal business?

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