On Monday night, the Santa Ana City Council in a 5-0 decision, appointed Interim City Manager Paul Walters as City Manager after more than a year doing the job after the retirement of Dave Ream. The council also bestowed a new title of Police Commissioner upon Walters, so that he can continue his representation of the department to regional, state and federal agencies and special law enforcement task forces.
In an email dispatch several members of the council are quoted singing praises of Walters.
Mayor Miguel Pulido stated, “Paul has been an excellent leader in our community for more than 40 years. His high values, moral character and record of success make him the perfect City Manager to guide our city.”
Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez commented, “The Santa Ana community is very fortunate to have Paul Walters as its new city manager. Having devoted his entire career to our city, Paul has vast experience in successfully addressing the many diverse issues and challenges we face as a city our size. I’m proud to whole heartedly continue to support his efforts and thank him for the stability, strength and leadership he brings to the city. I look forward to continuing to work with him for many years to come.”
“We are very proud to have Chief Walters as our city manager. He more than proved himself this last year with the way he has handled our city budget issues and the contracting out of our Fire Service. We firmly believe the citizens of Santa Ana will continue to benefit from his leadership,” stated Council member Carlos Bustamante.
While the appointment of Walters was a foregone conclusion based upon an announcement at the previous Council meeting, Mayor Pulido still managed to trump public comment on the appointment. In what appeared to be a spur-of-the-moment decision, Pulido interrupted Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez at the beginning of her presentation of a Certificate of Recognition to the Segerstrom High School Girls Dance Team, to move item #50A up on the agenda for immediate consideration.
A speaker card had been submitted for comment on the item, and Pulido did call for the speaker to comment. But since the speaker had no reason to believe that the item would be moved on the agenda during the middle of recognitions, before all other business, the speaker was not in the room.
On the meeting video, Mayor Pulido can be seen consulting with Alvarez indicating his idea that the Dance Team could cheer on Walters appointment with their pom-poms. While his action did not technically violate the letter of the Brown Act, Pulido’s action did manage to sacrifice the right of the public to be heard prior to the Council taking it’s action in favor of pom-poms.
Voice of OC reported on Tuesday:
Walters’ three-year contract with two additional one-year renewal options gives him a $265,000 base annual salary. He is also to receive other benefits, such as medical and life insurance. Walters said he didn’t know the value of the additional benefits.
Congratulations to City Manager/Police Commissioner Paul Walters on his appointment. However, I must say shame on Mayor Miguel Pulido for failing to consider that his actions would subvert the right of the public to comment on such an important action by the Council.