Bustamante Fallout: County CEO First In Line

Tom Mauk

Yesterday afternoon, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach instructed Clerk of the Board Susan Novak to prepare and post an Agenda for a Special Meeting of the Board today at 3:00 p.m. The meeting puts the County CEO Tom Mauk in line to be the first executive management casualty resulting from the arrest of former Public Works manager Carlos Bustamante.

The meeting agenda is short, only four items and all for closed session:

It is alleged that Bustamante assaulted at least seven women between 2003 and 2011 while working in his official capacity at Orange County Public Works, most recently as an administrative manager. All of his seven charged victims were county employees, and subordinate to him at the time they were victimized.

The Voice of OC has reported that Mauk has come under fire for failing to take appropriate and timely action when the allegations first came to his attention.

Last October, Mauk, armed with an internal report, confronted Bustamante with allegations of his conduct and then allowed the married father of three children to resign his post but continue receiving his salary of more than $170,000 annually by placing him on a paid leave.

But that was not the first time Mauk had been made aware of Bustamante’s alleged conduct. A complaint had surfaced in March 2011. Yet at that time no specific action was taken to stop Bustamante’s actions, which Rackauckas now says continued unabated until his resignation in October.

Supervisor Bill Campbell, who was then board chairman, remembers that he told Mauk to look into the complaint and that it was referred to Human Resources. But because the county’s Human Resources department had been decentralized, it resulted in Bustamante being investigated by one of his own subordinates.

OC Supervisor John Moorlach – Photo: Chris Prevatt

It is not clear at this time whether Moorlach has the votes lined up yet to discipline or fire CEO Mauk. Historically, this Board has been apt to let things play out rather than take quick and decisive action. This situation may however be too sensational for the Board to wait before taking some action.

“The apparent failures in judgment in this case are staggering and massively disappointing,” asserted John Moorlach, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Tuesday in his regular email update.

“Anybody involved in this that either knew what was going on, should have known what was going on or dragged their feet in making sure the Board [of Supervisors] didn’t know … anybody in that chain can be expected to be dealt with,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson in an Voice of OC interview following Rackauckas’ announcement of the charges against Bustamante.

It looks as if Supervisors Moorlach and Nelson are motivated to act. They only need to convince one more of their colleagues to follow their lead.

  4 comments for “Bustamante Fallout: County CEO First In Line

  1. July 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

    So, once again, when one of Moorlach’s cronies whom he has consistently covered for and protected finally goes to far, He cuts them loose and feeds them to the wolves. Pretty soon, Moorlach won’t have anyone left to call “friend”.

    Why should the investigation stop at the CEO’s office? The Gang of Five are complicit in this. They had the reports, they knew Tommy Boy Mauk was covering for Bustamante and a host of others he deemed worthy of receiving huge salaries and benefits. Yet, they did nothing.

    Don’t expect anything to come of this. They may take Tommy Boy’s Escalade away from him (or at least make him use only one parking space from now on) but I doubt this is a firing offense, particularly in Bill Campbell’s eyes.

  2. dempatriot
    July 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    This reads like a cheap novel but sadly it’s all true. Tom Mauk was informed of Carlos’ misdeeds and this offending manager was put on paid leave and eventually dismissed. In the meantime Mauk orders an outside investigation which likely revealed some very damaging information and the manager was dismissed and rightfully so. This wasn’t just any manager but a sitting city council member who serves with Mauk’s assistant CEO Rob Richardson on the SA city council, Carlos’ buddy. But, one thing is certain and it is very likely that both Campbell and Moorlach (Board Chair and Vice Chair last year) were briefed on the confidential report and the intent to fire Carlos, a rising Republican star. It sure looks like this should have happened in 2003, not 9 years later though, too many victims over too many years. It will be interesting to see Mauk, Richardson, Campbell and Moorlach testify under oath in Carlos’ trial.

  3. CM Man
    July 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    What was Bustamante’s relationship with Costa Mesa’s Righeimer?

  4. July 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

    This line isn’t moving!

Comments are closed.