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.
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.