On Friday afternoon the Orange County Board of Supervisors met in closed session to discuss, among other things, the fate of County CEO Tom Mauk. After the arrest of former OC Public Works executive and Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante on multiple felony charges of sexual assault, Mauk has come under fire for his handling of the matter. The meeting resulted in no action by the Board and further discussion was postponed to the July 24th Board meeting.
Specifically, Supervisors John Moorlach and Shawn Nelson see Mauk as being responsible, at least in part, for the failed investigations and cover up of the allegations against Bustamante. Supervisors are also now questioning the decision, authorized by Mauk, to pay Bustamante three months of severance pay in return for his agreement to not sue the county.
“The apparent failures in judgment in this case are staggering and massively disappointing,” wrote Board Chairman Moorlach in his email newsletter.
After calling the special closed session meeting, Moorlach told the Voice of OC the he would “prefer he [Mauk} just resign.”
Supervisor Nelson told the Voice of OC on Thursday:
“I know that Peter Hughes was jerked around,” Nelson said. “Peter Hughes was trying to get answers, and they were hidden from him on purpose.”
“And this wasn’t going to be turned over to the DA. That’s indisputable,” Nelson said, adding that top officials inside Public Works weren’t even disciplined until after Hughes audit report came to light.
So Tom Mauk will continue in his role as CEO for at least the next couple of weeks. While he has weathered confidence crisis’s before, none have struck this deep at the heart of his ability to manage the county. While he continues to hold the reins of power, Mauk is likely to be more of a Zombie CEO than an effective force in the Hall of Administration.