Over the weekend I reviewed some of the old LiberalOC posts about the 2008 scandal where Carlos Bustamante got away with making sexist and inappropriate remarks about Sheriff appointee Sandra Hutchens in the Hall of Administration and in front of an LATimes reporter. Looking back, it appears that the dysfunction of the County Public Works Department, and CEO Tom Mauk’s oversight of management was readily apparent.
Below is one of our publisher Chris Prevatt’s more tame commentaries on the subject.
Author’s Note: For the record, the opinions and statements expressed in this post, and others I have written in the past, reflect my personal opinions and not those of any organizations or individuals with whom I may be presently or formerly affiliated.
OC Register investigative reporter Norberto Santana followed up with Orange County CEO Tom Mauk on Carlos “Busty” Bustamante’s comments regarding implants, water bras, and the appointment of Sheriff Hutchens. I first wrote about this on June 13th. In my most recent post almost a month ago on July 14th, Bustamante: Still Lying, Still Denying, I reported that County CEO Mauk, wouldn’t talk about Carlos. He would not even comment about the alleged comment that Busty made.
In case you’ve forgotten what he said… 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.
Mauk’s conversation with Norberto at the Register marks the first time we have heard boo from Mr. Maukgoo. To quote from Norberto’s story in Total Buzz:
He’s telling the County CEO that he never said the remark. “He still maintains he didn’t say it,” said County CEO Tom Mauk.
Mauk told me, “I’ve met with him on more than one occasion to discuss the whole Sheriff Hutchens situation and management issues in general.”
Mauk’s sense of the comments, if true, are clear: “As respects to the comments that were reported, we’re all disgusted.”
When I chided Mauk on the age-old, “I was misquoted” defense of officials – and pointed out that nobody is disputing the remark… except Bustamante, he wryly responded, “We do our own investigations.”
Carlos Busty Bustamante, in addition to being Director of Administration for the OC Public Works department, is a member of the Santa Ana City Council representing Ward 3. Friday, August 8th marked the filing deadline for the Ward 3 Santa Ana City Council race. Busty has drawn three opponents. Orange School Board Trustee Steve Rocco, Orange Juice Blogger Art Pedroza, and Anna Rebecka Valencia-Verdin, have stepped up to the challenge.
Will Busty get dumped by the voters in November? Will they replace him with the nut job Steve Rocco; the blogger Art Pedroza who believes that the Santa Ana Police Department cares enough about his blog posts to harass and follow him; or the unknown woman who has jumped out of nowhere to slap Carlos in his water bra, Anna Rebecka Valencia-Verdin? Will Tom Mauk ever start or complete an investigation of Busty’s comments?
The only thing for certain here is that Norberto is better at getting Mr. Maukgoo to speak to the issue. Too bad Maukgoo cannot see how much allowing Busty to get away with his remarks tarnishes his own reputation as a manager as well as the County policies that prohibit such comments.
On Friday Norberto Santana, now the Editor in Chief of Voice of OC, wrote about the long-awaited internal probe into Orange County Public Works department which reveals a dysfunctional organization plagued with meddling from county supervisors’ offices and CEO Tom Mauk on contracts for influential contractors as well as on property improvements for select constituents.
From Santana’s story:
The report, obtained by Voice of OC, found that “past OC Public Works executive leadership has created cultures of favoritism, poor communication, organizational manipulation, and discrimination that have spawned low morale, distrust, and fear within OCPW.”
The report also found that a poorly staffed county Human Resources division was a major factor in creating an environment in which allegations of sexual misconduct against executive manager Carlos Bustamante were not handled properly. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has charged Bustamante, who is also a Santa Ana city councilman, with more than a dozen sex crimes against at least seven women who worked for him over an eight-year period.
“Acts and omissions by OCPW Human Resources in carrying out its duties in the hiring, investigation, enforcement, and disciplinary processes contributed significantly to the creation of this environment with OCPW,” the report noted.
On Sunday, the LATimes published a lengthy story from reporter Nicole Santa Cruz recapping the history of the allegations made against Carlos Bustamante and the weaknesses of the County’s process for handling sexual harassment complaints.
Allegations that the ex-county official had harassed female workers were apparently ignored and mishandled for nearly a year before criminal charges were filed.
One thing is abundantly clear in retrospect, if not at the time. Carlos Bustamante was a cancer affecting the highest levels of County of Orange management. There were opportunities for both CEO Tom Mauk and the Board of Supervisors to take action. Either the people responsible for management and oversight chose to ignore the evidence of problems in front of them, or they were simply blind.
You can review all of the commentary on Carlos Bustamante, Tom Mauk, and the water bra “joke” from 2008 here.