Did Santa Ana’s City Manager Violate Ethics Standards with his Endorsement of Alvarez?

Santa Ana City Manager Chief Paul Walters (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez is now a candidate for the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board.  In her candidate’s statement of qualifications, which is light on an actual record of achievement in education other than being an student, she lists the endorsement of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and Santa Ana City Manager and Police Chief Paul Walters.  A small error on the Mayor Pro Tem’s part, Walters is the Police Commissioner as he cannot legally be Police Chief AND City Manager whereas he could be the Police Chief and Acting City Manager.  Santa Ana currently does not have a police chief.

From her statement: “My experienced leadership, commitment to education and public safety earned me endorsements from Mayor Pulido and Police Chief Paul Walters.”

We were forwarded a copy of an email sent to Mr. Walters from former city commissioner Glen Stroud asking :

Mr. Walters, as City Manager and SAPD Commissioner, is it proper for you, a city employee, to endorse a standing city council member (your employer) for the election this November?

Glen Stroud

About a half-hour later, Walters replied:

Glen yes I checked and it is appropriate.  

We’ve sent email to the city’s PIO for some clarity on what governing body Walters checked with and what rule determined “it was appropriate” for Walters to lend his name in endorsing Alvarez. And we’ll update this post with his response once received.

Claudia Alvarez

Claudia Alvarez (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

According to the California City Managers Association, Walters endorsement of Alavrez’s candidacy may have violated their professional standards, which are adopted from the International City Manager’s Association.

From the group’s page of “standards,” there is this passage:

Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Nothing squishy about this — “all political” activity means “all political activity.”  And Alvarez is currently a member of Walters’ “employing legislative body.”

Founded in 1914, ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. Our mission and vision is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives worldwide. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to nearly 9,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.

Would anyone care to speculate on which governing body said it was OK for Walters to endorse Alvarez?

  14 comments for “Did Santa Ana’s City Manager Violate Ethics Standards with his Endorsement of Alvarez?

  1. junior
    August 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    It appears that Mr. Walters has been infected by the arrogance of Claudia Alvarez.

    I thought that Walters had more class than this.

  2. junior
    August 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    From the International Association of Chiefs of Police Model Policy on Standards of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers:

    Actions of officers that are inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with the values established by this agency negatively affect its reputation and that of its officers. It is the policy of this law enforcement agency that officers conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects the ethical standards consistent with the rules contained in this policy.

    Public Statements, Appearances, and Endorsements
    Officers shall not, under color of authority, unless expressly authorized, make any statements, speeches, or appearances that could reasonably be considered to represent the views of this agency.

    Political Activity
    Officers shall be guided by the following examples of prohibited political activities during working hours, while in uniform, or otherwise serving as a representative of this agency:
    Engage in any political activity.
    Use official authority to interfere with any election or interfere with the political actions of other employees or the general public;
    Participate in any type of political activity while in uniform.

    Santa Ana Police Commissioner Paul Walters may be able to manufacture excuses and technicalities that he has not violated Standards of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers. However, by endorsing a candidate for political office, he certainly has not lived up to the spirit of those standards.

  3. Post-Modern
    August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Good research Junior.

  4. August 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    According to the Voice of OC story, Walters got the OK from his lawyer.

    • Howard Be My Name
      August 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      He probably got an ok from Claudia too…

    • junior
      August 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it is the proper thing to do. The word “unseemly” comes to mind.

  5. junior
    August 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    “A number of us will have that personal message that we would hope and expect that the city manager not be involved in politics,” Benavides said. “It sends a bad message to the public, to the community. It should be a neutral role — a neutral position — so that everyone in the community could feel their best interests are being considered… without politics.”

    Well stated Councilman Benavides.

  6. Pedroza for City Council
    August 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Hahahaha. Pedroza says “Claudia stands up to racist Santa Ana residents whose only goal is to attack immigrants”. She also hates Jews and calls Jews “Hitler.” Jews are not a race, so that makes her a bigot. Isn’t Pedroza getting paid to do Claudia’s website?

  7. Marcus Wilson
    August 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Of course it’s probably legal, but it’s still unethical. It’s Paul Walters. What other kind of behavior could you expect?

  8. Repulsed
    August 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi all
    I was just over at New Santa Ana, I know, I know, I just can’t help myself sometimes! Anyway, I just wanted a place where I could comment on Pedroza. His venom, hate, and true racism is spiraling out of control. His attacks on Benevides and almost any non hispanic is reaching psychotic levels.
    I had to laugh, he was complimenting himself on his 20 years of marriage as if it had anything to do with true love. Neither one of them could leave now with the financial distress he put them in. They are stuck with each other hahahahaha

    • Dan Chmielewski
      August 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

      so does this mean his wife didn’t get the big rock aniversary ring for their 25th?

  9. Advantage Title Flunky
    August 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I wish I was married. Mother says no girls are allowed in my room with the door closed.

Comments are closed.