Although it is not unheard of, it is rare in the County of Orange for a manager to leave their job and then shortly later receive a consulting contract from the department they worked in. Usually this happens when a manager retires and in that case they are brought on board to handle critical issues until their replacement is found. But when Jordan Brandman left his job at the County Clerk-Recorder’s office as a External Relations Manager, about a year after he was hired by then Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly, he picked up an unusual contract to study whether the department should open up a branch office. Voice of OC reports:
Brandman’s firm, Jordan Brandman Consulting, was to be paid $24,900 to prepare a facilities needs study on possibly opening a clerk-recorder’s department branch office in west Orange County, according to the contract.
The contract’s end date was supposed to be July 31, 2012. But then the county gave Brandman an extension through Jan. 31. His compensation amount was increased to $26,400, a contract amendment shows.
Initially, the Interim Clerk-Recorder Renee Ramirez had refused to release the work product produced by Brandman to the public because it was an incomplete draft. However, following the Voice of OC story, the report was released to county Supervisors, who then shared the report with Voice of OC investigative reported Adam Elmahrek.
To say that at two Supervisors were upset about what they received would be an understatement. Elmahrek reports today that Supervisor’s Moorlach and Spitzer are demanding answers from Ramirez.
After reviewing Brandman’s draft report, Supervisor John Moorlach estimated it could have been prepared in approximately five hours. At a going-rate of $200 per-hour, the work submitted so far should not have cost more than $1,000, Moorlach said.
County Supervisor Todd Spitzer questions whether Brandman should have been paid at all.
With the exception of one initial $4,800 payment, the contract, Spitzer notes, only allows Brandman to collect payments – in $4,800 installments – after “completion” of sections of the report.
Ramirez is one of the eleven candidates selected as a finalist for appointment to the Clerk-Recorded position by the Board of Supervisors. The position was vacated by Tom Daly who is now a State Assemblyman. While it is clear from records uncovered by Elmahrek that Daly was the decision maker regarding Brandman’s contract and its multiple extensions, Ramirez may end up suffering a consequence in her bid for the Clerk-Recorder position given her role as primary contact related to the contract and his performance.