|Currently out of the office and under a bus.|
The Pasadena Star News is reporting that City of Pasadena Mayor, Bill Bogaard, and the Townie Council have allowed the now un-diversified Andy Green and Siobhan Foster to commit seppeku in defense of the City Manager, Michael Beck. Both department heads came late in alleged culprit Danny Wooten's embezzlement career.
From 2003 through 2014, eleven years, a virtual Human Resources carousel of City Managers, Interim City Managers, Finance Directors, Public Works Directors, Acting Finance and Public Works Directors, and Interim Finance and Public Works Directors held sway over accounting processes that ultimately proved too complicated and unenforceable to properly safeguard Pasadena's vast treasuries of the people's gold.
It is fair to posit that none of the more than 15 high level managers who lounged in those comfy Aeron Ergodynamic high backed office thrones had any idea of what the actual process really was. The only person who seemed to have a clue was Mr. Wooten himself, and he chose to circumvent generally accepted accounting practices to the tune of $6.4 million embezzled dollars.
The real reason the residents of Pasadena and the KPAS-TV viewing audience were forced to sit through January 5th's televised City Council Meeting with its interminable Powerpoint presentations is so the Mayor, the City Council, and the City's Management Team could figure out what that process actually was - because none of them actually knew how to get actual work product done.
Sure, there were protocols in place - some of them implemented prior to the computer age, and all of them updated by some low level clerk who initialed their work, but where was the verification that the employees who did that work actually followed the rules? All the time?
In a culture where no one is encouraged to ask questions, suggest a better system, or take any sort of initiative, why is it surprising that an enterprising thief with an engaging smile and an air of proficiency could bulldoze his way through a paper trail of defenses most managers never took the time to read, fathom, or even discuss with their clerks?
Ms. Foster came on like gangbusters when she assumed the dictatorship of Public Works. First she obliterated any scent of her predecessor, Martin Pastucha, by consigning carefully chronicled historical data, and files existing nowhere else, to Reycle bins brought up from the basement.
Oh, let's back up. How did Ms. Foster come to Pasadena you may have asked (a question seemingly overlooked)? The dormouse records that the highly esteemed Martin Pastucha confronted Michael Beck over further budget/personnel cuts that the more experienced Director regarded as not only unwise, but departmental suicide. Within that year Ms. Foster was recruited from the City of Riverside (Michael Beck's former employer) and came onboard (even with a pending employee lawsuit against her), swinging from the rigging of the Public Works ship, slashing her way through the functions, the budget, the headcount, and the goodwill of the more than 250 employees left with only a union to defend them, to make the cuts Michael Beck was unable to pursuade Martin Pastucha to go with.
Twelve of the 14 departments under Michael Beck have come under new management since he began his tenure. Early in his ascendancy as City Manager, Michael Beck also took on the City employees' deeply entrenched unions, drawing accusations of union busting. There was much speculation that the City Council had brought him on for just such a purpose.
In a move which happened with lightning-like speed, the official City of Pasadena organization chart now reflects three vacant positions (Walsh, Green, and Foster). Didn't even pause to catch up with William "When PIOs Fly" Boyer's official announcement, which hasn't yet been posted to the Invoice Investigation tab. But lookey here, obliterating their names will not make the debacle that is the City of Pasadena's vast sum of embezzled taxpayer money reappear. Neither will playing a freakish game of whack-a-mole in PSN comments sections anytime Frank Girardot and his crack investigative team surface with another hard hitting expose.'
So all you folks clamoring for Beck's head on a pike tout suite, be assured Teflon Mike isn't in danger of losing his job anytime soon. Not only has he bought the allegiance of Green and Foster by allowing them to take leave of the City "without cause," and with a severance package the likes of which you and I will never ever see, T-Mike is also providing cover for the Rose City's elected treasures.
Was Beck himself assured of his term of office when he was hired by the Mayor (in collaboration with Council) as a guarantee against his union tactics and budget gutting leadership? We'll probably never know that answer, right up until the end.
Mayor Bogaard, or Torneck, or Robinson, or any other potential mayors may ultimately get to announce the resignation of Michael Beck, and to great personal advantage. But it is highly unlikely he will be summarily fired as a result of any recent events.
After all, he is Teflon Mike, and he has lots more work to do.