Too busy this week to post much, but I want to mention two items.
ONE: The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) is investigating Dr. Deutsch. They responded to my request to look into what I see is a conflict of interest. We all know that we need medical staff on the hospital board; that’s not the issue. What is the issue is that without the Alameda Healthcare District (AHD) board’s annual vote to levy the parcel tax on us, the hospital could not afford to exist. Through his practice and clinic located within the hospital walls, Dr. Deutsch earns over $200K per year. As a board member, he has never recused himself from this annual AHD vote. This is a serious conflict of interest. Stay tuned; I am waiting to hear what the FPPC says, and too, what the witnesses to this conflict say in writing to the FPPC. Those witnesses are Hospital CEO Deborah Stebbins, AHD Board president Jordan Battani, and City Councilmember Rob Bonta (prior AHD board member). They know far more than I about the dependence of Deutsch’s private practice and clinic on the hospital.
TWO: Back to our future. Interesting in today’s Alameda Sun, John Knox White writes about the financial instability of our city….which is exactly why so many of us are perturbed at the fiduciary irresponsibility shown by Mayor Gilmore… in her decisions to put two charter officers on administrative leave, costing us an unnecessary additional $200K+. And of course, we all know that Mayor Gilmore acted in haste, irrationally, and without respect for our city charter. Here’s the point that is so important that I find it must be revisited:
In the 12/28/2010 city council meeting agenda, Mayor Gilmore lists this agenda item:
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE
which according to Acting City Attorney Mooney (ACA), in her 1/25/2011 Letter, does not violate The Brown Act: Mayor Gilmore was not in violation of Brown Act Section 54954.5 which allows the City Council to discuss in closed session any public employee without disclosing that employee’s position/title. The Brown Act says:
“PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE (No additional information is required in connection with a closed session to consider discipline, dismissal, or release of a public employee. Discipline include potential reduction of compensation.)”
So we’re good on that point, right? Yes.
But then ACA Mooney goes on to also state that the Interim City Manager (ICM) has not been removed, that the actions of the new city council to place Gallant on administrative leave do not comprise a removal, that Gallant remains the ICM, and therefore the city charter has not been violated. HUH?
Because the acts of putting two charter officials on administrative leave were conducted under this agenda item and those acts were not disciplinary, then those acts must be either dismissals or removals which is the EXACT thing our city charter proscribes the new mayor and city council from doing.
So which is it??
1. Mayor Gilmore violated The Brown Act in her 12/28/2010 agenda and meeting, and was not discussing a dismissal or removal, in which case she did not violate the city charter and Gallant remains the ICM
2. the Mayor did not violate The Brown Act in her 12/28/2010 agenda and meeting, and was discussing a dismissal or removal, in which case Mayor Gilmore violated the city charter and Gallant has been removed from her position.
IT CANNOT BE TRUE THAT NEITHER WERE VIOLATED. Yet that is exactly what ACA Mooney claims.
We now live in Oz. These are the irrational, self-serving, costly (to our city coffers and the city’s faltering management), acts that comprise abuse to our system by those in positions of authority. The facts are outrageous. How have Alamedans allowed this to happen? Why has this been not only tolerated but lauded by those who claim to value sunshine and transparency (which implies legality) in our city government?!?!
No matter which side of the fence you are on—whether you voted for Mayor Gilmore or not, whether you agree with her agendas or not—you should be upset by any elected official that behaves with this kind of flagrant disregard for our laws, and wiley interpretations of esteemed and highly effective/functional documents. This is a well-thought out and orchestrated campaign to behave without the maturity and prudence the Brown Act and the Alameda City Charter are meant to secure and protect for us so that the governance of the City of Alameda takes the time to do it right, get it right, and do their best for us. They haven’t. They aren’t. And we have a right to make them back up, retrace their steps and do it properly.
Message to elected officials (mayor, city council, and AHD board): step up and get on board the Good Government bus…or feel free to throw yourself under the bus. It’s not too late to raise your hand, cry foul on yourself, and do what’s right. It’s up to you; it’s your choice. It’s our city and we want things done right, done well, above board, and with Alamedans’ best interest (not yours) first and foremost. And it’s funny, isn’t it: that you think the success of your political career is not contradicted, or harmed, by your playing fast and loose with our laws and medical standards….