Anaheim Mayor Addresses Conflict of Interest Issues

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Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has addressed the resignation of building division head Scott Fazekas, who had been under fire since revelation that his firm had been getting the lion’s share of the city’s outsourced plan check review work.

“We have to be concerned about perceptions of conflict,” Tait said Oct. 11 when asked about how outsourced work should be handled.

Tait said that as the co-owner of two consulting firms, he wouldn’t allow the city to contract with his companies. “For me, as mayor, it’s not OK to have a contract with the city of Anaheim,” Tait said.

He would not comment, however, on whether that standard extends to other public officials.

Fazekas resigned last week in the aftermath of a Voice of OC article that showed he had received the majority of the division’s outsourced plan review work during his tenure.

Fazekas’ company billed the city for at least $18,954 in building plan review work between his appointment late in 2009 and June of this year, according to city records. During that period, Fazekas’ firm received 80 percent of the city’s outsourced plan review work.

A clause in Fazekas’ contract bars him from being involved in any outsourcing decisions. He said others in the building division made the decisions to send plan check work to his firm.

“I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a perception of exactly what you’re talking about,” Fazekas said previously. “We specified that I would have no involvement.”

Tracy Westen, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, questioned that relationship between Fazekas and staffers working in the building division.

“That doesn’t strike me as a healthy relationship,” Westen said. “If a person’s working for you, they may be under some explicit or implicit psychological pressure to send contracts your way.”

— ADAM ELMAHREK

 

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