New Top County Attorney Promises to Get Moving on Disclosure Review

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Incoming Orange County Counsel Leon Page said this week that his office will be moving forward with the “comprehensive review” of employees’ financial disclosure requirements that supervisors’ Chairman Todd Spitzer ordered four months ago but hasn’t yet begun.

Following a Voice of OC article on the issue, Page said he’s fully on board with Spitzer’s directive.

“My office will be developing information as directed by the Board of Supervisors,” Page said Wednesday when asked about the review.

In early March, Spitzer ordered the county counsel’s office to check whether county department heads and outside agencies have been properly listing all the positions that should be required to file the disclosures, known as Form 700s.

State law requires that lists of Form 700 filers include any county job where the worker is involved in decisions that could affect his or her outside financial interests, and therefore present a possible conflict of interest.

Spitzer’s order came soon after Voice of OC revealed that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas wasn’t including his chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, on the list of employees who have to disclose.

Schroeder ultimately filed the disclosures in June after the county counsel’s office suggested that fines be levied against her if she doesn’t file.

On Tuesday, Spitzer refuted allegations that the purpose of his directive was to embarrass Rackauckas and Schroeder, two of his chief political foes.

In an exchange with Spitzer in the comments field below Tuesday’s Voice of OC article, former county political aide David Zenger questioned why the county counsel’s office hadn’t started the review months later, other than forcing Schroeder to file.

“So far as I can tell this little episode is nothing more than an attempt to make Susan Schroeder look bad, and of course your continued and manic scramble to confuse ethics with legal reporting requirements,” Zenger wrote to Spitzer.

Spitzer says that’s nonsense, and that the review is a common-sense measure to ensure certain employees aren’t being wrongly exempted from having to file.

“A list of job descriptions is coming to the board directly without any vetting from anybody,” Spitzer told Voice of OC.  “I don’t know what all these people’s job duties are…that would be impossible for a county supervisor to know.”

As for the more four-month delay in getting started, Spitzer said the county counsel’s office has had to figure out “who is going to do this, who would be charged with really drilling down and understanding all these categories.”

“They are significantly overworked, and they’ve got significant things on their plate,” Spitzer said.  “No one’s ignoring it.”

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

  • OCservant_Leader

    Spritzer & Page can thank Former CEO Tom Mauk for simplifying this for you when he erased approximately 100 different Management Job Descriptions into his 3- Band scheme.

    Those job descriptions were getting in the way in placing and promoting EAs and family members into the bureaucracy.

    As a result there is no rhyme or reason – to who “in writing” does what? Remember Danley “we have the wrong people in the wrong jobs” confession. They are still there.

    It is designed this way.
    Spritzer needs categories to get started? There are 3. Start with Executives. Then Band 3-2-1.

    In theory- the higher the Band the more influence you have. Not at the OC. It depends on who you are connected to. You can be a Band 3- who is quarantined relegated to counting phone calls or a Band 1- selecting evaluation panels for procurement- teeing up the award.

    Not much will turn up because they lie on the forms anyway.

    Who should read them? Only a trusted family member should screen. This would be a great job for the DAs wife.

    Put them on the Internet. Let the public and media connect the dots.

  • David Zenger

    Well, this is fun.

    Spitzer is exclaiming how important this is and yet the Board Directive – from him – is ignored by CoCo for months.

    Here’s how it works: the Board Directives are documented in a log maintained by the Clerk of the Board until they are addressed. In other words, Spitzer also let this slide himself, in apparent contradiction to its alleged importance.

    Why? Inertia? Incompetence? A fire in the district?

    I made the perfectly reasonable surmise that it was because Susan Kang had already complied and the issue was no longer necessary as a political device. Nonsense? Whatever you say, Todd.

    As a final note, the responsibility of Form 700 docs filing lays with the Clerk of the Board, as well – guess what? – a direct employee of the Board of Supervisors. There never was any need to drag the County Counsel into this farce – unless of course, it was your aim to elevate the thing into some sort of “legal” issue to embarrass a political enemy.

  • John Claxton

    Chairman Spitzer, give Jimbo over at CoCo a call. He’s the senior atty who represents the PA PG. He spends a lot of his day commenting on these stories and on other sites as well. He’s in the714 so he’s easy to find and apparently doesn’t have enough to do.

    • OCservant_Leader

      I figured as much. Thanks!

      • the714

        Calling you two out on your uninformed rants about the Public Guardian doesn’t take much of my time, and I believe that setting the record straight is part of my job.

        • OCservant_Leader

          Shut-it

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    Seems like Page is in over his head from the git go. This is simple stuff.

    • John Claxton

      I have had dealings with Page. He is as unethical as they come. He has coveted this top job for a while now. He would throw his mother under the bus if it was the will of the BOS. He has ruined many good peoples careers by going to any length to protect the county’s corrupt way. It’s sad really.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        I agree with your assessment. I am one of the county employees that he took glee in destroying. I came out of it ok but I learned – there is no justice or protection for any county employee who reports wrongdoing.Tell the truth, report unethical or illegal activity – Page will do anything to curry favor by destroying anyone who dares speak up. Lesson here – you have NO protection, if you see or are told to do something unethical or illegal – get out. transfer or retire. You WILL be the fall person if it goes sideways. Saying that the CEO, BOS or Department head ordered or made me do it will not fly = they will circle the wagons and make you look stupid as they deny every telling you to do anything. Page once said, “I like suing people”. Gives one a clue to his personality.

        • OCservant_Leader

          Oh No! Not another corrupt one! There are two types of Managers who survive the OC collusion:

          1.Turn a few tricks upon demand but justify it to protect their home & family

          2. PD (personality disorder) meets power

          If you run into the first kind – you can work with them. They generally have some skills and recognize you have to do some shady things to stay in favor but don’t enjoy it.

          The second type truly enjoy and feed off of the high of destroying employees and stealing from the public.

          Kathleen speaks the truth and gives good advice to you employees not part of collusion. She is very brave to tell her story – most retirees just stay quiet. She is doing this because she obviously cares about the County- which is a rarity amongst long-timers.

          Most are so battered and angry – you can’t blame them for just going away. It is a sad reality for those not involved in the corruption.

          I’m not surprised about the news of Page – I had some past dealings with him- I knew he must be in “test balloon” phase. That’s where a rising star will begin to appear – everywhere – outside of their expertise to see if they have any personal ethics which may get in the way of the ugly assignment ahead.

          Page clearly passed.

          I hope more employees will speak up because the criminals running things are in the minority.

        • John Claxton

          Kathleen, I too was let go from PAPG, we went to arbitration and Leon Page pulled every dirty trick in the book to keep me out, but the arbitrator saw thru most of the lies and ordered me back to work. Leon Page didn’t like this binding decision so upon my return to work, they locked me in a conference room for months. My wife called OSHA and they made them take me out of there. Mr. Leon Page then stated they didn’t have to put me back to work, only keep me on the payroll. This story goes on for a few more years but the end result is that Mr. Page is a pathetic excuse of a human being. My case cost the county over a million bucks in costs. The judge ruled in the county’s favor for court costs (though the CA Supreme Court ruled it’s illegal), now Mr Page is trying to take my house and all my assets.

          • OCservant_Leader

            I have seen some horrendous…and I mean horrendous retaliation from this organized crime crew in OC.

            When I was a newbie- I was initially really shocked by the treatment of employees and thought it was isolated to that particular office, department or management chain etc. At the beginning you assume the employee did something. Commit a crime ? Violate a policy maybe?

            There is a natural social isolation phenomenon that happens – because you don’t want to “catch” whatever disease the abused one has. Even though you know – no one should be treated this way – irregardless of what they “did”.

            After the years go by you find out it is inherent in the system. A lot of times it just a power struggle with an incompetent manager. Sometimes they just need the FTE.

            Now when I go into a new department- I always check out who is in quarantine. There is always a couple in each and every department! There are so many! They keep them separate from each other on purpose.

            Then one day as a County Manager – your day comes. You get an EA or someone’s wife or retiree you don’t want. All the functions get reorged to fit them. You create informal networks to Try to make up for the work they can’t do. It is then “recommended ” how they get ranked at performance time. You thought that was in your hands…it’s not.

            You try to make it work. You can’t accomplish much because they don’t have any of the skills you need and you spend all your time doing damage control but you keep justifying it to yourself and go on.

            Next test is you get a “problem” transferred to you. You don’t know what they did but now you have to end their career at the County. This is the real test.

            Anyone can document an employee right out the door. They don’t stand a chance. You just keep moving the bar. Oops they didn’t do X (whatever you are measuring). You give them opposite directives. You bury them in paper. You get their co workers to spy and report back which destroys any social game they had going. You humiliate them. You cut them off of all communication.

            At the end – you just lock them in a closet with no AC and know you will outlast them because they will break down. HR supports you no matter what you do to them – just get rid of them. It doesn’t feel good – but it’s them or you and you are eying end game.

            After you proven yourself by destroying a few employees and promoted a few relatives, the tests get harder. You will get a phone call. You will be more then mid- career. You have a decision to make. They tell you – they need a favor. You reason that they will back you but you know if they don’t – your name is on it. We all know doing what you are told isn’t a legal defense.

            I could fill an entire website with what I saw and I wasn’t even there quite 20 years. Come to think of it -choosing Mr. Page – the employee destroyer himself – is a loud and clear threat to the workforce.

            You want to sue? He loves to sue people!

          • Debby Bodkin

            And Leon Page is now the top County Counsel…. WOW! Shocking as it gets. Where is the press coverage and public outrage?

          • OCservant_Leader

            I agree.

            They had to pick their go-to employee destroyer? Really Mr. Kim?

            What they do to employees who are the real public servants pointing out wrong doing and corruption and protect, cover and lie for the organized crime family operating is an absolute outrage.

            Crime thrives in the darkness and I encourage more employees to tell their tales.

          • John Claxton

            Yes indeed. OCEA should be leading the rally down to civic center in protest. This man has no regard to rules, laws or ethics and he is going to be the county’s lead attorney? Great job Chairman Spitzer and CEO Frank Kim. This speaks volumes regarding your judgement or lack there of.