Sex and the City Hall?

The entrance at Santa Ana City Hall.

Adam Elmahrek/Voice of OC

The entrance at Santa Ana City Hall.

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Two high-level Santa Ana city officials are targets of internal investigations for allegedly carrying on romantic relationships with subordinate employees, multiple sources close to City Hall have confirmed.

According to sources, investigations of Deputy Police Chief Doug McGeachy and code enforcement head Alvaro Nunez began after other employees alleged that they were dating subordinates in the police and code enforcement departments.

Word of these investigations follows revelations earlier this month that City Manager David Cavazos is dating a city employee. The City Council met in closed session to discuss Cavazos’ relationship but ultimately decided that he did not violate any laws or city policy.

However, government ethics experts said Cavazos crossed ethical lines, and now there is concern whether city officials can credibly investigate the claims against the other top officials given the situation with Cavazos.

“If the City manager can date a subordinate why cannot other managers and other employees?” Read an anonymous letter sent to City Council members and Voice of OC. “There are rumors this investigation [of McGeachy] is being covered up.”

While Cavazos acknowledged and defended his relationship in a letter to Mayor Miguel Pulido, sources close to City Hall say they don’t know how McGeachy and Nunez have responded to the allegations. Without an admission from at least one of the people allegedly involved, office romances are difficult to substantiate and investigators are often left with little more than rumor and innuendo.

McGeachy and Nunez didn’t respond to calls and emails for comment.

It is possible that the allegations, especially those being leveled against McGeachy, are the result of internal politics. Santa Ana police officers have requested a “no confidence” vote in Chief Carlos Rojas, Voice of OC reported last week. In addition to Rojas, some officers have also grumbled about McGeachy, who is the commanding officer of field operations.

No council members returned phone calls for comment on this article. Councilman Sal Tinajero’s only response was a text message saying he was “unavailable.”

In his letter to Pulido, Cavazos defended his relationship as violating no city policy or “any federal, state or city rule or statute.” He also pointed out that the employee is not a direct subordinate.

Hana Callaghan — director of government ethics at the Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics – say all these possible relationships “raise a red flag” because they could taint the hiring process and make it appear that certain employees have advantages based on who they are dating. And other employees might feel reluctant to raise issues with employees in relationships with the boss, she said.

Also, Callaghan speculated that the city manager “could be sending a signal that it’s OK to other employees to engage in the same behavior.”

“That’s really a leadership issue,” she said.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek

  • Retired 101

    Bob- I call it arrogant.

  • Retired 101

    No nonsense, you call orchestrating a conspiracy to defraud the tax paying citizens of Santa Ana, the State and your tax payed retirement system as doing a good job?

    Looks like Toni Carvalho’s email has shed some light on that or do you honestly believe that Paula Courtade is the only one involved in the conspiracy to defraud everyone mentioned above?

    Maybe you are one of the few who support Manager Nunez because of the kickbacks you are getting? Maybe you are his mistress or are you the employee that Mrs. Carvalho talks about that didn’t come to work for 6 months and through the falsifying of attendance sheets “earned” your pay, sick time, vacation time and retirement credits among other benefits? Yes, we call this fraud. Yes, this employee is still there “earning” her paycheck.

    As for rumor of a Mistress, really? One only needs to contact his soon to be ex wife to see if there is no mistress and there will be a witness coming out soon that will state that Supervisor Sergio Verino told this person that there is a romantic relationship going on with Nunez and a subordinate, so if you want to stop “rumors”, you might want to start with him.

    While you are talking to him, why don’t you ask Mrs. Toni Carvalho how she feels about Supervisor Verino getting his promotion and College Degrees on City time or is this a “rumor” too? Must be nice to be able to get a 100k job with a high school diploma and in a relatively short time “earn” a Masters degree. Maybe he should at least thank that citizens of Santa Ana, per Mrs. Toni Carvalho they paid for it.

    No Nonsense- you support people who have committed crimes. I wonder if you are one of them?

    “Rumor” is the City has been given a ton of evidence to show what is known to be true and the truth is Mr. Nunez and others committed crimes. If they are done with their investigation and the crooks are still working one has to wonder what kind of liability they and the City have if they are sued by the good whistleblowers from that department and every citizen who pays taxes? Only time will tell, apparently. Looks like Mrs. Toni Carvalho is a whistleblower, good for her.

    As for Mr. Nunez, how he is still running a department that should value the public’s trust is revolting.

    Being retired is a beautiful thing. You get to speak the truth and hold people accountable.

    The only good thing left about your department is that not everyone has violated the law or the public’s trust. There are still some very good people who only want to serve their community with honesty, integrity and respect. Very hard to do that when you are being directed by a manager who again, orchestrated a scheme to defraud the Citizens of Santa Ana.

    No Nonsense- soon all the facts will be out there for the public to decide.

    Thank you Mrs. Toni Carvalho for the email exposing these crooks, but the “rumor” is that you have taken a “if you can’t beat them join them” approach and if you have joined them, you are no better than them. If you haven’t joined them, I am sure the Citizens of Santa Ana appreciate it.

    We look forward to reading more of your emails exposing the truth in that department.

    To all the citizens of Santa Ana, when the names of the whistleblower in this department become public, I hope you come out and support them. What they are doing is not easy, but necessary to protect the trust you have in that code enforcement department. There is no room for crooks anywhere in this City taking your tax dollars, unlawfully.

    If there are any Lawyers out there who are reading this article who want to talk about this injustice and would like to help and protect the citizens of Santa Ana and a few good people who have invoked the whistleblower protection act, we want to hear from you.

    • Honest Abe

      It is very clear here that No Nonsense is guilty of what these others are being accused of. Affairs and cheating are rampant in this department. It is excepted and expected. No morals or accountability. Very sad that people are so degrading to themselves.

  • Retired 101

    Jacki Livingston- very well written.

  • Retired 101

    INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM
    TO:​PAULA COURTADE
    FROM: TONI CARVALHO
    DATE:​4/30/2012
    RE:​RESPONSE TO YOUR MEMO REGARDING DISCUSSION OF 4/23/12​

    Your “summary” of the discussion that was held in your office on Monday, April 23, 2012, was not exactly as it had occurred, therefore, any future discussions I would prefer to have a third party present.
    I left your office believing that the conversation was over, as I had asked you to give me a copy of my open case list and you said “no, I’m not going to do that”. I then asked you to email me a copy of the addresses, since you were telling me that I was missing 4 from the 15 that you had given me. Again, you said “no, I’m not going to do that”. Then you proceeded to state something about my attendance.
    It was at that point that I got up to leave your office stating to send me the addresses in an email and you kept saying you weren’t going to do that.

    Your memo states that my comments and attitude towards you were unacceptable. My attitude is not any different than that of any other Inspector in our department. In fact, not too long ago an Inspector on numerous occasions flat out refused instructions and yelled at his senior and the Coordinator, within earshot of other Inspectors and he was promoted to a senior position.

    Having a disagreement with you in your office in my opinion does not constitute being insubordinate.
    In regards to respect, I understand that I have to “respect” certain “positions”. However, respect towards a person in my opinion is earned. It is not just my opinion that the Community Preservation Department lacks leadership. More often than not, the current inspectors now know more than the seniors, with the exception of Estella.

    A person placed in a senior position should lead by example in an effort to build respect. A person in a senior position should also have integrity and honesty.

    In regards to attendance, if Alvaro has an issue with my attendance, then I would rather he discuss that with me. You trying to discuss my attendance – or anyone else for that matter are in my opinion very hypocritical. You have one of the poorest attendance records in this department and your absence from work is often predictable. For years you have taken a 3 hour lunch and it wasn’t until I commented on that a few weeks ago, that you reduced your lunch time. More importantly, the mere fact that you (and others) committed fraud by falsifying attendance sheets for 6 months, indicating an employee was present, when in fact, was off work for 6 months, showed your lack of integrity and moral judgment and you should have been terminated for fraud and/or moral turpitude.

    You wanted to discuss with me items I had failed to turn into you. Yet, on many occasions, there has been discussion regarding work that was turned into you and not processed timely. I know on several occasions I’ve issued duplicate Admin Cites thinking I hadn’t written the address up – only to find out that I had, but several weeks had lapsed before the original entry was made. Violators have complained that I/we issued fines in a short period of time, only to discover that in actuality, the fines had been written up within weeks of each other, but processed within days of each other.

    Although I found your topics of discussion hypocritical, I will act in a professional manner while in the workplace.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Oh, are you KIDDING ME? Seriously? This is the OC, pal, and the fact that his cronies never busted him means exactly zilch. You want to know how many upper managers there are in the COUNTY that are protected by their cronies and family members, every time someone levels an accusation. Then they label the accuser as “disgruntled” and hire lawyers to force them out. No smoke does not mean no fire.

  • Sergio

    This is nothing new there’s a part time worker in human resources at the police department that’s fooling around with police officers there nothing New bunch of BS that goes on in there and now she’s working part time also for the fire thority figure that one out what’s going to come on all this nothing they’re just going to sweep it under the rug that’s all they do cover their tracks

  • Judy Allen

    More disgusting news! FIRE THEIR A—- OUT OF THERE NOW! MORE TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR ON OUR TAX DOLLARS!

    • Retired 101

      Judy- sources tell me they will not be let go because the mistress will just file a lawsuit claiming the unthinkable and will get a lot of money. Yes, one will get fired, but then they will live happily ever after on tax payer money. This is how warped this system is.

      Hopefully, their emails have been collected and they have been followed to show she is a more than willing participant. If that has happened, there goes that argument.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Oh, puhleeze. At SSA, they had a manager who has leapfrogged up to the top, his first wife works there. She caught him in the parking lot giving extra “direction” to a pretty subordinate, who became his second wife. She rocketed to the top. Of course, once a dirty dog, always a dirty dog, because he is still giving special attention to lots of his underlings. The running joke is that promotions hinge on tight pencil skirts, not competence.

  • guest

    Word on the street is McGeachy had affairs (he’s married) with three females at work, all considered subordinates, including one cadet. He used city property (gym) and provided the cadet city ammunition so she could shoot with him at the city range; not sure if he used his own “bullets” too. Would be willing to bet that any employee that provides the investigators with information against him will be facing disciplinary action in the near future.

    • LFOldTimer

      If true, that cadet has SAPD by the short hairs if she feels the least bit slighted and is not fast tracked to the top within 3 years. Primarily, that is the reason all organizations should ban manager-subordinate relationships in the workplace. Zero tolerance. Managers who violate it should have one hour to clean out their desks and turn in their office keys. They should be viewed as walking powder kegs by the ones in the corner offices who run the joint. You gotta be one sad hombre if the only date you can find is the one that you write a job evaluation for. Classless.

      • Jacki Livingston

        No short hairs. Anyone who makes it that far up has dirt on the others, and they all protect each other. She will be paid pennies, forced out and they will destroy her career. I have seen this movie too many times.

  • LFOldTimer

    Did you get any photos of their alleged activities, Adam? A good reporter would have photos to go along with the story 🙂 Why is there an internal investigation on the code enforcement chief and the deputy police chief and not one on the City Manager? Is it the higher up you are in the food chain the more privileges you’re entitled to? Is that how it works in Santa Ana government? It would be very sad that highly paid managers in any organization aren’t able to find a date without chasing subordinates in their own workplace environment? If the allegations pan out I would suggest that the City of Santa Ana spend some of their surplus budget funds to start a dating service for their management. I’m certain there are many girls from Costa Mesa who would love to meet their managers. Is it possible to get photos of McGeachy and Nunez so the court of public opinion could at least make some speculative WAG as per the allegations?

  • RyanCantor

    Just more politicos who feel that words like can and should are interchangeable.