Tag Archives: Bob Johnson Temecula Ca

Oh geeshy sakes – corruption in Temecula!?

28 Jun

I gotta ask – who ever heard of Temecula before Jennifer Hennessy got a job there? Yes, it’s one of those new cities, created late 1980’s, by a bunch of pencil-neck bureaucrats who sniffed an opportunity to slide their snout into a new trough.

I would have forgotten about it by now, but I see in my statistic bar, people are interested in that town for whatever reason, so I check into it every now and then. I found out, they just fired their old city manager and finance director, that’s why Jennifer got the job.  Yesterday, I found a couple of  articles with more information – one from last fall, shortly after their termination, and one from just a couple of months ago.

It looks like Johnson and Wilson were canned because they tried to tell the public about the pension deals the city had been swinging. For example, Johnson’s predecessor in this little tiny town was making over $300,000, in salary alone, plus this benefits package, described below as “confusing to Spencer, Wilson, Johnson, and the state agency that administers public pensions.”

How does this outrageous stuff happen? Listen people, what do you expect when you don’t pay attention? I know, I try to look for the good in people – but I also try not to be stupid.  I hate to say this, but I will – sometimes the victim was 50 percent of his own problem.  It’s like those scary movies – you find yourself throwing popcorn at the screen – NO! DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!  But they do anyway, don’t they? And do you really feel sorry for them when they get it?

I hear alot of calls for the public to “step up” to this crisis. Well, I will say, it would be nice if we could get a couple of hardy souls to announce their intentions to run against Mary Goloff and Scott Gruendl in the 2014 council race. That’s something we should start  talking ab0ut.

For now, the unfolding story below ought to be a wake up call to all of us that we need to pay more attention to what’s going on Downtown. 




From http://temecula.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/differing-philosophy-cited-in-dismissal-of-temecula-cd69f6c23cc

Differing ‘Philosophy’ Cited in Dismissal of Temecula City Manager, CFO

Temecula city officials have been tight-lipped since giving walking orders to City Manager Bob Johnson on Nov. 13 and Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson on Nov. 14.

Posted by Maggie Avants (Editor),November 20, 2012 at 04:15 am

Two high-level city of Temecula employees were placed on administrative leave due to “differences in management philosophy and goals,” said the city attorney.

City officials have been tight-lipped since giving walking orders to City Manager Bob Johnson on Nov. 13 and Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson on Nov. 14.

“The City Council and City Staff will not discuss (their) placement…on administrative leave as these are personnel actions involving the employees and we will respect the privacy rights of the employees,” said Temecula City Attorney Peter Thorson, in a statement emailed to Patch.

“At the request of their legal counsel, I will confirm that these actions were based on differences in management philosophy and goals.”

A large number of Temecula city employees belong to Teamsters Local 911, the president of which told The Press-Enterprise late last week that Johnson’s and Wilson’s management styles may have been causing a stressful work environment.

There was “considerable displeasure with (Johnson’s) management style,” Chester Mordasini, president of Teamsters Local 911 told the newspaper.

Shortly after Johnson assumed the role of city manager in January—replacing long-time City Manager Shawn Nelson—there was a reorganization of sorts, The Californian reported in a May article about the state of the city’s budget.

Johnson’s permanent dismissal was set to be voted on during city council’s regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 27.

Until then, Community Services Director Aaron Adams has been appointed acting city manager.

In an email response Monday to Patch, Adams said no interim or acting CFO has been officially appointed since Wilson was placed on leave.

“I have assigned coverage/responsibilities to existing managers as a result of this vacancy,” Adams wrote. “This will assure proper coverage of all responsibilities.”

The chief financial officer—under the city’s organizational chart—oversees administrative services. These include accounting and purchasing, strategic budgeting and operations, human resources, support services and information technology.

Wilson earned an annual salary of $180,466 including benefits as of 2010, according to the latest public salary information available from the California State Controller’s website.

Johnson’s contracted salary was $215,000. If terminated, the contract specifies he is entitled to six months’ salary in severance pay, as well as insurance benefits during those six months, according to city documents. However, if termination is the result of being charged or convicted of a felony, or engaging in corrupt or willful misconduct in office, his benefits would not be paid.

The specifics of Wilson’s terms of employment were not readily accessible.

Neither Johnson nor Wilson were present during a Nov. 13 city council meeting at which Thorson announced Johnson had been placed on administrative leave.

The similar action taken against Wilson was confirmed by Adams Friday, after initial responses from city officials stating they would not comment on personnel-related matters.

From:    http://www.myvalleynews.com/story/70275/

Friday, March 29th, 2013
Issue 13, Volume 17.
Tim O’Leary
Staff Writer

A pair of fired Temecula executives, through a spouse and a mutual friend, has revealed behind-the-scenes discord over city pension and finance issues that played out prior to their abrupt dismissals late last year.

The details surface as new twists in the only upper-echelon purge that has publicly unfolded in Temecula since the affluent, fast-growing community became a city in December 1989. They also sharpen the focus on the salary and benefits that are still being paid to Shawn Nelson, who formally stepped down as Temecula city manager in December 2011.

In a cover letter to the local media, Scott Spencer in early February declared that “…it’s time for the press to honestly expose the corruption at Temecula City Hall.” Spencer describes himself as a business owner and a 20-year resident of the Temecula Valley who is a confidant of Bob Johnson and Genie Wilson, two city administrators who were fired late last year.

Johnson’s wife, Maryann, later e-mailed reporters a four-page account she said points to a “fascinating conspiracy that had obviously been orchestrated behind the scenes for several months.” She warned that rising city pension obligations “will someday seriously compromise” Temecula’s ability to repair and maintain its public buildings and other infrastructure.

The pair of documents – which at times alternate between questions and accusations – netted a mixed response from Johnson’s replacement, two City Council members and Nelson.

The city’s current mayor, Mike Naggar, shrugged off many of the issues raised in the communications from Spencer and Maryann Johnson. Councilwoman Maryann Edwards, who was mayor when Nelson’s contract was amended in July 2009, responded in a similar manner.

“Everything’s above board and transparent,” Edwards said in a mid-February interview. She then referred any further questions to the city attorney.

Interim City Manager Aaron Adams has steered clear of the personnel issues surrounding the dismissals of Johnson and Wilson. But Adams countered that there has been plenty of disclosure and ample public records that detail city finances as well as Nelson’s contract terms and his continuing retirement pay and benefits.

“It’s no secret,” Adams said following a recent council meeting.

Nelson has echoed that perspective.

“It’s very clear what the (employment) contract says,” Nelson said in a telephone interview. “It’s very transparent.”

Nelson said he is proud of his service to Temecula and his retirement package simply reflects the benefits and unpaid leave, unused vacation days and other time off that were in place or had accrued over his approximately 21 years as community services manager, interim city manager and then city manager.

Nelson declined to respond to the questions and allegations that have been raised following the dismissals of Johnson and Wilson. He broke off a sentence during the recent telephone interview after saying: “It’s just disgruntled…”

The layered dispute has unfolded as Nelson’s next career step has led to him simultaneously being paid by both Temecula and Menifee for providing similar services to the two cities.

Together the two municipalities will pay Nelson more than $417,000 over the next 12 months. And due to the terms of Nelson’s Temecula contract, that city will continue to pay his health care, pension, vacation and leave benefits over that period.

Nelson’s contract and the July 2009 changes were a key focus of an eight-page analysis that Spencer provided to local reporters. The sharply-worded analysis was accompanied by attachments that examine Nelson’s various pension scenarios as well as a spread sheet that details the city’s rising pension costs for all its employees.

The analysis refers to city officials or their actions with such biting phrases as “misrepresented,” “problematic past practices” and “did not always fully or transparently disclose.” It also questions whether the council’s authorization of so-called seniority leave for Nelson “may have been something called a gift of public funds.”

The analysis ends with a joint statement from Johnson and Wilson that calls upon the city to be more open and change the way it operates.

“There is an absolute requirement for transparency when it comes to public employee and elected official compensation and benefits,” Johnson and Wilson wrote in the statement. “After all, we are fully accountable to the public in how we are spending their money. We are confident that we provided current Temecula’s leadership with the information they needed to assure that more transparent and responsible management practices, goals and philosophies are being implemented now and into the future. 

We are also hopeful that the information being provided to the public will allow current and future city leaders everywhere to view their fiduciary responsibilities through an entirely new paradigm.”

Naggar, who said he has read Spencer’s materials, indicated that they appeared to be addressed more toward the media than the city. Naggar said he did not see any benefit in sitting down with a reporter to respond to Spencer’s analysis in detail.

The separate dismissals of Johnson, Temecula’s city manager, and Wilson, the city’s finance director, played out during a string of public meetings that began Nov. 14.

Naggar has attributed the terminations to a difference in management philosophy.

“It doesn’t go deeper than that,” he said.

Johnson, whose government service has spanned nearly four decades, worked as a Temecula assistant manager for nearly five years before he was tapped for the city’s top post. He worked as the city manager for less than a year prior to his dismissal. Wilson was a longtime employee who was hired shortly after Temecula became a city.

Johnson was just the fourth person to hold the post of permanent manager since Temecula became a city. His predecessor, Nelson, has been the subject of newspaper headlines since he retired from Temecula, shifted his focus to a nonprofit group formed after the death of his son, and was recently hired by Menifee as a management and strategic planning consultant.

In mid-February, a San Diego-based newspaper group printed a story headlined: “Former city manager’s pension payment focus of dispute.”

That story – done by a reporter for the merged Union-Tribune and Californian – examined the terms of Nelson’s contract and indicate he had had about 2½ years of administrative, sick time and other leave on the books prior to his Temecula retirement. The contract, according to that story and Temecula records, note that Nelson’s contract calls for him to remain an employee on Temecula payroll and be paid $11,214 every two weeks through March 2014.

Nelson’s current position with Temecula, according to budget information, is listed as “advisor to the city manager.” Newspaper coverage leading to Menifee’s decision to hire Nelson as an “executive consultant” also delved into his Temecula contract.

A Feb. 18 news story in The Press-Enterprise contained the headline: “Expensive year in leadership for Menifee, Temecula.” That story noted that, under the terms of Nelson’s contracts with Menifee and Temecula, the municipal administrator would together be grossing nearly $35,000 per month plus benefits for a year.

The newspaper story went on to say that, because of management upheavals in the separate jurisdictions, Temecula would pay about $600,000 in administrative payouts during the current fiscal year and Menifee’s costs would total more than $400,000 in the same period.

The Menifee City Council approved its one-year contract with Shawn Nelson consulting on Feb. 19, records show. That contract calls for Menifee to pay Nelson $126,000 for one year to do strategic planning, staff training, economic development and succession planning work. At the same meeting, Menifee council members cemented an agreement with its interim city manager. Menifee’s interim city manager will be paid $160,000 annually for his work.

The accounts that Spencer and Maryann Johnson provided to newspaper reporters delve deeper into the behind-the-scenes debates that occurred after Nelson retired from Temecula.

Spencer said his lengthy analysis was released to the media with the “full knowledge and consent” of Johnson and Wilson and the “assistance” of Johnson’s wife. In separate e-mails, Johnson and Wilson subsequently acknowledged their involvement. Spencer said all of the information contained in his analysis can be obtained through city records.

Spencer divided his analysis into sections that include “escalating payroll costs,” “the pension spin,” “audits reveal city’s generosity” and “transparency and accountability at City Hall.” Spencer delves into a clash between a city union representative and Bob Johnson. It states that the financial terms of Nelson’s “complex employment contract” were confusing to Spencer, Wilson, Johnson, and the state agency that administers public pensions.

Spencer’s analysis also lists five concerns he said Johnson and Wilson presented to Temecula council members “in the months and weeks prior to their termination.” Spencer’s analysis also includes a call to action by city leaders.

“Mr. Johnson and Ms. Wilson recommended an independent audit of specifically identified fiscal issues to the City Council prior to their terminations and strongly advocate that an independent auditor conduct a full investigation into these matters in the near future.”

Jennifer Hennessy off to Temecula – a geography lesson!

29 Mar

I was just looking over the stats for today and it looks like everybody’s talking/reading/thinking about Jennifer Hennessy.  You know she “resigned” yesterday, from her position as city finance director. This on the heels of lots of criticism at a meeting I missed earlier this week, detailed in a pretty nasty little report in yesterday’s paper. 

At Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, which I missed, due to being too tired from snowboarding my ass off Monday at Tahoe to get out to another stupid 8am meeting, there was a frank announcement from Planning Services Director Mark Wolfe that our “development fund” is some $10 million in the hole. Yes, that’s MILLION – 1-0-000-000. 

This is not a secret, Mark Sorensen. This subject has been kicking around in meetings for years. I been kicking it around, for one. The developers do not pay their way, some developers pay less than others, etc. They use all this staff time and pay nothing. I mean, “$taff time,” you know, those people in that building Downtown, more than 100 of whom rake in over $100,000/ year, just in salary.

All the sudden it’s a big deal? Where was all the angst when they decided just last year to “defer” developer fees for Downtown development? 

When I bitch about stuff, it’s just bitching, ever notice that? 

The newspaper article did not flatter Jennifer Hennessy, in fact, it sounded like they were insinuating something. I’m not going to speculate. I already have, many times, read up. 

I’ll tell you something funny though – Jennifer just “resigned” yesterday, but as of an hour ago, at about 6:30 pm, the Enterprise Record, with glowing remarks from Mark Sorensen, announced the hiring of a new finance director. 

This stinks, oh boy does it stink. It’s like when I smell something in my refrigerator, and I know it ain’t right, but I’m too busy to drag everything out right at the moment. I’ll get time, you turkeys, believe me, and it’s turkey season right now. 

Here’s something else funny – Hennessy is headed for one little pimple of a town – Temecula. Not far from Hemet!  And, co-inka-dinkkally – Temecula is in the middle of  the creek without a paddle, like Hemet. Last fall they fired their city manager and then their finance director, the latter of which will be the position Hennessy is stepping into. I don’t know if they’ve replaced their city manager. 

According to Nelsy Rodriguez of the Press Enterprise, “On Nov. 5, exactly eight days before the City Council voted unanimously in closed session to place him [city manager Bob Johnson] on paid administrative leave, Johnson sent an email to all city employees announcing the creation of a ‘transparency sharepoint page’ containing information regarding city salaries and benefits and official communication between the city and union representatives, among other information.”

Verrrrry iiiinterestink!  There’s a barrel of stinking fish here, a barrel full.