The placing of OC Public Works Director Jess Carbajal on administrative leave last week is just one of several personnel moves being made as county officials scramble to gain control over a department rocked by revelations that sexual harassment allegations against former executive Carlos Bustamante were not properly handled, according to the Voice of OC.
The Voice of OC also reported that Ignacio Ochoa, who now heads the department’s engineering division, will take over as interim head of the OC Public Works Agency.
Apparently Orange County CEO Tom Mauk is going to survive this scandal, while many of his underlings are paying the price for Bustamante’s alleged dalliances. Assistant Orange County CEO Rob Richardson appears to have also fallen offf the hook, even though he reportedly hired Bustamante and there were rumors that he had run cover for him as well. Richardson is a Trustee on the SAUSD School Board, and he is up for reelection this November.
California state law clearly states that when an employee complains about harassment, the employer must investigate what happened. It would appear that something went wrong after the charges against Bustamante became public.
Bustamante somehow continues to serve on the Santa Ana City Council, although he did quit his high-paying middle management job at the County of Orange. He is the only Republican left on the Santa Ana City Council. He is also up for reelection this November, for what will be his third term if he goes unchallenged.
OC Politics Blog editor Art Pedroza ran against Bustamante in 2008. A strange coalition of Republicans and Democrats, including Republican consultant Mike Schroeder and Democratic blogger Dan Chemielewski mailed a very lame hit piece against Pedroza to Santa Ana voters, according to the Orange Juice blog, but Bustamante won largely because he recruited a Latina friend of his to also run, splitting the opposition vote. This time it would appear that Bustamante has run out of chances. Pedroza, on the other hand, is a leading candidate in the June primary for the Orange County Board of Education, Area One.