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I happened to be downtown last week, so I dropped by the City Clerk’s office to check out some of the Kroll interview summaries. The ones voiceofsandiego.org so kindly posted online from Mayor Murphy and City Council members piqued my interest. So, I checked the list of interviewees who accepted their invitation and made a list.

The clerk has all the boxes in one room. You have to sign-in and out and leave all valuables outside. I grazed through a few (Pierce, Loveland, Gibson and Girard) and then paid for copies of interview summaries from: McGrory, Ewell, Kern, Shipione, and Vortmann. At 25 cents a page, you pick and choose. Interestingly enough, a few of those on my list as having accepted the interview invitation were not in the boxes: Irvine, Golding and Story. According to the Clerk, everything they got was in that room.

Some of the things you notice in reading interview after interview, was the format Kroll was using – and then exceptions to that format. Overall, I got left with the feeling that several of the folks already knew what the “right” and “wrong” answers were and that most of them knew that “I don’t recall” was the easiest approach. Having been in a few hearings myself, I’m sympathetic to the blur it can become. But these interviews, taken at face value, show a real lack of interest in holding the staff accountable – something I’d already experienced myself in trying to get the attention of some folks along the way.

You also realize that the list of key people who wouldn’t talk to Kroll is extensive. And I wondered why Mike Aguirre and former City Councilman Byron Wear were not on the list to be asked at all – given they are mentioned frequently during the questioning process.

A couple of my favorite quotes so far:

Mayor Dick Murphy said former City Manager Michael Uberuaga “never told us and we were stupid enough not to ask”

and

Murphy stated that it was not considered part of the duty of the Mayor and Councilmembers to read the financial statements of the City and it was never suggested that it was his responsibility.

Then, inquiring minds want to know: Whose responsibility is it to provide any check/balance on the bureaucracy and ensure they are doing their jobs honestly? Where does the buck stop?

Clearly the Council felt their job was to trust and not verify. It was not about facts for them, but about personality and being “reassured.”

CAROLYN CHASE

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