Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006 | Re: “Municipal Siberia,”
The nameless city staffer may have a point about what happens to truth-tellers.
In case it’s news to you or anyone else, I was a deputy city attorney in San Diego for 22 years (from July, 1983 to December, 2004.)
On December 6, 2004, I told the truth (in writing, with supporting documentary evidence) about the former City Attorney’s water fund timecard diversion scheme, now immortalized in the Kroll report. On that date in 2004, I sent my report to the city, and to the DA, the AG, the US Attorney and the Grand Jury.
Two days later, on December 8, 2004, I was summarily fired and escorted out of the building all within 5 minutes; no warning; no hearing; no appeal; no nothing. I immediately and relentlessly, in writing, petitioned the city to review what had happened – retaliatory termination against me, a “whistleblower” – and to please reinstate me along with related remedies that would be justly due. The city’s response: nothing; silence.
So I filed a claim in June, 2005, outlining and proving in great detail, and with supporting documentary evidence an inch thick, what had happened, again requesting review and reinstatement. The city’s reply? “Denied” without any discussion, followed by more silence.
So I filed suit in Superior Court at the end of 2005; went to trial in January, 2006 In March, 2006, the court issued its judgment in my favor on my claim that the city wrongfully terminated me in retaliation for whistleblowing the water fund diversion scheme. Thirty days after that (April 2006), the judgment was final; the city did not file an appeal.
The court did not have the authority to reinstate me as part of its judgment, so I immediately resumed my petition for reinstatement directly with the city. That was in April 2006. The city’s response? Silence.
Then the Kroll report was released at the end of July, 2006. It included Appendix Q, Section 2, naming me by name and detailing the scheme I originally “whistleblew” way back in December 2004. Kroll also recommended “Ensuring Protection for Whistleblowers” at page 252 thereof (which Mayor Sanders and the council recently adopted, by the way.) The Attorney General then announced a criminal investigation into the scheme. The city’s response to me now? Silence, again.
So, it’s been 22 months since I was shipped to Siberia for telling the truth about an organized scheme to rip-off water customers via timecard fraud. A Superior Court judgment, a Grand Jury report, and a specific (my name’s in there) Kroll finding on my truth-report have intervened, and the AG has announced a felony criminal investigation is underway. The city’s response to me? Silence.
Knowing the city moves this slow – especially on truth-tellers – I stopped cutting my formerly-government-lawyer-length hair the day I was just so my friends and fellow citizens would have a graphic display of the velocity of municipal Siberian glaciers – and we who are exiled to them – so I wouldn’t have to try to describe the delay.
Lesson learned for city employees: “And the truth shall set you free, but don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.”