Saturday, October 16, 2010

ASSERTIONS of Mayor Sue McCloud & Vice Mayor Paula Hazdovac REFUTED by Plaintiff Attorney Michael Stamp and The Honorable Larry E. Hayes

ABSTRACT: Today, The Monterey County Herald published a Guest commentary by Mayor Sue McCloud and Vice Mayor Paula Hazdovac entitled “Carmel critics corrected.” The main assertions of the mayor and vice mayor are quoted, followed by statements refuting those assertions made, "under penalty of perjury," by Plaintiff attorney Michael Stamp and statements from the Order After Hearing, written by The Honorable Larry E. Hayes, Judge of the Superior Court, County of Monterey. A COMMENT is made about the lack of credibility of the mayor, vice mayor and credibility of the Plaintiff attorney and Superior Court Judge.

ASSERTION of Mayor Sue McCloud and Vice Mayor Paula Hazdovac:
“An independent investigator from out of the area was retained by LCW to investigate Miller's allegations. Stamp was contacted on several occasions and asked to provide documentation to support Miller's claims and to authorize the investigator to interview Miller. Stamp declined to provide any documentation or to make his client available.”

“Guillen was interviewed by the investigator, as were a number of employees. Lacking documentation from Miller or her attorney, and upon completion of interviews with employees, the investigator concluded there was no substance to Miller's claims.”

REFUTATION by Plaintiff Attorney Michael W. Stamp:
The reasons that Ms. Miller did not provide an interview for the “investigation” were made clear in the correspondence: Liebert Cassidy would not answer the inquiries made by the Plaintiff about the investigation, privacy, the scope, and the lack of independence of the investigator. In addition, Ms. Miller provided a 13-page document providing details of her claims, and suggesting that several identified persons be interviewed. The City did not interview most of the persons identified by Ms. Miller. It also appears that the City never obtained any of the emails sent by Mr. Guillen to Ms. Miller, and did not interview former employees (or tell the investigator about them), including the four employees that the City had settled with in regard to claims of forced “retirement.”

ASSERTION of Mayor Sue McCloud and Vice Mayor Paula Hazdovac:
“In their commentary, Hardy and Anderson state that four city employees were "forced from their jobs," allegedly by the city administrator. Factually, the four employees elected to retire during periods in which the city offered the "golden handshake" early retirement program option that provides an additional two-year credit on the employee's retirement account. Miller was the human resources manager for the city.”

REFUTATION by Plaintiff attorney Michael Stamp and The Honorable Larry E. Hayes, Judge of the Superior Court, County of Monterey: of “hostile work environment” and “forced early retirement” by Senior Management Employee #1, Senior Management Employee #2, Senior Management Employee #3 and Senior Management Employee #4 and Senior Management Employee #5 Human Resources Manager Jane Miller.

In 2003, 2006, and 2008, I represented four other senior City of Carmel-by-the-Sea employees in claims similar to those advanced in this case on behalf of Ms. Miller. I negotiated those cases directly with the City. In those four cases, I raised issues about the “early retirement” efforts by the City, raised issues of discrimination, and asserted my clients’ claims for compensation. In all four cases, agreements were reached and the agreements were approved by the City Administrator, Mayor and City Council. The third and fourth of those cases included written settlements agreements approved by the City Attorney, Mayor and City Council. The City agreed to pay more than $500,000 in negotiated “early retirement” compensation to my clients in those four matters.

In all four of these disputed matters, Mr. Guillen identified the issue to be negotiated as the early retirement of the employees in order to avoid further action. In all four cases, Mr. Guillen repeatedly assured me that the City Council and Mayor considered the matters to be significant, and Mr. Guillen emphasized that the claims were significantly higher than her wanted to pay on the claims, but that he considered the expenditures to be necessary under the circumstances. He frequently assured me in regard to each of the four clients that he was in frequent direct communications with the Mayor and City Council about the status of the negotiations.

The four matters from 2003 to 2008 resulted in the City agreeing to pay negotiated payments of more than $500,000 to the four employees. There was no doubt that the City considered the four cases to be significant, both financially and organizationally…In all four cases, Mr. Guillen advised me that the City Council had been fully briefed on all issues, that the City Attorney had approved the settlements, and that the issues, claims, and amounts had been carefully considered.

The City did so first by not claiming a conflict when Mr. Stamp, over a period of five years, represented four senior City employees with claims similar to Ms. Miller.

The City failed to prove that the City performed a reasonable investigation into the potential merits of the disqualification motion by interviewing the key City personnel, including the City Attorney. The Court finds disingenuous the City’s assertion that the actual knowledge of material facts by the City Attorney need not be inquired into by the city’s lawyers or disclosed by the City in regard to this motion. The Court finds that City Administrator Richard Guillen and City Attorney Don Freeman knew about the former representations during the pertinent time period. The weight of the evidence shows that those individuals would have had specific knowledge about those former representations...

The City’s primary contention on the motion that the City had no ability to raise a conflict until this lawsuit was actually filed is not credible, and the City presented no applicable legal authority for its position. The City’s other contentions are not credible, and are contradicted by the testimony offered by Plaintiff and by the documentary evidence presented.
(Source: ORDER AFTER HEARING, RE: Defendant City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Motion to Disqualify Plaintiff’s Counsel, The Honorable Larry E. Hayes, Judge of the Superior Court)

The assertions of Mayor Sue McCloud and Vice Mayor Paula Hazdovac were not fact checked by The Monterey County Herald as the newspaper does not employ a fact checker. In fact, a former editor of The Herald once stated “We print what we are told.” In contrast, the statements of Plaintiff attorney Michael W. Stamp were declared "under penalty of perjury" and are supported by the written statements of The Honorable Larry E. Hayes, Judge of the Superior Court, County of Monterey, in his Order After Hearing.


Robert said...


I now include "The Carmel-by-the-
Sea WATCHDOG" along with the "Monterey County Weekly," as two of our MOST VALUABLE news resources within Monterey County.

Robert Oen

VillageinForest said...

Thank you for your inspiration, Robert Oen! "Carmel Stinks" ("Dispute over transparency emerges in Carmel," September 15), posted September 17, MCW, is also an inspiration to the WATCHDOG! and next to the WATCHCDOG'S home computer.

Anonymous said...

We now know, courtesy of former city employee Stephanie Pearce, that there are more than just the 5 senior city management employees identified in Jane Miller’s lawsuit who were harassed and forced from their jobs, but 15 city employees who were harassed and/or forced prematurely from their jobs by City Administrator Rich Guillen with the knowledge and approval of the mayor and council.

This commentary and the Carmel City Hall employees’ letter to the Pine Cone come across as not being written by caring, thoughtful, professional individuals. If Carmelites do not insist on recognizing our obvious problems at city hall with our elected officials and city employees, we will continue to suffer the negative consequences. Objective observers outside of Carmel would not put up with all this Carmel spin and cover up, only Carmelites have put up with it and that makes us part of the ongoing problem.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to Central Coast News KION for continuing to hold the City's "feet to the fire" and exposing the Mayor's failure to acknowledge the ongoing scandal. "The mayor said the issue was settled and over in July..." Really?

So, what exactly did the City Council discuss for hours and hours at Closed Session meetings in August and September?

Bravo, too, to Councilman Jason Burnett for having the integrity to speak out in a public forum about the City's failure to act in a timely way to resolve the management issues.

Carmelites may need to turn up the heat on City Hall through more letters to local newspapers, online postings, and emails to the Council. If a bigger media outlet picks up this story, then maybe the Council will be more motivated to take action.

I am also thankful for the WATCHDOG!