City Manager Used Valuable City Resources Trying to Generate a $ 20K Bonus – For Himself !
10/24/15 – In a highly controversial move, interim City manager Dean Martin has attempted to secure a $20K bonus for himself – and used City Staff to do his bidding.
Four members of the City council were in disagreement with Martin’s request and denied him the bonus. Seemingly sensing that he may get fired for what appears to be a self-serving, parasitic stunt, Martin has since called it a day and quit.
UNPRECEDENTED, BIZARRE MOVE BY STAFF
Normally, all salary negotiations are conducted before the fact and in closed session. However, during public session on October 13, 2015, interim City manager Dean Martin made an unprecedented and rather bizarre move: Martin had his Staff present a report to the City council, which concluded that the City must pay him an additional salary of $ 20,000.
First of all, the foregoing can be viewed as an abuse of the City’s resources, as it solely benefits one person: the City manager. Staff resources are supposed to be used for the benefit of the public, and certainly not for the sole financial benefit of a City manager.
To further his self-serving request, Martin did not only waste valuable Staff time, he also tied up the City council for over 30 minutes on end.
The following video contains the entire 35 minute segment:
DID STAFF ATTEMPT TO MISLEAD THE CITY COUNCIL ?
Martin came to Banning as an employee of Munitemps, a temporary staffing agency, which contracted with the City of Banning. The City paid Munitemps $ 96.15/hr for Martin’s services. This amount is consistent with what the City paid Munitemps for former interim CM Homer Croy. How much of the $ 96.15 hourly amount Martin received remains undisclosed. Martin has been with the City of Banning as City manager since May of 2015.
The Staff report was presented by Deputy Finance director Michelle Green. Green, who is not an attorney, presented the council with her legal analysis, followed by offering a legal conclusion which stated unequivocally that the City had to pay Martin $ 20,000 in additional salary, even though he was not an employee of the City.
Green based her legal conclusion on a policy circular of CalPERS (California public employee pension system), as well as Government Code Sec. 21221 (h). The record shows that Green gave legal advice to the council without ever consulting the City attorney in this matter, a move that appears to have violated her professional ethics.
Furthermore, Green gave legal advice to the City council, without being licensed to do so. This may constitute a case of “practicing law without a license”, a misdemeanor under Sec. 6126,(a) Business & Professional Code.
Beyond the above issues, Green’s staff report appeared to also be materially false. It appears Green conveniently omitted an important fact from her presentation : CalPERS had confirmed to her in an email that they were NOT “reinstating” Mr.Martin. The email exchange made it 100% clear that there would be no “adverse impact” to the City of Banning for not paying Martin the additional salary (see email exchange on the left) .
Again, Green never mentioned to the council what CalPERS had told her, and instead kept pushing for Martin’s $ 20k. To substantiate her position, she referenced Government Code Sec. 21221 (h) as the legal basis for a minimum salary for Martin. However, anyone who reads this code section (view) will immediately realize that it does NOT reference a minimum salary, but only a maximum.
Relentlessly, Green tried to convince the council that legally the only choice they had was paying Martin the $20,000, when in reality she had been made aware by CalPERS that the City did not need to pay him a dime.
Given the above circumstances, Green’s presentation can be viewed as deceptive and possibly even as an attempt to defraud the City. The entire scenario is reminiscent of what went on in the City of Bell.
PETERSON GETS IN THE ACT – AND THE SMOKE SCREEN COLLAPSES
Initially Councilman Don Peterson, a retired cop, was the only Councilmember who immediately saw through the pathetic smoke screen that Martin and Green had put up. Doubts were also raised by Councilman Moyer, who pointed out that Martin was a Munitemps, not a City employee. Peterson pointed that out the “law” quoted by Green gave no basis whatsoever for the requested $20K pay.
When it became clear that Councilman Miller was not buying into the apparent scheme either, Martin seemed to get cold feet : half way through the session Martin attempted to withdraw the item. However, the council did not give in to his request, and ended up voting 4:1 against the proposed $ 20k present to Martin.
Not surprisingly, however, Art Welch was the only Councilmember willing to buy Staff’s bogus story – ready to give away the people’s money, no questions asked.
MARTIN’S DOCUMENTED HISTORY OF LITIGATION AGAINST FORMER EMPLOYER
Public record shows that Martin has been involved in litigation with his previous employer, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, (click here for details). In this litigation Martin made all kinds of claims of being improperly treated, and even pulled the race card.
According to Councilman Don Peterson, Munitemps never disclosed to the City of Banning that Martin has been in continued litigation with a previous employer. Had the City been made aware, there can be little doubt that they would have passed up Mr. Martin.
In a letter to Munitemps’ President John Herrera (view), Councilman Peterson personally complained about their lack of disclosure of Martin’s litigious background. Peterson says he never received an answer from Herrera. So much for “customer service”.
As we had stated in the beginning of this article, City Manager Dean Martin has called it quits, right after seeing his request defeated by a vigilant council, led by Councilmember Peterson.
This episode goes to show that blind faith in Staff can be very dangerous. The lesson to be learned here is that, more than ever, Staff must be scrutinized, questioned and held to highest ethical standards, every step of the way.
Anytime Staff attempts to deceive the council and therewith the public, as it appears to have occurred here, the City should initiate an investigation of all parties involved.
If you would like to comment or discuss this – or any other – article, please visit us on FACEBOOK