Conflict Plea Nets Quincey 180-Day Sentence

(October 11)  In the aftermath of his guilty plea to a single count of felony conflict of interest, former Upland city manager Robb Quincey has been given a 180-day weekend jail sentence that will likely entail him serving little or no actual jail time.
On September 9 Quincey entered a no contest plea to one count of conflict of interest, bringing to a close the case lodged against him by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office in 2012.
Dismissed as a consequence of the plea arrangement worked out between Quincey’s attorney, Michael Zwieback, and prosecutors were two additional charges, perjury and embezzlement/falsification by a public officer.
The case against Quincey, who was handpicked in 2005 by now-disgraced former Upland Mayor John Pomierski to serve as city manager, in some measure grew out of the circumstances leading to Pomierski’s 2011 indictment. Pomierski had been engaged in using his authority as an elected city official to shake down individuals with pending business at City Hall, including developers who had applied for project approval thorough the city’s land use process. Pomierski arranged for Quincey to receive a base salary and add-ons of $368,529 with benefits of $92,096, for a total annual compensation of $460,625, making him among the highest paid city managers in the state. Quincey was also empowered with the authority to fire the city’s department heads entirely at his own discretion. The ebb and flow of project approval in the City of Gracious living that was favorable to project proponents who had hired Pomierski as a project consultant and less than favorable to those who were not paying Pomierski directly or supportive of his political efforts raised suspicions about Quincey’s involvement in Pomierski’s depredations.
Ultimately, Quincey was undone when in June 2010 FBI agents serving search warrants relating to the graft that Pomierski was involved in panicked Quincey, who unburdened himself to city attorney Bill Curley of a secret relating to a July 27, 2008 domestic violence incident involving himself and his former fiancé, Jennifer Stelzer. That incident was punctuated by  Quincey’s alleged vandalism to Stelzer’s car and a series of profanity-laced text messages to her.  A police report on that incident was written by Upland police detective Craig Sipple under the supervision of then-sergeant John Moore. That eight-page police report recommending that the matter be reviewed by the district attorney’s office for possible prosecution was intercepted by then-police chief Steve Adams .
Consequently, the eight-page report Sipple originally authored was reduced to six pages and Sipple and Moore’s recommendation that the matter be referred to the district attorney’s office was changed to state that the case was given “Exceptional Clearance. Stelzer does not desire prosecution.” The redrafted six-page version of the report was buried in an inactive police department file that prevented it from being open to public scrutiny.
When Moore later applied for one of two open lieutenant posts with the department and was passed over, he retained the services of attorney Dieter Dammeier of the law firm Lackie Dammeier McGill & Ethir to represent him. Dammeier worked out a solution to the problem by which Quincey and Adams upped the number of captain positions with the department from two to three, promoted a lieutenant into that new spot, thereby creating another lieutenant vacancy, into which Moore was promoted. Dammeier presented the city with a $57,816 bill for his efforts on behalf of Moore. To keep the matter quiet and from coming to the attention of the city council and the public, Quincey used his maximum $25,000 annual discretionary spending authority as city manager to pay Dammeier’s firm in two $25,000 installments, one in the midst of the 2009-10 fiscal year on January 25, 2010, and another shortly after the initiation of the 2010-11 fiscal year on August 23, 2010.
According to former city attorney Curley, Quincey persuaded then-assistant finance director Ruby Carrillo, with whom Quincey was intimately involved, to miscode one of those checks to make it appear that the payment had been made for another police department-related matter the city was negotiating with the police union, specifically payment to officers for the time they spent just before their daily assignments donning their uniforms and the time after their shifts ended doffing their uniforms.
After Quincey’s panicked confession to him about what had occurred, Curley informed the FBI of what Quincey had told him. For nearly five months Quincey remained in place as city manager, but  after details relating to the train of events involving Quincey, Stelzer, Moore and Dammeier became public, the Upland City Council in January 2011 suspended Quincey and  placed him on paid administrative leave. Four months later, two months after Pomierski’s indictment, Quincey was terminated.
Quincey sued for wrongful termination and in the course of the hearings related to that suit, Quincey made what the district attorney’s office latter said were false statements, amounting to perjury.
While the perjury charge and that of embezzlement were dismissed, a felony conflict of interest by a public officer conviction was entered into the court record against him on September 9 as a result of a plea bargain.
On October 10, Judge Shahla Sabet sentenced him to serve 180-days in weekend custody at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore, stipulated three years probation and further memorialized a term of the plea bargain, to wit, that Quincey will make restitution of $50,000 to the city of Upland.  He has already put up $25,000 of that sum and will provide the rest by June 30, 2015.
Sabet further restricted Quincey from accepting or maintaining any employment position in which he would have access to city funds without prior notice to that employer of the nature of the offense he was convicted of and he is required to submit written proof to the probation officer signed by the employer within 10 days of employment. Quincey is prohibited from associating with Pomierski or any other felons  and he is not allowed to have a firearm or leave the country. He is not allowed to leave California  without first obtaining written permission of the probation officer, although Sabet granted him permission to travel to Minnesota.on the proviso that when departing and upon returning he is to advise the probation department.
Because of overcrowding at the sheriff’s detention facilities, including Glen Helen, as well as the non-violent nature of his offense, Quincey is very likely to be excused from actually being incarcerated at Glen Helen and will instead be consigned to home detention with an ankle monitor.

The Victorville Air Station

What was to become George Air Force Base was originally known as the Victorville Air Station. With war raging in Europe and President Franklin Roosevelt spurring the nation in a crash  aeronautic military capability development program, civic leaders in Victorville in April 1940 approached the United States Army in an effort to interest it in locating an airfield, which was initially sold as a training facility, in the High Mojave Desert. Citing the customary 360 days per year of sunshine and unencumbered open space, together with the availability of services from the nearby towns of both Victorville and Adelanto, they were able to convince the Department of War to approve tentative plans for such a facility.  In 1941, with war clouds growing ever more ominous, the United States Army Air Corps accelerated the plans and after an effort to secure the property in question was made, including buying parcels from willing sellers and using the threat of eminent domain against unwilling ones, an agreement was entered into and construction of the 2,200-acre base commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on 12 July 1941. Special equipment to compact the earth for the runways and to lay down the tarmac was brought to the site. Construction on the air station’s four runways had begun in earnest by August 1941. Seven hangars were part of the facilities initial construction. In addition, four other auxiliary or sub-bases were constructed, which entailed Hawes Auxiliary Airfield (No 1); Helendale Auxiliary Airfield (No 2); Mirage Auxiliary Airfield (No 3); and Grey Butte Auxiliary Airfield (No 4). The first, third and fourth auxiliary airfields have been abandoned. The Helendale facility is today the home to a test facility operated by Lockheed Skunk Works.
In addition to the airfield, the building of a large support base was carried out with barracks, various administrative buildings, maintenance shops and hangars.
The station facility consisted of a large number of buildings based on standardized plans and architectural drawings, with the buildings designed to be the “cheapest, temporary character with structural stability only sufficient to meet the needs of the service which the structure is intended to fulfill during the period of its contemplated war use.” To conserve critical materials, most facilities were constructed of wood, concrete, brick, gypsum board and concrete asbestos. Metal was sparsely used. The station was designed to be nearly self-sufficient, with not only hangars, but barracks, warehouses, hospitals, dental clinics, dining halls, and maintenance shops. There were libraries, social clubs for officers and enlisted men, and stores to buy living necessities. Over 250 buildings, together with complete water, sewer, electric and gas utilities, the airfield served over 4,000 military personnel.
Training began in February 1942 on Curtiss AT-9’s, T-6 Texan’s, and AT-17’s for pilots, and AT-11’s and BT-13 Valiant’s for bombardiers. The Army operated an advanced twin-engine pilot training school at the field, its graduated generally flying C-47 Skytrain transports, B-25 Michell or B-26 Marauder medium bombers. The school also trained replacement crew members in the B-25 and B-26. The first class of flying cadets graduated on April 24, 1942.
In addition to the pilot training, a US Army Air Force Bombardier training school was operated. The 516th, 517th and 518th Twin-Engine Flying Training Squadrons being the flying squadrons. Bombardier training was conducted by the 519th, 520th, 521st and 522d Bombardier Training Squadrons. In April 1942, these training squadrons were organized under the 36th Flying Training Wing, which became the main flying operations command and control organization. The first bombardier classes had to practice their target runs at nearby Muroc Army Air Field (later renamed Edwards Air Force Base). The pilots used Highway 395 as a landmark and guide north to the bombing range.
Waco CG-4 Glider pilots were also trained at Victorville Field, with special emphasis on spot-landing and night flying. The gliders were an essential part of the 6 June1944, D-Day invasion as hundreds of gliders carried troops and equipment to strategic landing sites in Normandy, France. To ease the overcrowded runways at Victorville, glider students practiced take-offs and landings at the El Mirage Lakebed and El Mirage Field. There were seven oiled runways on the dusty dry lake and they worked well until the lake bed flooded in January 1943.
In March 1944 a school for P-39 Aircobra single-engine pursuit pilots was established and the following month the 3035th Army Air Forces Base Unit took over the administrative organization of the flight school at the Victorville Air Station.  Bombadiers also began training on B-24 Liberator that year and in September, a radar training school for Bombardiers was established.
In May 1945, with the surrender of Germany, the training at Victorville Field began to slow down, and on 15 August, all training at the base ceased. After the Japanese capitulation, the post commander was notified about 15 September that Victorville was to be placed in a standby status. On October 12, 1945, all flying at the airfield ended and the base was placed on standby status.

Glass Ceiling No Deterrent For Garcia In Montclair Council Run

(October 13)  Josie Garcia said she is running for a position on the Montclair City Council “because we need to work to create more revenue for the city. We have to find a way to work together with business owners, city residents and community leaders to increase the value of our property, get better schools and raise the bar in the community.”
A commercial real estate broker and the owner of Valgar Realty, Garcia said, “I believe in community involvement. I am a bilingual Latina. With my business knowledge I believe I can represent the people and help the city.”
The major challenge facing Montclair, Garcia said, is “We’ve lost a lot of money. When we lost the redevelopment agency it hurt us. We need to really build a stronger business sector. We need more involvement from everyone. The city is short-staffed in a lot of its departments. To fill those jobs we need to create more revenue. We need to work with the building owners in town to fill the vacancies we have and attract the attention of businesses.
“My vision for the city is we need to work together to build the economy and the community,” Garcia continued. “I believe if we focus on core values such as education, business development, public safety and community improvement, we can build a stronger Montclair. If we insist on these things, we are sure to be paid dividends in the long run with things that will sustain our local community.”
Garcia said she is qualified to serve on the city council because “I am a self-made woman who worked from the bottom up to break through the glass ceiling and the barriers. I struggled to get to where I am. I was born to immigrant parents and was raised by a single mother. I was the first member of my family to graduate from college. I know the struggle the people in Montclair face. I am a commercial real estate broker who has managed properties for fourteen years successfully. I know how to maintain good relations with my clients and build trust. I have strong interpersonal skills and have supervisorial experience. I have a result-oriented mindset and the ability to work independently or in a team setting. Being bilingual in English and Spanish will help me lead successfully in Montclair. I believe my business experience will prove to be a suitable fit for the people of Montclair. I am a hardworking woman. I earned my college degree while working fulltime and raising a family. I have been on both sides of the fence as a resident and business owner.”
Garcia grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. She obtained a degree in business administration from Cal Poly Pomona. She has been active in the Promise Scholars Education Initiative which ensures acceptance at  Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Bakersfield or Cal Poly for any students from the Ontario Montclair School District who graduate from high school. She is on the executive committee of the Democratic Club of Claremont. She is married with two children.

Common Sense & Integrity Lacking On YV Council, Candidate Simmons Says

(October 14)  Susan Simmons said she is running for the Yucca Valley Town Council “because I want to make a difference. I feel the current town council has not been listening to everybody. I know many people are not too happy with their decisions. I want to contribute to the community and listen to everybody. I am an objective person. I have that ability. I am independent politically and I will be able to represent everybody, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. I want to see that everybody has a voice.”
In sizing up the major challenges ahead for the city, Simmons said, “We have a wastewater project that must be completed. That is a huge issue right now for this community.”
Ten years after its November 1991 incorporation, Yucca Valley was notified by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board that the lack of a sewage treatment system had resulted in nitrates accumulating in the water table. Simultaneously, the Hi-Desert Water District, which serves the Yucca Valley community, experienced nitrate traces in district wells. In 2007, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board declared Yucca Valley as a top priority for eliminating the use of septic systems.  In 2011, the town was firmly informed that it had only five years to take a definitive step toward water quality compliance, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board imposed three progressive phases of septic discharge prohibitions on Yucca Valley. Under the state mandate, phase 1 of a wastewater system must be completed or significantly on its way to completion by May 19, 2016 or enforcement action will be initiated. The first phase of the project is to cover the downtown area of Yucca Valley, the area most proximate to the heart of the groundwater basin.  Similarly, phase 2 must be completed or nearly completed by May 19, 2019 and phase 3 must be completed by May 19, 2022. The last two phases lie further out where future concentrated development is most likely to occur.
According to Simmons, “Another challenge According to Simmons, “ Another challenge is  the Yucca Valley Town Council has banned medical marijuana dispensaries. That is forcing people to grow their own. People with cancer cannot do that. Or they have to go to Palm Springs, where it costs them $100 for something that should cost them $60. For someone with a disease like cancer that is not practical. I think we should allow one to two dispensaries and regulate them and allow the tax benefits for the town to accrue to our accounts. We should provide access to this when we are dealing with people who need it medically only. I don’t support 18-year-olds getting medical marijuana. But it should be available in a medical situation. My husband has cerebral palsy and it could help him. We need regulations so that young people cannot get a hold of it.”
Simmons continued, “One issue that has been bothering me is the town is allowing Corporate America to build all over along the main highway corridor, but it is not setting aside any lands for hiking. Currently the town’s idea of open space is a grass park. I would like to see more public wilderness areas. These would benefit our teenagers. I think it would be good for us to have local trails right here and people in town would have access to them. They would be local and people would not have to get a ride to get to them.”
Simmons continued, “Another thing is that our town needs to fill up the empty buildings on the west end of town. I believe this can be achieved by the creation of a downtown partnership with the chamber of commerce. [Governor] Jerry Brown has started a new business incentive program.”
Simmons said she is qualified to serve on the town council because “not only do I possess common sense and integrity, but I have a business and accounting background. As a small business owner, I believe I can represent other business owners. The town needs new blood right now. You have had the same people running the town for way too long. The town needs change. We need change around here. The town needs fresh faces.
“I would like to think I am an honest person,” she said. “I don’t consider myself to be a politician. I’m not making promises. I am going to stick to the issues. I will make my decisions on the issues one by one. This is a nonpartisan election and I will look at things the way they are, objectively. I will make fair decisions. In my personal life, I sometimes research things to death before I do something. I drive my husband crazy that way. I already attend the council meetings. I read the packets to all the meetings. I like being informed. People making decisions need to be informed before making those decisions.”
Simmons was born in Lakewood and attended and graduated from Twentynine Palms High School after her father relocated the family to the High Desert when he was made postmaster in Twentynine Palms. She attended Copper Mountain College, where she studied accounting. She is the owner of Soap Suds Cleaning Service, which she founded in 2002. She has lived in Yucca Valley for 25 years. She is married with one child.

Barich Has Hometown Advantage In Redlands Council Race, He Says

(October 13) Emphasizing that he was “born and raised in Redlands” and that “I have a very successful business here,” Paul Barich said he is now running for city council because he sees it “as the ultimate in volunteering. I am trying to give back to the community that has been so good to me.”
In sizing up what he sees as the major issues and challenges facing Redlands, Barich said, “I feel the major challenges are keeping the city fiscally responsible and encouraging businesses to locate here so we can expand our tax base and maintain our quality of life.”
Barich said the formula he would apply to meet the challenges consists of “making sure our fees are fair so businesses will love to come here. We have to make sure the city maintains its character as a green and beautiful city. We have to go out and recruit businesses and let business owners know this is a great place to do business and that if they come here they will be successful. I think we need to maintain our emerald necklace program, the greenbelt we are trying to complete around Redlands, which shows how unique we are. I think we also need to look into trying to jumpstart our emerging tourism industry.”
The Emerald Necklace is Redlands’ effort to provide urban open space, a collection of parks, orchards, agricultural lands, canyons, river beds, ranches, trails and otherwise undeveloped real estate to serve as a buffer for any further development in Redlands that does take place.
Barich said he has already demonstrated his commitment to Redlands, which he hopes the city’s voters will consider when they go to the polls. He said his business savvy also recommends him for a position on the council. “As a lifelong Redlands resident, I think I know what our community is and how everyone wants our city to be,” he said. “I started and built up a successful business here and I intend to use my business knowledge to make sure the city is operated properly, as opposed to how some cities are run. I have been involved in the community in so many different ways over the last 30 years. I feel most of the residents here know me and trust me. I was on the Redlands Municipal Personnel Advisory Board. I am on the community music association board. I am the gentleman in the white coat who introduces the musicians and the programs during the summer performances. I have been a longtime member of the Redlands Optimist Club. I’m pretty well recognized. This community has been so good to me I feel that I should give something back.”
A graduate of Redlands High, he went on to UCLA where he majored in history. He is the owner of Barich & Associates, an insurance marketing company. He is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

Gregg Father-Son Duo Seeking Further Political Advancement In Hesperia

(October 16) HESPERIA — A father and son from Hesperia, who are already office holders in the High Desert city of 90,173, can’t seem to get enough of politics.
Kelly Gregg is a board member on the Hesperia Recreation and Park District. His son, Cody, is on the Hesperia Unified School District Board of Trustees. When the junior Gregg was elected to the school board in 2012, he was, at the age of 21, the youngest elected official in San Bernardino County.
Now, two years later, his father is vying to join him on the school board, running with Maria Gomez and Marcy Kittinger as one of three challengers who are competing against the three incumbents in the race, Eric Swanson, Hardy Black and Niccole Childs. At the same time, Kelly Gregg is running for reelection to the Recreation and Park District board.
Cody Gregg, who yet has two years remaining on his current term on the school board, is looking to step up to the Hesperia City Council. He has joined with Chris Elvert, Paul Russ Stirling Christiansen, Anthony Rhoades and James Roberts in running for three positions on the city council up for election this year. Incumbents Bill Holland and Russ Blewett are competing to stay in office. Thurston Smith decided not to run.
Neither father nor son appear to be concerned that the combination of their vaunting ambition or their familial association will put voters off. Rather, the continual repetition of the Gregg surname in so many political contexts might be creating a synergy in that it gives both greater name exposure, name recognition, and possibly positive name identification, three factors crucial to an effective campaign.

Santa Ana River Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean and are present in the Santa Ana River, which has its headwaters at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains. The Santa Ana River is the largest river entirely within Southern California. Its drainage basin spans four counties, rising in the San Bernardino Mountains and flowing past the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside before cutting through the northern tip of the Santa Ana Mountains and flowing southwest past Santa Ana to drain into the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Ana River is 96 miles long, draining a watershed of 2,650 square miles.
Resident freshwater rainbow trout adults in riverine environments average between 1 and 5 pounds. more than four pounds. The coloration of the Santa Ana River variety of rainbow trout is a true rainbow, although brown trout are also present in the Santa Ana. The fish have blue-green or olive green hues, some black spotting over the length of the body and a reddish or even orange stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most pronounced in breeding males. The caudal fin is squarish and only mildly forked.  Juvenile rainbow trout display parr marks (dark vertical bars) typical of most salmonid juveniles. In some cases the parr marks are retained into adulthood. There can be confusion over the fish present in the Santa Ana river, since it is stocked with hatchery-bred trout.
Rainbow trout spawn in early to late spring when water temperatures reach at least 42 to 44 °F,  and they prefer to  inhabit and spawn in small to moderately large, well oxygenated, shallow portions of the river with gravel bottoms. The natural rainbow trout population in the Santa Ana has been compromised by the presence of introduced rainbow trout that have established their  own wild and self-sustaining population in the river.
Spawning sites are usually a bed of fine gravel in a riffle above a pool.  A riffle is a short, relatively shallow and coarse-bedded length of stream over which the stream flows at slower velocity but a higher turbulence than it normally does in comparison to a pool. A female trout clears a redd in the gravel by turning on her side and beating her tail up and down. A red is a nest dug into the gravel by a female fish.
Female rainbow trout usually produce 1,000 to 1,400 0.16 to 0.20 inch  eggs per pound of weight. During spawning, the eggs fall into spaces between the gravel, and immediately the female begins digging at the upstream edge of the nest, covering the eggs with the displaced gravel. As eggs are released by the female, a male moves alongside and deposits milt (sperm) over the eggs to fertilize them. The eggs usually hatch in about four to seven weeks although the time of hatching varies greatly with region and habitat. Newly hatched trout are called sac-fry or alevin. In approximately two weeks, the yolk sac is completely consumed and fry commence feeding mainly on zooplankton. The growth rate of rainbow trout is variable with area, habitat, life history and quality and quantity of food. As fry grow, they begin to develop “parr” marks or dark vertical bars on their sides. In this juvenile stage, immature trout are often called “parr” because of the marks. These small juvenile trout are sometimes called fingerlings because they are approximately the size of a human finger.
The maximum recorded lifespan for a rainbow trout is 11 years.
Rainbow trout are predators with a varied diet and will eat nearly anything they can capture. They are not as piscivorous, i.e., likely to eat other fish, or aggressive as brown trout or chars. Rainbow trout routinely feed on larval, pupal and adult forms of aquatic insects (typically caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies and aquatic diptera). They also eat fish eggs and adult forms of terrestrial insects (typically ants, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets) that fall into the water. Other prey include small fish up to one-third of their length, crayfish and other crustaceans. As rainbow trout grow, the proportion of fish consumed increases in most populations. Rainbows will feed on the decomposing flesh from carcasses of other fish.
Rainbow trout are highly regarded game fish, and a popular target for fly fishers, who use  several angling methods. The use of lures presented via spinning, casting or trolling techniques is common. Rainbow trout can also be caught on various live and dead natural baits.
Because it is stocked with hatchery bred fish, the river is frequented by sport fishers.  The rainbow trout has tender flesh and a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. The wild fish has a stronger, gamier taste than hatchery bred fish. While the taste of wild-caught trout is often promoted as superior, it is illegal to sell or market wild-caught rainbow trout, which are legally classified as game fish, in the United States.
Drought, and the Seven Oaks Dam, which can withhold the amount of water pouring into the Santa Ana River, represent a threat to the wild rainbow trout population in the river.

Compton Cites Brown Act Violations In First Of Two Suits Vs. Colton

(October 9) Former Colton City Manager Stephen Compton has struck back at the city council that fired him without stating any cause earlier this year, filing a lawsuit claiming the city engaged in Brown Act violations. He lodged an additional unlawful termination claim against the city.
The claim is the precursor of a lawsuit, under consideration, which will likely be filed unless the city elects to make a payout on the claim.
The lawsuit, filed October 9, is in the form of a verified complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief combined with a petition for writ of mandate under the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Compton went to work for Colton in March 2013 after holding, over a period of 32 years  varying finance and administrative positions with Ridgecrest, Fountain Valley, Indio, Soledad and Omnitrans in California and the city of Richland Center and the village of Sturtevant in Wisconsin and the city of Greenville in Texas. During the latter part of his first year at Colton’s helm, he came across a number of operational and accounting anomalies in the city’s public works division and  capital projects. He utilized his authority as city manager, under which he could enter into contracts of up to $25,000 without first obtaining city council approval, to initiate reviews of the public works department and the city’s capital works operations and funding.
Among the issues explored in those reviews were what appear to have been  unauthorized expenditures of funds on projects which benefited property owned by at least two of the council’s members, councilman Frank Gonzales and councilwoman Susan Oliva. This information, however, was secondary to indications that there had been multiple unauthorized diversions of reserve funds to cover cost overruns on public works and capital improvement projects.
Alarm over the information Compton had procured triggered several closed session evaluations of Compton’s performance by the city council this spring. After three such discussions in April and May, the council again met on June 3 to discuss and evaluate Compton’s performance in secret. As before, the council emerged from the June 3 meeting to have the city attorney report that it had taken no reportable action.  But toward the close of the business day on June 5, Compton was confronted in his office and told he was being put on administrative leave and was then ignominiously escorted out of City Hall by a plainclothes policeman.
Compton remained on administrative leave for more than two months while an investigation into his action by then-city attorney Christina Talley and another attorney, Ontario-based Kathy M. Gandara, was ongoing. In the meantime, rumors and unsubstantiated reports abounded that Compton was to be terminated for exceeding his spending authority in carrying out the review of the public works department and the managerial decisions of public works director Amer Jakher.
The Sentinel has learned that three members of the council – Gonzales, Oliva and Mayor Sarah Zamora – were pushing to have Compton terminated with cause.  On August 4, Gandara gave the city council an oral briefing of her findings, which showed that Compton had expended roughly $48,000 on various different outside work orders for consulting services including the review of the public works department, some $23,000 more than his $25,000 independent expenditure limit. This reinforced the public perception that elements on the council were preparing to fire Compton with cause, which would obviate the necessity of conferring upon Compton any severance pay.
Gandara’s public report, however, was selective in its presentation and did not clearly delineate that the $48,000 worth of expenditures entailed a multitude of work orders, none of which exceeded Compton’s authority to engage in individual expenditures up to $25,000 each. No action with regard to Compton’s status was taken on August 4.
Ultimately and abruptly, on August 21, the city council terminated Compton, but cited no cause in doing so, triggering the necessary payment to him of four month’s salary as part of his severance in his employment agreement. At least four of the council’s members – Gonzales, Oliva, Zamora and councilman Isaac Suchil – were firmly in favor of the termination.
Throughout  his ordeal, Compton maintained his silence. Within the last fortnight, however, he and his attorney have initiated action which indicate Compton will spiritedly contest the action the city took against him and shed light on his now declared belief that he was driven out of his position because his reviews and request for a performance and financial audit was on the verge of, or already had, uncovered activity that related to improper or  unlawful activity at City Hall, including the possible diversion of city resources to benefit council members.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Cory Briggs on Compton’s behalf this week revolves around violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, which Compton claims was disobeyed when the council met to discuss his performance on June 3, at which time it  took a vote which ended in a 4 to 3 decision to suspend him. The Brown Act requires that any vote on action taken during a closed session be disclosed at once. The council, however, allowed the city attorney to report that “no reportable action” had been taken.
In his claim against the city, Compton portends at least one of the causes of action that will stand at the heart of the next lawsuit he will file, one for unlawful termination.
“On 8-21-14, on the advice of Colton’s city attorney (Christina Talley), the city of Colton and the Colton mayor and city council wrongfully terminated claimant in breach of his employment agreement and in retaliation for his reports to them of unlawful activities, including misappropriation of public funds by elected city officials, overstated account balances, improper use of the general fund to balance excessive spending by public works, and after he informed them that he needed to conduct an investigation on those matters,” the claim states.
Compton has yet to be provided with his four months of severance pay, and he maintains that because the city’s action in terminating him was illegally done, he remains as city manager under the terms of his three- year contract, which was entered into in October 2013 and runs from November 1, 2013 until October 31, 2016.
Talley is no longer employed as Colton city attorney. Efforts to obtain comment from her replacement, Carlos Campos, were unsuccessful at press time.

SB Council Vacates Work Pact With Firefighters

(October 7) SAN BERNARDINO—A divided San Bernardino City Council this week moved to unwind particular provisions of the city’s contract with firefighters. The vote was immediately protested by the firefighters’ union as illegal, but city attorney Gary Saenz said the action had been given legal clearance by the federal judge hearing the city’s bankruptcy case.
Monday’s move by the city council actuates a tentative alteration of the city’s budget approved on a 5-2 vote in June. That spending plan called for the fire department to shutter one of its fire stations and the implementation of “constant staffing,”
Constant staffing is a strategy by which the department schedules a minimum number of staffed fire engines or paramedic units at all times and apportions those crews by number to correspond with peak usage periods in an effort to reduce manpower demands and head off excessive overtime.
This action played out against a backdrop that includes severe financial challenges to the county seat, a city of 209,924. After years of annual budgets that were essentially unbalanced or otherwise involved heavy borrowing from the city’s reserves, San Bernardino filed a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition in August 2012. In its filing, the county seat asserted it had $180 million in ongoing unfunded liabilities and a $49 million annual operating deficit. Some of the city’s creditors contested the city’s filing, maintaining San Bernardino has hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assets it could liquidate to make good on its debts.
Despite efforts by some entities, including the state’s pension fund system, opposing the bankruptcy, the city prevailed. Simultaneously, the city was moving to implement a host of cost cutting measures, including seeking concessions from its employee unions on elements within the current employment agreements. Because public safety programs account for some 67 percent of the city’s budget, many of those concessions asked for were from the police and fire unions. When the unions balked at those measures, the city sought permission from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury to impose them unilaterally. Last month, Jury ruled that the city could vacate its existing contract with firefighters, though that ruling did not explicitly state that the city could dictate future terms of its own without further negotiation.
With no further concessions from the firefighters union forthcoming, the city council this week, with councilman Rikke Van Johnson absent, took up the issue of the imposition of the terms the city layered into this year’s budget.
Councilman John Valdivia, a police and fire union advocate, inveighed against the staffing change, saying it risked public safety. Union officials maintained city manager Alan Parker had not negotiated with them in good faith on the changes. Parker responded that the city had straightforwardly laid out its position and gave the union representatives ample opportunity to respond. The difficulty, Parker said, is the unions are absolutely opposed to any further cuts. The city manager said that not only he, but former city managers Charles McNeeley and Andrea Travis-Miller, had repeatedly counseled the city council that the city cannot hope to balance its budget without serious reductions in the amount of money the city is paying for public safety services.
After some contretemps between city council members Fred Shorett and Valdivia over their conflicting views on the necessity of, in the case of the former, reducing public safety funding, and in the case of the latter, maintaining public safety funding, the council deadlocked 3-3 in a vote to impose constant staffing, with councilwoman Virginia Marquez, councilmen Jim Mulvihill and Shorett in favor and Valdivia and councilmen Benito Barrios and Henry Nickel opposed.
Mayor Carey Davis, who is not empowered to vote on issues before the council unless there is a tie, then used his authority to support the imposition of new terms and conditions of employment on the city’s firefighters.
In November, city voters are slated to vote on Measure Q, a proposal to alter the city’s charter to remove a provision that guarantees that both policeman and firefighters be provided with salaries based upon the average pay provided to their counterparts in ten similarly sized California cities.