The Chronicle ran a choppy op-ed from Gabriel Vazquez today on the bonusgate scandal. The former councilmember seems to channel local blogs with this snippet:
Clearly, the public trust has been violated, but there is more at stake than proper payroll procedures.
Someone has to take responsibility. It is unsettling to hear an elected official play the victim by claiming, “I trusted staff and was taken advantage of.” It is completely unacceptable to say $50,000 or $60,000 is “no big deal” as Council Member Alvarado has reportedly stated. The public expects elected officials to take responsibility for what goes on during their time in office. The benchmark of a good politician is to take responsibility for irregularities as a means to demonstrate fitness for office.
Someone has to be held accountable. Someone in Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado’s office had to authorize the bonuses, and someone in Finance had to approve them for a check to be issued. Documents clearly indicate Alvarado did authorize subordinates to use her signature. The real question is, did Alvarado know of the bonuses?
The investigation must be thorough, independent and completely legitimate. High-level officials such as the controller, the mayor and the director of Finance should be transparent about payroll and bonus procedures. The lack of information raises questions about the credibility of the investigation.
Yes, it does raise questions about the investigation.
On that topic, Matt Stiles reported on Saturday that Rosenthal’s office still hasn’t been presented with results of the city’s investigation:
District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal had said that a report from the investigators could be sent to his office by the end of this week. He said Friday he hasn’t yet received anything.
This certainly seems like a plodding investigation.
For her part, Alvarado still is afflicted with Sudden Mute Syndrome, thus relegating Marc Campos to relay daily absurdities:
Alvarado has stopped commenting about the situation. Her political consultant, Marc Campos, said the councilwoman was “outraged” when she saw more documents about the bonuses on Friday.
“You would hope that somebody would’ve caught that,” Campos said.
If only Mayor Pro Tem Alvarado had bothered to scrutinize the monthly budget reports for her Mayor Pro Tem’s office, perhaps she would be less outraged now.