Sometimes, when something is wrong with you, and you haven't been to the doctor, you imagine all kinds of diagnoses... is it cancer, will you die... it is the not knowing that causes you to spin and spin.
That is the case here. Out of the lack of information and specifics, rumor has become a rampant tumor, spinning wildly out of control. Many people are talking, though none on the record, and out of that the rumors grow. You've got the Elsebusch's (and others) demanding answers, reporters trying to get the story...
The Grand Jury conducted an investigation of sorts, and issued a statement that is too incomplete to be called findings.
And then you've got the rumors, some of them vicious, some with basis in fact, some with none.
One of those rumors showed up in the comment thread below. Ironically enough the discussion was about the merits (or lack thereof) of anonymous comments. And, in that very thread, you get to see both sides of the anonymity issue.
I considered deleting the first comment, because of the nature of the anonymous rumor. But the fact is, these things are out there, and if they are not brought into the sunlight and examined, the thing continues to fester and ooze, getting uglier as it grows. I have reservations about posting that comment here.
But it is the reason for the second comment, which addresses some of the issues, and asks a good many questions. I think the questions need to be addressed.
The first anonymous comment -
anonymous said... 1/29/2008 9:22 PM
the falor incident was going to get ugly, had it gotten out in public. she made unwanted sexual advances on a female staffer and with threats of a harrassment lawsuit against the county,
she pulled out other items that had they been made public would have made things even messier.
it cost the county a whole lot more just to pay her off and make her go away...
And here is the response -
Rose, Kym stated, “Nasty gossip can ruin someone's reputation and livelihood.” A truer statement could not have been made, especially in the case of “anonymous, 1/29/08 9:22 PM.” That was an outrageous lie anonymous posted, because anyone who had even the briefest acquaintance with Ms. Falor would recognize that honesty was her hallmark and good will toward our community was absolute. Furthermore, whoever “anonymous” is, one might be able to guess from the information revealed in one of the most tightly guarded county secrets in history, that the author of that irresponsible lie is either an “insider” or acquainted with information to which only an insider would have access. In either case, the author was irresponsible and malicious to plant such a rumor on a public blog. Anonymous’ statement follows an equally outrageous and irresponsible Grand Jury report.
Here are some facts:
◼ The County Counsel’s office has between 16 and 18 people in it.
◼ The Assistant County Counsel reviews Grand Jury reports before they are published.
◼ Upward promotion in the County Counsel’s office could occur once Falor either retired, resigned, or was not reinstated once her contract ran out.
◼ The Grand Jury report of 2006-2007 was an incomplete report. It was irresponsible that any Assistant County Counsel allowed an incomplete, personally damaging report to be made public rather than recommending to the Grand Jury that it should wait until all of the evidence were in and the report were complete before releasing it or any “findings” for the public to read.
◼ By its own admission, the Grand Jury interviewed only two of the members of the County Counsel’s office. What about its doing a complete investigation and interviewing every member of the County Counsel’s office? I am certain there would be another conclusion. In an investigation of this importance, one that could (and did) ruin a person’s reputation, wouldn’t any person in Ms. Falor’s position want all witnesses to be interviewed rather than just a few? How is justice served by releasing a half-complete, half-baked report with misleading statements and false conclusions? Where is justice served by giving “part” of an incomplete investigation for the public to puzzle about?
◼ The Grand Jury Report stated, “There was considerable written evidence …to the effect that Ms. Falor’s job performance had been less than satisfactory for several years.” This is patently false. Each year until January, 2007, the County Counsel received laud from the BOS. Through the CA Public Records Act, one could petition the county for accurate information, which I am sure anonymous 9:22 PM did not do.
◼ The settlement in the Falor matter was just that, a settlement, meaning that the original claim would have been much higher had it gone to trial.
◼ Unless the BOS had something to hide, something they did not want out in public, they never would have “settled” and just let the contract run out in five months, saving the county over $200,000 according to the Grand Jury’s own report. THAT “something” is what the Grand Jury needs to explore, but hasn’t. The mere fact that the BOS settled (quickly and very secretly) points to something that needs to be looked into.
There are other questions that need to be considered in the Falor case.
◼ Was Ms. Falor even called before the Grand Jury to answer questions in her own defense? I am not sure of this, but I believe it did not happen. Otherwise, it would have appeared in the Grand Jury’s illegitimate “report.”
◼ Who stood to profit with Falor gone? All those who would be promoted, perhaps? Those who were passed over for promotion when she was hired, perhaps? The person who “approved” an incomplete Grand Jury report to be made public, perhaps?
◼ Could it be that Falor did have something on the BOS that would warrant a loyal, career civil servant to take the almost unthinkable step to sue her employers? Smart people do not make charges without evidence, especially smart attorneys, nor do responsible civic leaders (BOS) acknowledge error by compensating a plaintiff if there is no basis for the compensation, especially if the contract of the plaintiff were merely to expire within five months. That the BOS settled “secretly and with no explanation” lends credence to their having something to hide.
◼ What would motivate “anonymous” to publish such an excoriating lie, one that would strike an emotional nerve in ill-informed readers’ minds? Perhaps the author wanted to continue the character assignation that began with the Grand Jury’s “incomplete” investigation report, a report that was probably approved by the very person who replaced Falor. If this is so, and if anonymous’ information comes from within the office of the County Counsel, then the Grand Jury owes it to the community to investigate the inner workings of the County Counsel’s Office and all who work there.
There are so many questions surrounding the Falor case that causes it to smell like a cover-up and a conspiracy. Who initiated the initial movement to remove Ms. Falor from her office? Was it a member of the BOS? If so, who an why? According to records, Ms. Falor won all the cases she represented for the county but one. Are there special interests involved? Why was the Assistant County Counsel given only a temporary promotion? Does the BOS have another attorney in mind for the job? One it might have more influence over? There are just too many questions involved with this “incomplete report” that the whole Falor issue warrants a genuine investigation by the Grand Jury, or by an outside investigating team if the Grand Jury is too frightened or incompetent to perform its sworn duty, namely to make complete and thorough investigations into citizens’ complaints, not just partial, incomplete, and highly flawed investigations which produce damaging and false conclusions.
Bottom line is - this is a public employee, and a closed session decision, and we will never know all the answers, much as we might all like to have them. Good, bad or indifferent, that is the way it is.
County counsel resigns post 02/23/2007
County pays Falor $289,000 03/02/2007
$289,000 monster payout leaves many astonished 03/03/2007
Prior to resignation, county sought to terminate Falor 03/11/2007
Violations of Brown Act alleged in Falor settlement 03/13/2007
Fess up or be fired on Falor payout 03/15/2007
County residents deserve transparency about Falor resignation 03/16/2007
What's the whole story behind Falor's resignation? 03/18/2007
'Hiding dirty laundry behind the Brown Act is not good government' 03/23/2007
Suit alleges Brown Act breach 04/21/2007
How about openness by everyone? 04/26/2007
Report: More questions unanswered than answered in county counsel settlement 06/29/2007
Judge clears county on alleged Brown Act violations 07/06/2007
Suit on payout to ex-counsel dismissed 07/06/2007
Real facts of Falor brouhaha (3 sentences) 07/10/2007
Falor settlement handled well 07/11/2007