Wednesday, August 13, 2014
(San Joaquin County) City Council approves response to grand jury; mayor rebuts conclusions
August 13, 2014
By Roger Phillips, Record Staff Writer
STOCKTON - Mayor Anthony Silva defended himself one final time against critical grand jury findings Tuesday night, then joined the rest of the City Council in saying it was time to put the matter to rest.
The San Joaquin County grand jury determined earlier this year that the mayor has not properly supervised volunteers who work for him, putting Stockton in legal jeopardy.
Councilwoman Kathy Miller said during Tuesday's meeting that Stockton has rules governing the use of volunteers and there was "clearly liability to the city if those policies weren't being followed."
"The key is 'if,' " Silva said. "Let's not rehash any of this unless you want me to read my 20-minute report and go on and on and on. At no time were there unauthorized volunteers or interns. For anyone to say such a thing is absurd and incorrect."
Silva wound up joining the council in unanimously approving a legally required response by the city to the grand jury's report. The city's response agreed with many of the grand jury's findings, but with his comments Tuesday, Silva got his objections to the response on the record.
The council adopted two amendments to the city response that were suggested by Councilman Moses Zapien.
They voted for the council's legislative committee, which Zapien chairs, to join the city's staff in crafting future responses to grand jury reports.
Additionally, the response adopted Tuesday noted a new city policy for censuring elected officials who publicly disclose confidential information discussed during closed-session meetings. The grand jury found Silva violated confidentiality rules last year during the process of selecting Stockton's new city manager.
The discussion on the grand jury report lasted 35 minutes. Several audience members in the half-empty council chambers said the time would have been better spent discussing issues they said are of greater concern to Stockton residents.
"We need to get some people in here that actually take their jobs seriously; don't waste their time with this petty stuff about who had a volunteer that didn't get vetted," said Aaron Paradiso, a frequent critic of the Stockton police. "You should have a lot more important things to be up here about."
But Gary Malloy, a citizen watchdog and meeting frequenter, applauded the conversation.
"The discussion tonight is something the council should have done a long, long time ago, whether it's painful or not," Malloy said.
Contact reporter Roger Phillips at (209) 546-8299 or email@example.com. Follow him at www.recordnet.com/phillipsblog and on Twitter @rphillipsblog.