New to this paper–and on the front page–is a feature the Chief imagined would have the impact of an article in a space the size of a postage stamp. She both invented and named it.
Welcome to the Accountability Corner.
In so timely a manner as we can, given that the Voice appears on the first and third Thursdays monthly, we will highlight a relevant factoid that should , in its brevity, speak volumes.
Here’s the Chief in her own words:
“This week’s Accountability Corner will demonstrate how much taxpayer money has so far been wasted by the City of Tulare by putting three highly salaried police command staffers on paid administrative leave. The amounts we report are only an approximation and will be printed in each issue until Tulare either puts these employees back to work or fires them.
As readers may recall, more than $100k was wasted by putting former Tulare Police Chief Jerry Breckinridge on paid administrative leave while not even telling the residents this had occurred.
The Accountability Corner will focus on those cities that are the worst offenders in filing frivolous lawsuits and are the least transparent. One red flag for us will be if a defendant, or a person under investigation–or their attorney–speaks freely but a city administration hides behind its lawyers.
If suspended Tulare Police Chief Wes Hensley is willing to speak publicly and the City of Tulare is not, it doesn’t take a brain trust to figure out who is being truthful.
The same is true for Woodlake. Former Woodlake police officer Daniel Garibay was fired for having a relationship with a woman of which his boss did not approve. Now Woodlake is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars already spent in legal fees and a possible large settlement payout.
Too many times employees are fired or put on administrative leave as a result of hidden agendas or hurt feelings. Residents would like to tell their city councils, county supervisors and their staffs that you need to heal your fragile egos on your own dime and not the taxpayer’s.”
The Chief has a solid idea–particularly in regard to the City of Tulare, or, more properly, its city council. Hensley was suspended by Tulare City Manager Joe Carlini effective September 28.
I’m writing this on 19 December.
And an investigation has yet to commence.
This isn’t good stewardship of taxpayer money.
Or isn’t the Tulare City Council allowed to at least call for an investigation?
Or is extended, unexplained–and uninvestigated–paid administrative leave somehow a fiscally conservative measure?
Speaking of accountability, I’d like to take this moment to recognize the Citizens for Hospital Accountability group for its successful efforts. While having no affiliation with that organization–apart from using the word ‘accountability’ for our new feature–it has been undeniable to us here at the Voice that the group was instrumental in completely changing the hospital board and the whole culture there.
We’ll see what happens next with the hospital. I remain confident it’ll surge.
But I am willing to wager that a similar group, with similar focus and drive, would meet with similar success if it concerned itself with Tulare’s City Council.
I don’t even live in Tulare and I’d still like to see the back of most of its city council members.
Especially Mayor Carlton Jones, who emcees this lurching burlesque with the grace of churlish clown and the aptitude of quadraplegic juggler.
Ask yourself if, in his mayoral capacity, he is helping anything along in the City of Tulare. Ask yourself if the city council, indeed the city itself, would not be better off if he were totally out of government.
You don’t need Robert Mueller for this one.
Imagine a Tulare where a reformed hospital is up and running both efficiently and transparently.
Imagine a Tulare whose city council operates similarly.
Now stop imagining, Tulareans, roll up your sleeves and engineer this change.
In the meantime, the Accountability Corner will roll along, calling attention to chicanery and nefariousness everywhere.