A year ago the Oakley City Council shocked the city by attempting to bail out the City Manager’s mortgage at the taxpayers’ expense. The facts:
- Between the $196,500 the City Manager gained from his house being underwater and getting a guaranteed minimum of $170,000 for its sale, he was to get a $366,500 bonus (nearly twice his yearly salary) all at your expense.
- This came at a time when people all over Oakley were losing their houses to foreclosure. Where was the bailout of their mortgages, which were underwater like the City Manager’s? Where was their gift from the city?
- The Council negotiated directly with the City Manager in a closed session, a violation of the state’s open meeting laws.
- The City Manager, by negotiating benefits to his own position while serving in a position where he was supposed to be protecting the public’s interest, was clearly involved in a “conflict of interest” situation.
- The state Constitution prohibits the gift of public funds to an employee without the taxpayer getting an equal amount in exchange. The size of the gift, and lack of any return to taxpayers, violates that law.
- As if all this wasn’t enough, it turns out the City Manager had been excused from his mortgage payments to the city 2 ½ years before the bailout. Did he negotiate that deal behind closed doors too? And if he was in financial distress, how could he have bought another investment home during that time?
Later the City Manager and City Council (except Councilman Pope who voted against the bailout) tried to defend their actions but the deal was eventually scrapped under public outrage and media attention. Since then, they’ve sat by hoping time would make people forget. But we can’t forget. To this point, they’ve not been held accountable.