The Grand Jury blasts the mayor

The 2013-14 Grand Jury report says City Hall is a sieve and Mayor Anthony Silva is leaker-in chief.

In a withering, scolding report, the Grand Jury said Silva foremost among city officials blows off the Brown Act and illegally leaks closed-session information to — well, they couldn’t say for sure, but — coincidentally! — his union supporters knew all about the finalists in the City Manager hiring process.

Union reps then then lobbied council members to support the labor-friendly candidate.

“It is the observation of the Grand Jury that the majority of those individuals identified as having contacted Council Members on this issue, are known to be supporters of the Mayor on other issues,” the report says.

To put it another way, the Mayor gave the inside track to special interests, putting them ahead of the general public. In exchange, he gets union support.

This is classic Silva. On full display is one of his defining characteristics: he thinks the rules are for chumps.

If you doubt it, check this out: “The Grand Jury could not determine if the (mayor’s) volunteers have access to confidential e-mails or attorney-client files. The Mayor was unable to name his volunteers and did not provide those names to the Grand Jury when requested to do so.”

He refused to cooperate with the Grand Jury, in other words.

Also classic Silva:  there is never an over-arching policy or philosophy. It’s all transactional. You scratch my back, unions, I’ll scratch yours. Finally, the raw, bumbling incompetence — which, the Grand Jury points out, could well have got the city sued for millions. 

A sidenote is the chutzpah shown by Kathryn Nance, heads of the police union. In the news story about the Grand jury report Nance agreed with the grand jury’s finding.

She said, “All members of the council knew and were aware that the names of the city manager candidates were known by a number of members of the public weeks in advance of the Mayor’s disclosure. Yet none had taken any action, either in open or closed session to address this concern or take steps to address the disclosure.”

Now get a load of this from the Grand jury report: “Another Council Member indicated he or she had received a text from a leader within the Stockton Police Officers Association who indicated the names of the two finalists and that the Association was in support of the Mayor’s preferred candidate.”

So Nance publicly scolded the council for leaks — while privately she, or members of her union, took unfair advantage of the process by getting information through leaks.  

Who gets the shaft in all this is the public — you — and you’ll continue to get the shaft until you remove from power people who put their own political power or special interests ahead of you. Not to mention ahead of the law.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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