When can you call an abuse of power simply that an abuse?
Normally it’s when someone in a position of power uses that power to influence a process to benefit one side over the other. Wikipedia describes it in this way, “Abuse of power, in the form of “malfeasance in office” or “official misconduct,” is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties. Malfeasance in office is often grounds for a for cause removal of an elected official by statute or recall election.”
So for example lets use the City Council Meeting on June 25th 2013. The final tab item delt with the issue of replacing the current Security Contractor for the City of Rialto. Marcus Fuller and City Staff used a very clear set of guidelines to qualify companies for the approval of working with our city and obtaining the Security Contract. After all the bids were in and evaluated Contact Security Inc. (CSI) was found to be the best fit in accordance with the guidelines set forward by city staff.
For the last 18 years General Security Services (GSS) has worked here in Rialto. They have covered our parks, metro link, city offices & downtown area. Their last contact the city paid them $240,000. I became aware we had security Services last year when I witnessed one of their security guards walk past a group of people in Flores Park after 10pm and did nothing. He didn’t make contact, he didn’t look in their direction or call dispatch he just locked the bathrooms and went on his way. I was blown away that I was the only person calling dispatch to report these people in the park after park hours.
What bothered me even more was back in 2008 when my family moved back into Rialto Flores Park went through a massive rash of gang activity and graffiti. I begged and pleaded with our city and police department for a permanent solution. The only solution was forcing people that had to live here to act as defacto security and patrol our own park. If there has been security in the city since 1995 what was their purpose? Why put residents in danger when we were PAYING security personnel to patrol those parks?
So I began asking around looking for a reason why this company had zero impact on keeping our parks safe. I came across numerous employees that told me a story that is all to common in contract security. The accusation is that General Security Services tells the city that they will do what they ask but tells its employees to drive without seeing the issues because it was to much trouble to get involved. Many security companies scare their employees with the thought of unemployment if they chose to involve themselves in illegal situations even with the simplest action of calling the police.
On Thursday June 20th I sat down with Marcus Fuller the Public Works Director, Mike Story the City Administrator, Lt. Bill Wilson with Rialto PD and Chief Tony Farrar. Mike Story, Bill Wilson & Marcus Fuller all admitted that monitoring the company that worked in the city had never really happened they were waiting for complaints. So they don’t tell you that they pay a company $240,000 a year to secure our public facilities and then expect you to complain about something that in your mind doesn’t exist.
So Councilman Shawn O’Connell asks Mike Story to evaluate any company that has had a long term contract with the city that has received numerous extensions. Thus the security contract was put out to bid and a strict set of guidelines was created to remove companies that didn’t conform to the guidelines set forth in the RFP. General Security Services did not conform to those guidelines and should have been removed from the process. Marcus Fuller made a decision to allow them to remain and complete the process, no other company was given this right.
Even though General was given the right to remain in the process they did not finish on the top and Contact Security Services was chosen by the committee to receive the contract. I was unhappy with this and not only placed calls to Mayor Robertson, Mike Story & Councilman O’Connell I went to council that night and spoke out about the $302,000 contract the city was handing out to a company that was no different than General if not worse. What Mayor Robertson did after that blew me away she instructed Marcus Fuller to go back to General and allow them to change their proposal to fit the RFP guidelines and come in $19,000 under Contact Security Inc. No other company was given this right only the company that was accused by city staff to be trolling council looking for an ear to bend.
The end result was Marcus Fuller after much prodding from Councilman Shawn O’Connell Marcus Fuller finally said who directed him to act in such an inappropriate way. Now General Security has a 90 day extension on the security contract and no one knows where things will go from here.
According to the Fair Political Practice Commission what Mayor Robertson and Public Works Director Marcus Fuller did looks illegal
‘ 18702. Making, Participating in Making, or Using or Attempting to Use Official Position
to Influence a Government Decision,
(a) To determine if a public official is making, participating in making, or using or
attempting to use his/her official position to influence a government decision, apply 2 Cal. Code Regs. sections 18702.1 through 18702.4, respectively.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of this regulation, to determine if a public official who holds an office specified in Government Code section 87200 is making, participating in making, or using or attempting to use his or her official position to influence a governmental decision relating to an agenda item which is noticed for a meeting subject to the provisions of the Bagley-Keene Act Government Code section 11120 et seq.) or the Brown Act (Government Code section 54950 et seq.) apply 2 Cal. Code Regs. sections 18702.1(a)(1)-(a)(4), 8702.2, 18702.3, 18702.4, and 18702.5. Note: Authority cited: Section 83112, Government Code. Reference: Sections 81002, 81003,
87100, 87101, 87105 and 87200, Government Code
Mayor Robertson claims that Downtown businesses that she spoke to like General Security Services. Luckily Councilman Ed Palmer owns a business in our Downtown and tells a different story. He speaks to Security staff either unwilling or unable to fulfill the post they were assigned. There is a massive disconnect between the people supervising the contract and the contract itself. For 18 years no one has monitored what WE have paid MILLIONS for.
Below is the link where you can see the meeting unfold for yourself if you want to skip straight to the Security Contract it is TAB 12.