August 8, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Former Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould Downplays Corruption Allegations:

A group called the Santa Monica Transparency Project has filed complaints against former Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould alleging he violated Santa Monica’s anti-corruption law after accepting employment with a consulting firm whose contracts he signed while City Manager.

Transparency Project is an all-volunteer group of Santa Monica residents concerned about openness and accountability in City government. The group has previously filed complaints against former Mayor/current Councilmember Pam O’Connor about campaign contributions, some of which she has given back.

One of the main crutches in the group’s argument against Gould is that shortly after Gould retired as City Manager at the end of January, he and his wife moved to San Francisco, which is only a commute away from San Jose where Management Partners is located.

This, according to the group, suggests a possible quip pro quo that needs to be further investigated.

On Aug. 1 last year, Gould gave notice to the City Council that he intended to retire at the end of January of this year, after serving five years as City Manager.

About a month after his announcement, the President and CEO of the Management Partners, Jerry Newfarmer, reached out to Gould, inquiring about possible employment opportunities after his retirement.

Management Partners is a firm whose business comes from working with local governments and, because of this is, is nearly entirely made up of department directors, city managers, and heads of human resources, finance, information technology, and public works peoples.

The conversations between Newfarmer and Gould would continue intermittingly over the course of the next couple of months, lasting into the winter, with Gould telling Newfarmer “that [he] wasn’t interested in making any commitments until [he] had fully retired and relocated and thought through what [he] wanted to do in the next stage of life.”

On Jan. 27 of this year, Gould and his wife moved to San Francisco, where they had first met. It was a move with his family in mind, bringing he and his wife closer to their daughter, who works in the City.

“Having moved my wife five times in my career,” Gould said over the phone, “I told her that after Santa Monica she could decide where we would live, and she wanted to go back to Marin County, where we had been for 10 years when I managed the City of San Rafael.”

They headed back to the City where they had fallen in love while working at a consulting firm. They would marry shortly after Gould was hired as City Manager of San Rafael and would do most of their child raising in the Bay area.

It was a place they had once considered home and now it was time to finally head back.

Gould is now only a drive away from the consulting firm Management Partners, whose employment sparked concern with Santa Monica Transparency Project, who claim that his move to the Bay and his proximity to the firm are more than a comfortable coincident.

“Rod Gould’s accepting employment from a company as to whom he had approved a series of contracts before he left office goes to the very heart of the integrity of city government,” said Mary Marlow, Chair of the Santa Monica Transparency Project, who goes on to suggest that this action by the City’s most senior official is corrosive to a communities’ trust in government.

The complaint lists six incidents where Gould had approved of contracts between the City and his new employer, Management Partners. The complaint goes on to say that Gould violated the City’s anti-corruption law known as the Oaks Initiative by going to work for the firm after approving their contracts.

However, an impediment for the Transparency Group is that the Oaks Initiative does not apply outside of Santa Monica and Gould was hired once in Northern California.

“There is…no other action that this office can or should take at this time on this complaint,” said Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Moutrie in a letter, responding to Marlow’s allegations.

A similar response came form Martha Perego, Director of Member Services at ICMA (International City/County Management Association), in response to the Transparency Project’s ethics complaint.

“For it be an ethics issue there must be some facts indicating that the manager was negotiating future employment during the deal or that they cooked the deal for personal interests,” she said in an email to Gould. “In other words, an optics issue that could undermine faith in the deal or a true quid pro quo. I don’t see either” – something the complaints and its supporting documents fails to identify.

As Santa Monica City Manager, Gould was responsible for signing the vast majority of contracts for the City – often five to 10 a day, adding up to thousands over the course of a year. And in no cases, Gould said, was there any private consideration for him.

The allegations took Gould by surprise, “coming out of left field,” and if legally or ethically valid, he would have taken the appropriate actions to correct the mistake.

“While I will defend till my last day the right of this group and the right of any other group to challenge its city government, to question their leaders,” Gould said, “It doesn’t mean that by making allegations that those allegations are either fact based or true and in this case they are neither.”

in News
Related Posts

Brentwood-Adjacent Residential High-Rise Complete

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

The first high-rise residential development built west of the 405 in over 40 years is now leasing luxury apartments. Learn...

Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – August 8th, 2022

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Property, Developments, and Listings on the Westside.* Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City* Gardening Tips for Fall*...

Supervisor Holly Mitchell Calls for Update of Marina del Rey’s Vision Statement

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Marina Del Rey is now considered part of District Two in Los Angeles County and now falls...

Meridian Building Sells in Santa Monica for $18 Million

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Redcar Properties buys Santa Monica office at 1448 15th Street By Dolores Quintana Redcar Properties purchased a second property in...

Pier Vendors File Civil Rights Class Action Law Suit Against City of Santa Monica

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Class action lawsuit alleges that the city is depriving minorities with low incomes of their vehicles By Dolores Quintana A...

LA City Council Votes to Ban Homeless Encampment Within 500 Feet of Schools

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Final vote expected next week By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Council this week took steps to...

Coming Soon: Third Annual Century City ‘Rock & Roll Casino Night’

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Proceeds from the August 25 event support Chamber programs and services for the business community  By Susan Payne  The Century...

Santa Monica Restaurant Holding Seafood Festival

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Dia del Pescador comes to Socalo August 4-7 By Dolores Quintana Socalo Restaurant in Santa Monica is holding a special...

Nate ‘n Al’s Deli Reopens Renovated Indoor Dining Area

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Longtime deli reopens indoor dining for first time since pandemic  By Dolores Quintana The iconic Nate ‘n Al’s Deli has...

Santa Monica College Named One of 40 Best Film Schools in U.S. and Canada

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

SMC alongside Stanford University, UCLA, USC, ArtCenter College of Design, and California Institute of the Arts, among others  Santa Monica...

Music Director Roger Kalia Renews Contract With Orchestra Santa Monica for Another Three Years

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

“I am grateful and honored to continue and deepen my relationship with Orchestra Santa Monica for the next three years,”...

Final Vote Set for Ban on Homeless Encampments Near Schools

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

LA City Council to vote on bill that would ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers...

Homeless Man Arrested in Stabbing of Another Homeless Person at Santa Monica Library

August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

Quade Larry Colbert arrested in connection to stabbing at Main Library By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a homeless man...

SMMUSD Unanimously Votes In Ten Percent Raise For Teachers: Santa Monica Beat – August 1st, 2022

August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* SMMUSD Unanimously Votes In Ten Percent Raise For Teachers* Meet Local Law...