2nd Pham Death Investigation Launched
As announced by Jon Cassidy in the Orange County Register today, HERE, the City of Costa Mesa has launched a second investigation into the death of employee Huy Pham on March 17th of this year - St. Patrick's Day. You will recall that his leap from the City Hall roof was the tragic exclamation point to a tough day - when more than 200 employees received 6-month layoff notices that formed the bow wave of this new administration as it sliced through the morale of the city staff, launching an outsourcing effort that could potentially affect half the city staff.
"MEN IN BLACK"?
Apparently, according to Cassidy's report, the City Attorney - Tom Duarte of Jones & Mayer - decided to hire s former Secret Service agent named Ron Williams of an outfit called Talon Executive Services for "general litigation support". I guess we can look forward to sun-tanned guys with reflective sunglasses looking like they came straight from the cast of Men in Black wandering around City Hall. Of course, 90 days after the incident there will be not a single shred of evidence remaining at the site. I wonder if they'll be interrogating every employee on this case? Will they want to talk with anyone who observed the "crime scene"? I was there 15 minutes after Pham landed - will they want to interrogate me?
LAME CITY RESPONSE
The city is virtually mum on this move. Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell sent me the following statement today:
Statement from the City of Costa Mesa:In order to reduce the City’s potential liability exposure, the Costa Mesa City Attorney determined it was prudent to hire, through the law firm of Jones & Mayer, Talon Executive Services for general litigation support in anticipation of litigation—a common practice. Because this concerns legal issues, the City Attorney and City have no further comment at this time.
CLOSED SESSION DECISION?
There is no more information forthcoming. Cassidy mentions that he's asked for a copy of the contract. We must assume that, since this involves potential legal action, the decision and go-ahead was made during a closed session. I know it wasn't made in open session, for sure.
MORE DISTRUST BY THE CITY COUNCIL
In my opinion - my blog, my opinions - this reeks of that distrust CEO Tom Hatch mentioned during his meeting with the members of the CMPD last week. I've not spoken with anyone from the police department about this, but I suspect they will support this move in public, but be pretty darn steamed privately. It's a backhand to all those men and women who performed the initial investigation. It makes one wonder if this may not just be a preamble to dumping the entire CMPD and hiring a bunch of mercenaries to "police" our city - kind of like Fallujah.