Thursday, June 16, 2011

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.


Apparently, according to Cassidy's report, the City Attorney - Tom Duarte of Jones & Mayer - decided to hire s former Secret Service age
nt 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?


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.

There is no more information forthcoming. Cassidy mentions that he's asked for a copy of the co
ntract. 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.

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.

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Anonymous Judy Lindsay said...

Where is the money coming for this???

6/16/2011 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Gee, I wonder what this is going to cost? No wonder Hatch asked for an increase in the City Attorney budget. Can't they let this poor man rest in peace? What the hell is wrong with this City.

6/16/2011 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous MyOpinion said...

Well there they go again! In my opinion hiring an appropriate qualified outside consultant in any matter involving potential large liability exposure like roadway design, police shooting, City vehicle accidents, fatalities or great bodily injury etc. should be given prompt evaluation by the City Attorney. The City Attorney should meet with key City staff in the departments involved to discuss the situation and gather information. That should involve the Risk Manager and also inviting the City Manager (C.E.O.) and keeping him informed. The City Council should be apprised of the matter at an early date either by a closed session item or a confidential memorandum. In a matter such as the Pham death waiting 90 days before hiring a qualified forensic consultant is NOT prompt action nor likely to be very helpful and worth the cost when it comes to testifying at deposition or in court. The CMPD investigators will have more credibility. Police findings, report and conclusion that it was an act of suicide should go a long way to help defend the City in the event of litigation. It is open to question if the purpose of hiring an outside consultant in this matter has the appearance of or use for some other questionable purpose.

6/16/2011 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Pentagon Hexagram said...

Litigation as a result of internal investigations is a reality that all employers are faced with in today’s corporate world. Because of this very issue, Talon utilizes a proprietary investigation/interview methodology that was developed to yield a better than 94% confession rate while simultaneously mitigating civil liability. This technique has been developed to meet the needs of businesses and labor attorneys alike as well as addressing the needs of Human Resource professionals within the organization.

6/16/2011 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Costa Mesa is going.. said...

Un real ! Let's see Tom Hatch launched a huge investigation on the Communication Center..based on an anonymous letter by a disgruntled employee..The telecommunications Manager and staff is exonerated ...yet they never published that information!

Now they have eliminated her position!

So now they are attacking the police department in the public forum and if I can predict how this will play out .?next they will demand the PD be outsourced based on incompetence. Then Mr. Hatch gets done doing the dirty little deeds for council they will fire him for incompetence which is probably accurate at least...then Mensinger will be the new CEO....he needs a full time job So he can fill all the new civilian positions with him and riggy little buddies or their volunteers!

Start packing the City of Costa Mesa is going to hell soon Satan will be in charge!

6/16/2011 09:10:00 PM  

BUDGET CRISIS??!!! WHERE.... they are spending money like a drunken sailor.

I want to see an audit of just how much money the council has spent on consultants, lawyers, bodyguards, jewel badges, and private detectives. I bet these 4 douchebags have wasted over $1 million dollars of frivolous spending. That equals 15-20 employees that didn't need to go. 15-20 families that wouldn't need to wonder how to make ends meet.


6/16/2011 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

i notice a lot of angst over the spending of $$ on this and other city business from the same people who think the pensions and 3@50 are ok. Folks, the city HAS to spend money on things other than paychecks and pension payments ! Even when we hire consultants at less total cost than we were spending previously you getted worked into a tizzy. Everything now seems to be a "gotcha" moment. You have been watching too much Genis TV.

6/17/2011 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous MyOpinion said...

"Pentagon" helps clarify the purpose of the so called "investigation" into Pham's death.

Talon's proprietary investigation/INTERVIEW methodology yield's a "better" than 94% "CONFESSION" rate. Confession to what? Murder and Police cover-up? *Lawyer-up staff*. Pentagon goes on that doing so will "simultaneously" mitigate civil liability.

They already have that by virtue of the Police investigation report which concluded that it was an act of suicide. Orange County jury's are conservative and give great weight to law enforcement agency testimony and CMPD is no exception.

Yes another Win Win for this Council. Thinly veiled effort to intimidate and discredit the Police Department and the City staff in one fell swoop. All at taxpayer expense.

This "technique" (purpose of the investigation) could result in encouraging a lawsuit against the City with liability exposure and costly legal defense fees. Unintended consequences?

CMPD is a capable and professional organization with recognized credibility and the implication by Council that it is not ... is despicable.

6/17/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Pll Bug said...

Once again, under a different name, 'Costa Mesa is going' drivels. You do not fool anyone with your gibberish.

6/17/2011 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Exceptionally Well Qualified said...

"Talon utilizes a proprietary investigation/interview methodology that was developed to yield a better than 94% confession rate while simultaneously mitigating civil liability."

I think that is code for "water boarding"......

6/17/2011 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Ed Sutton said...

PD Admin, Sexist Mensinger, Lock up the Wolves, Costa Mesa is going,

These are my opinions, which by the way, happen to be as valid as yours.

It is obvious the manager was not up for the job. She could not manage a budget, a schedule, or personnel. No one was more surprised than I, when her position was outsourced. She is cut from the same cloth as the council. She makes up facts and figures to support her philosophy, goals and objectives. If that does not work, she will blame someone or something else for her problems. She surrounds herself with and promotes “yes” people who tell her how fantastic she is (but I am sure you are not one of them) and retaliated against anyone suspected of questioning her wisdom (and you are sure I am one of them {wrong}). She practiced management by intimidation and pitted employees against each other on a regular basis just for sport. But let’s just say for a moment that you are correct. She was eliminated because she stood up to them and did not give in to their unreasonable demands. Well then she finally met her match and she was beaten at her own game. Either way KARMA’s a B!#*H......

6/17/2011 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Blah blah blah..... said...

Ed Sutton.....are you sure your not Lobdell?

If so your being compensated quite well to blog!

Could be wrong Ed...but you wreak of PR all over you...spinning it ...but that's what $3,000 a week mouth piece do best!....blah blah blah.....

6/17/2011 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Sorry, "concerned observer" - you crossed the line. Too much malicious, libelous stuff to post.

6/18/2011 12:19:00 AM  

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