July 26th, 2012, 4:58 pm
Posted by Andrew Galvin

Tom Mauk agreed Thursday to resign as the county’s highest non-elected official, the latest executive departure since former O.C. Public Works manager Carlos Bustamante was charged with 12 felonies for alleged sexual abuse of female employees.

Mauk will receive about $270,000 in severance payments, said John Moorlach, chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors. That includes 10 months of pay and 410 hours of accrued vacation time and is a bit less than Mauk would have been entitled to under his contract if he’d been fired, Moorlach said.

Although Moorlach pushed for Mauk’s ouster over what Moorlach saw as botched internal investigations of Bustamante’s alleged mistreatment of women, he had kind words for the departing CEO.

Of the CEOs who have served during Moorlach’s 17 years as a county elected official, “I’ve certainly enjoyed working with Tom the most,” Moorlach said.

Mauk will remain in his job as county executive officer until Aug. 3, after which Bob Franz, the county’s chief financial officer, will take over as acting CEO.

With Mauk’s resignation, all three executives who oversaw Bustamante in the county hierarchy have left or gone on leave.

Jess Carbajal, the head of O.C. Public Works and Bustamante’s former boss, was fired by Mauk on July 9. Alisa Drakodaidis, the county’s deputy CEO for infrastructure who oversaw O.C. Public Works, put herself on stress-related medical leave that same week.

Mauk joined the county as CEO in 2004. Prior to that, he served as city manager for La Habra, Whittier and Norco. He also worked in the private sector as client services director for MBIA Muniservices.

In March 2011, an anonymous letter making allegations against Bustamante was sent to Bill Campbell, then chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Campbell turned it over to Mauk, who said the human resources department would look into it, Campbell said earlier this month.

However, that probe wasn’t done by the county’s central human resources department. It was handled by a human resources staffer within O.C. Public Works – one who reported to Bustamante. Nothing came of the investigation.

After more anonymous letters surfaced in August, Mauk put Bustamante on paid leave and commissioned an outside law firm, Fisher & Phillips, to investigate. When that report came back in October, Mauk forced Bustamante to resign.

The law firm’s report wasn’t turned over to county supervisors until months later, in March, after the county’s internal auditor, Peter Hughes, conducted his own investigation, not knowing of Fisher & Phillips’ probe. Hughes’ inquiry was hindered because he didn’t get cooperation from Carl Crown, then the county’s human-resources director, who has since retired, Moorlach and Nelson have said.

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