The Orange County Board of Supervisors did not take any action today in a closed door meeting on the fate of Chief Executive Officer Tom Mauk for his performance in connection with the case of Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who is charged with sexually assaulting seven women employees when he was a county official.
Bustamante was arrested nine months after resigning as executive manager of the county Public Works Department amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving co-workers.
The county's internal auditor gave supervisors a report March 2 about co-workers' allegations against Bustamante. That report was forwarded to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas March 14, board Chairman John Moorlach said..
The board decided to continue its discussion at its July 24 meeting.
``We had five people trying to do what's right and we had a good discussion,'' Moorlach said.
Mauk participated in the last 20 minutes of the meeting, Moorlach said.
One ideas that came out of the discussion was consideration of more training for staff to recognize criminal behavior, Moorlach said.
``It was nothing definitive,'' Moorlach said, adding staff was directed ``to see if there's some deficiencies in our training.''
Moorlach acknowledged that if the allegations against Bustamante turn out to be true, then he effectively covered his tracks.
``He obviously knew how to select victims, which is sad, tragic,'' Moorlach said.
The agenda of the meeting included a review of Mauk's job performance, anticipated litigation, ``public employee discipline, dismissal, release'' of the chief executive officer, and ``appointment'' of an ``interim county executive officer.''
The meeting was called in response to the Bustamante case, which broke Monday when he was arrested on his way to a council meeting. Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez today called on Bustamante to resign.
Martinez is concerned that residents will ``badger'' the council about the case against Bustamante as long as he remains in office.
The council cannot take action to remove Bustamante until he has had three unexcused absences from meetings. The next council meeting is July 16. After Bustamante misses three meetings then the council can declare the seat vacant after 60 days, Martinez said.
Martinez said she has told a ``mutual friend'' to ask Bustamante to resign, but said she has heard he does not intend to.
``I just can't foresee him showing up'' at the next council meeting, Martinez said. ``If he showed up I would be in shock. The allegations are so alarming.''
The alleged assaults happened between 2003 and last year while Bustamante worked in the Orange County Public Works Department, according to Rackauckas.
Bustamante is charged with six counts of false imprisonment, three counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense and one count each of stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint and grand theft by false pretense, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
The grand theft charge stems from expense reports he submitted after attending a 2 1/2-week program in Boston.
Bustamante also faces one misdemeanor count each of battery, assault, sexual battery and attempted sexual battery. The charges include sentence- enhancing allegations of committing the offenses as a result of sexual compulsion and for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Bustamante's arraignment was postponed until July 26.
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- City News Service