Orange County Chief Executive Officer Tom Mauk, who came under scrutiny when sex charges were filed against Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, agreed today to step down from his post effective Aug. 3.
Bustamante pleaded not guilty today to charges of sexually assaulting seven female employees while he was head of the county Department of Public Works.
Orange County supervisors worked most of the day on the terms of Mauk's resignation, which includes about $270,000 in compensation. Mauk will receive a
cash payment of 10 months of his monthly salary of $21,130.17 and an additional
$1,465.27 for health and dental benefits, multiplied by 10, according to the agreement.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted Mauk's resignation. The supervisors voted 4-1 to appoint county Chief Financial Officer Robert Franz as interim CEO, with Supervisor Shawn Nelson casting the dissenting vote.
Supervisor Bill Campbell said Franz will remain in place for the next five weeks, then another interim CEO will be put in place while county officials conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
``I'm pleased with the outcome and decision,'' Campbell said.
``He (Mauk) has served our county well,'' Campbell said, adding he would have more positive words for Mauk when the supervisors honor him with a resolution in September.
Orange County Board Chairman John Moorlach said the supervisors intend to hire an outside firm to recruit a new CEO, Moorlach said.
``I left the private sector and began employment with the county on March 17, 1995,'' Moorlach said. ``I have had the privilege of working with Tom Mauk for roughly half of my 17 years here at the county. I appreciate his service to the county and its taxpayers and want to wish him all the best in his future endeavors.''
Today's special board meeting followed the release Friday of an independent review of the county's public works department that revealed it suffered from low morale, micro-management, ``a culture of favoritism,'' poor communication and conflicts with the Board of Supervisors.
Bustamante was arrested nine months after resigning as executive manager of the 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, Orange County Board Chairman John Moorlach said.
The alleged assaults occurred between 2003 and last year while Bustamante worked in the 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.
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.
- City News Service