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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alameda County Supes appoint treasurer-tax collector, but some question his integrity

Henry Levy will be sworn-in as Alameda County's
next treasurer-tax collector sometime in May.
ALAMEDA COUNTY
In the end the unions got their man. Following an hour-long deliberation, highlighted by some contention, including questions about the applicant's integrity, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors appointed Henry Levy as treasurer-tax collector, replacing the retired Donald White.

Levy, a long-time East Bay certified public accountant, received backing from Alameda County Supervisors Richard Valle, Nate Miley and Wilma Chan—arguably the board’s three most union-friendly officials. But the appointment was not unanimous. Supervisor Keith Carson voted no and Supervisor Scott Haggerty abstained after supporting the runner-up for the position, former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison.

Levy will serve the remaining two years of White’s term and be up for election in June 2018. During candidate interviews last week, Levy said he would run for the office, if appointed. Levy will be officially sworn-in within the next 20 days, said Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi.

In many ways, Tuesday morning’s decision was heavily influenced by union labor interests. It’s no surprise since Valle and Miley declined to begin deliberations following last Tuesday’s interviews in order to allow the Alameda Labor Council and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 to issue an endorsement. Later that day, both endorsed Levy, a former union shop steward who later started his own accounting firm in the late 1980s.

However, local labor’s support for Levy was not unanimous. The Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County backed Harrison, as did some firefighters unions. Gary Jimenez, regional vice president for SEIU Local 1021 said Harrison’s candidacy was unacceptable to the union and its 70 members currently employed in the county treasurer-tax collector’s office. Jimenez criticized Harrison’s role, as Fremont mayor, in a bid by some city employees to decertify the union.

Jimenez said Fremont undermined SEIU Local 1021 during the decertification process. while Harrison did nothing. City officials, Jimenez added, showed solidarity with the breakaway union members, for instance, by sitting with them at a subsequent state Public Employee Relations Board hearing. “We cannot accept someone in public leadership that doesn’t have that level of respect for the law and for us as a labor and things that we do for our workers,” said Jimenez.

The influential Alameda Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Josie Camacho called Levy "highly-qualified" and with an annual budget eclipsing $2.3 billion, Alameda County needs a treasurer "who will be a great watchdog and monitor the expenditures of our county.”

A third, long shot bid by current Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector Gregory Lawson also clouded matters after White endorsed his candidacy. White, who had served in the position for 32 years, said, with some distress, that other county elected officials who have retired during non-election years had a hand in naming their successors, including the last three—former Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff choosing Nancy O’Malley; Sheriff Charlie Plummer picking Gregory Ahern; and Auditor-Controller Patrick O’Connell backing Steve Manning. “In each case it was the assistant who was successful in replacing them," said White. "I just would like to be afforded the same opportunity to have some say in who follows me as the treasurer-tax collector.”

White added, nearly every other county treasurer in the state has promoted the former officeholder’s underling. “Your vote today would continue my legacy and my tradition of making sure that a person of color is given the opportunity to have some access to banking and financial services in a financial arena where minorities are well unrepresentative,” said White.

Carson was swayed by White’s recommendation and initially supported Lawson. But after three of the five supervisors voiced support for Levy, Carson changed his vote to Harrison. Carson then questioned Levy’s credibility after alleging he had lied during last week’s interviews about meeting beforehand with supervisors. Carson said Levy's answer was demonstrably false and labeled the act “disturbing” on five separate occasions. “The issue of integrity and honesty to me is very critical in a position in which you oversee not only the finances and the investments of this county, but also working with a number of people,” said Carson.

There was also no attempt by Levy to reconcile his comments, said Carson. “The honest response should have been, ‘Yes, I did request to meet with somebody and I met with them a couple of weeks ago,’ Carson continued. “Not only did they meet with me, but also with my staff present.” During last week's interview, Levy suggested meetings he had with four of the five supervisors were less than official.

After the appointment was finalized, Haggerty further added to the cloud of uncertainty over Levy’s appointment when he asked county counsel whether it planned to perform a background check on the new treasurer-tax collector to ascertain whether he has any conflicts of interests.

Alameda County counsel Donna Ziegler said such inquiries are not typically done for elected offices and Levy and the other candidacy needed only to submit documentation beforehand that they satisfied the office’s minimum requirements, that being, for instance, whether they lived in the county and were licensed as a certified public accountant. Haggerty backed Harrison, who served as campaign treasurer for his 2016 re-election.

During deliberations, Miley said all the applicants were qualified for the job. He added, “I don’t think there’s a question about any of the candidate’s integrity,” although the comment came prior to Carson questioning Levy’s honesty. Miley lauded White’s service to the county, but ultimately discounted Lawson’s candidacy because he lacks a CPA's license. Similar to Haggerty’s connection with one of the applicants, Levy served as Miley's campaign treasurer last year. In both case, county counsel had previously deemed neither had a conflict in the appointment process.

While referencing a perception that the public is woefully unaware about county government, Chan said many don’t know offices such as treasurer-tax collector are elected positions. “Usually when people are elected to these jobs they stay for a very, very long time and I think there always has to be some accountability to the public, no matter how long someone has served,” said Chan. In supporting Levy, she said lauded his background as a CPA and hoped his office will be consumer-oriented. Chan backed as her second choice the fourth candidate in the race, Dr. Candi Clark, an assistant superintendent for the Castro Valley Unified School District.

Last week, Valle was clear in his intention to back the union’s hand-picked candidate. In choosing Levy, he said, “My heart is with my friends in labor, to be quite honest with you, and that’s where I cut my teeth in my career many, many years ago and my heart will always be with labor.”

NOTE: A sentence was included afterwards explaining Levy's comments last week about meeting with some county supervisors.

11 comments:

  1. What's really going on here. Very atypical of the county to be split on a appointment.

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  2. SEIU is peddling bullshit. Harrison had no ability to stop members from decertifying in Fremont. They want Levy to help with taxing pot in the county. SEIU wants to unionize pot workers.

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  3. By MW:

    I am absolutely one hundred percent confident that none of our elected officials, and especially the members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, would select anyone who was not super outstanding in honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness, so if Henry Levy has the backing of the AC Board of Supervisors, that is more than good enough for me.

    And I especially liked County Counsel Donna Ziegler's position on a background check, in other words that for the applicants to higher ranking jobs there is no need to check whether the information they have provided on their background is truthful and accurate, but that instead we should just blindly, and like mentally retarded robots, accept any statements and "proof" they provided us.

    (NOTE: The lawyers in AC's DA's office and County Counsel's office have a long history of automatically believing, or at least pretending to believe, virtually anything they are told by the bigshots, and including when those puppet on a string lawyers engage in their scripted, choreographed, and prearranged whitewashes, er, excuse me, I mean "investigations," in regard to whether or not one of the bigshots is embezzling and/or arranging contracts in exchange for under the table bribes.)

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  4. Once again, AC's politicos are putting their own interests and the interests of their cronies before the interests of the citizens.

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  5. By MW:

    Concerning County Counsel Barbara Parker's decision to not a do a background check on Levy, BP is a lawyer, and in fact a lawyer who even graduated from Harvard, and if you want the very most extreme garbage and nonsense, and as opposed to the possibility of just getting ordinary garbage and nonsense, do not ask a layman for his opinion, but instead get a lawyer's opinion.

    (Or, and as I have occasionally said to members of that sleazy mafia of parasites and professional pathological liars with law licenses, "DON'T TRY THE STANDARD LAWYERS' LIES AND GARBAGE ON ME." And then I also tell them I am well aware of the facts that: one, lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession; and two, the California State Bar has a secret system of two sets of books, and which includes selling pardons and coverups for lightly disguised bribes that it pretends are fees for courses. And just in case that does not shut up any of those parasites and bloodsucking leeches with law licenses, and although it usually does, next start passing out flyers publicizing those facts, since, and as lawyers are well aware, the CSB usually will not disbar a lawyer who engages in criminal activities, and including bribery or fraud, but it will disbar a lawyer who conducts himself or herself in such a manner that more of the general public will likely learn the truth about lawyers and the so called legal profession.)

    And if you want lies, garbage, and nonsense even far more extreme than the standard lawyers' lies and garbage, get an opinion from a lawyer who even has a degree from Hastings Law School, Harvard, NYU, Georgetown, or Stanford, and such as for instance Barbara Parker.

    For instance, to learn more about the "standards" of Harvard "educated" lawyers, put on the Internet such search terms as "Angela West" and "airport." Or review the exploits of all the members of the Kennedy family who graduated from Harvard and then spent decades as extreme alcoholics and/or totally incoherent drug addicts.

    So next time I am at a public meeting and Nate Miley brings in Barbara Parker to give her legal opinion, and such as for instance to "prove" that Miley's positions on medical marijuana clinics are correct, legitimate, and sensible, I am going to get down on my hands and knees and kiss the feet of both Parker and Miley.

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  6. By MW:

    Some more on Harvard "educated" lawyers. There used to be lawyer who rented a house near downtown Hayward (he used that house as both his residence and office) who got both his B.A. and law degree from Harvard, and who died in his fifties, and I would assume from alcoholism and/or drug abuse, and after he had occupied that house for a few years, the appearance of that house was such that never in my life had I ever seen a house or building of any type that even began to so loudly scream THIS IS A DRUG HANGOUT.

    And I also talked to a former landlord of his from the days when that lawyer was renting a separate office (that office was on the ground floor and had picture windows that could easily be seen in, and the landlord told me that if he passed by that lawyer's office in the morning, the lawyer would be working on his first case of beer, and that if he also passed by the office later in the day, there would be a new case of beer. So it would seem that Harvard educated lawyer was going through at least forty eight cans of beer every day while in the office, and quite likely also considerable additional alcohol before breakfast and while still at home, at lunch in any restaurants he visited, and quite likely also a ton of alcoholic beverages after he got home at night.

    And one time when he tried to feed me some of his lawyer style lies and garbage, I dared him to put his absurd and ridiculous statement in writing and to then also sign it. That was the last I heard from that bloodsucking leech.

    That Harvard educated Lawyer's conduct was so outrageous that the California State Bar had repeatedly suspended him, and including for failing to pay child support, and most likely the money he had been ordered to pay toward child support he had instead spent on alcohol and illegal drugs.

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  7. By MW:

    Related to an earlier post of mine regarding the Kennedy family, Harvard, drug addiction, alcoholism, and being totally incoherent. the Kennedy family, many of whom went to Harvard, should be regarded as America's first family of alcoholism and drug addiction.

    In fact, there have been various incidents when a member of the Kennedy family was involved in an auto accident while on drugs and/or extremely drunk, and who then testified that he had been so totally out of it at the time of the accident, that therefore he did not even recall having been involved in the auto accident, and further admitted he had been on drugs at the time.

    And then we also have Jonathan Gruber, and who has a Ph.D. from Harvard, and who serves as an "expert" for Nancy Pelosi, and who manufactures any lies and garbage that Pelosi needs to "prove" this and that. And Gruber was even caught on tape stating that people such as himself have the right to lie so as to get the general public to go along with his proposals.

    And again, look up "Angela West" and "airport" so as to learn more about the "standards" of some of the creatures who have degrees from Harvard.

    And in addition to Angela West, there was a Harvard lawyer who even took the position that it should be illegal to tell jokes about lawyers. However there is no need to tell joke=s about lawyers, since the truth, and such as informing the general public that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug addiction of any major profession, would be far more damaging to the image of that sleazy mafia with law licenses than any jokes we could tell.

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  8. The statements made by Gary Jimenez, regional vice president for SEIU Local 1021 against Bill Harrison’s candidacy are completely untrue and a clear example of a poor loser seeking revenge against a publicly elected government official who chose to comply with the law rather than ignore the law as demanded by SEIU.

    With steadfast courage, grit and determination, after over 2 years of struggle (2013 - 2015) against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, City of Fremont employees succeeded in ousting SEIU Local 1021 as an affiliated representative of the former employee organization, the Fremont Association of City Employees (FACE).

    City employees then voted (by secret ballot election conducted by the Public Employment Relations Board, State Mediation and Conciliation Service) to officially decertify FACE and establish a new employee labor organization founded and governed by City of Fremont employees to represent and serve City of Fremont employees, the City of Fremont Employee Association (CFEA). This is truly a case of “David versus Goliath”.

    As officially noted on the State Mediation and Conciliation Service ballot to Fremont employees, SEIU Local 1021 formally withdrew from our election on
    July 6, 2015. Mr. Jimenez is fully aware of the PERB public records and transcripts that fully exposed the failed attempt by SEIU Local 1021 to force the City of Fremont Mayor and City Council to disregard labor representation laws and procedures by becoming involved and rendering a decision on the internal operational matters of my former (officially decertified June 2015) employee labor organization Fremont Association of City Employees (FACE).

    County Supervisors are fully aware of SEIU's "slash & burn" tactics against any perceived opposition. County Supervisor's kowtowing to SEIU over public matters is another clear example why citizens throughout the country remain frustrated with government officials blatantly serving special interest (at the expense of the common citizen) resulting in the election of the least qualified and least political person ever to run for the office as the country's commander and chief.

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  9. Apparently three Alameda County supervisors failed to investigate statements made by SEIU Local 1021 Regional VP, Gary Jimenez, against Bill Harrison, prior to appointing Henry Levy as treasurer-tax collector. In waiting for Alameda Labor Council and SEIU Local 1021 to issue an endorsement of candidates, maybe the supervisors were intimidated, or so nicely put "heavily influenced by" union labor interests. Had they done their homework, they would have learned of SEIU's false charges, unfounded allegations, delay tactics and bullying regarding City of Fremont and City of Fremont employees (FACE).

    Even after a four-day hearing before a PERB administrative law judge back in 2013, with the judge dismissing all SEIU charges and claims, and ruling that FACE continued to be the majority representative for City employees, SEIU refused to acknowledge this. Finally, two years later, after more delays, employee members voted to decertify as FACE and established a new employee labor organization. SEIU withdrew from the election claiming no interest in representing City of Fremont employees.

    It seems to me that the comments made by Mr. Jimenez that Bill Harrison's candidacy was unacceptable to the union, was nothing more than retaliation against Mr. Harrison, who was City of Fremont mayor at the time. Mr. Harrison did nothing more than listen to concerns, adhere to the process and remain neutral.

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  10. By MW:

    In regard to whether or not Henry Levy has integrity, I thought it would be illegal to appoint anyone with integrity to a high ranking position in government in the Bay area, since a person with integrity would be a threat to the present establishment, and which is primarily composed of frauds, crooks, con men, scam artists, parasites, and professional pathological liars.

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