Brentwood City Council has sanctioned Deputy Mayor Johnny Rodriguez for allegedly violating the city’s Ethics and Conduct Policy.
The sanctions were passed by a 3-1-0 vote, with Mayor Joel Bryant opposing and Mayor Rodriguez abstaining. Councilwoman Karen Reilly alleged that the deputy mayor shared confidential non-public session information with outside parties.
Rarey told the council that he first thought Rodriguez shared the confidential evaluation papers with someone in 2021 when he noticed his handwriting on the papers looked “feminine.” Told. A few months later, she learned that his text was not the same as the evaluation memo he allegedly wrote about the mayor and city attorney, and later spoke to an outside attorney that it was a “serious concern.” It was confirmed that
“If the envelope says confidential, you can’t share it with anyone else,” she said, adding that that includes family and friends. should be submitted to the city administrator.
Mayor Tom Ogen said in the report that the council could choose to do nothing, warn, sanction, or denounce Rodriguez, but due to the time required for the necessary investigations and hearings on the latter. said it would be impossible by December 13, when the deputy mayor ends his term.
Rarey called on the council to sanction Rodriguez as there was no time for the harshest response that was the accusation. Staff reports that sanctions, unlike denunciations, are not considered punishments and give the accused an opportunity to respond in writing or orally.
In response, Rodriguez said he was frustrated and confused by the situation uncovered in the previous Congress, which included criticism of him by unnamed residents.
“I was an open book for about 30 years,” he said. “As long as I have worked with young people, I know I have worked in a community. I know that’s what I’ve always challenged myself to do.”
Rodriguez admitted that he asked his wife to help him write the evaluation because he “had a hard time expressing” his thoughts.
“I knew those evaluations were very important, and I wanted to be able to express my thoughts through them,” he said. It was nobody else.”
“I didn’t think it was a policy violation or anything like that,” he added.
Some residents agreed.
Greg Robinson said Rodriguez was “a respectable, hardworking individual who took his own life and turned it around” and is “a great asset to Brentwood”.
“He has helped so many young people in our community through trials and tribulations, taught them ethics, taught them responsibility, taught them to be good citizens,” he said. “And you guys are dragging his name out in the mud and beating him. What he did is what I always do with his wife. I’m not a good writer. ”
But resident Antonio Xavier said the alleged violation of city policy was “a big deal.”
“Trust, transparency and civil servants form the foundation of a functioning government,” he said. “You are an elected official, and your actions as an elected official represent Brentwood. When it comes to ethics and integrity, doing the bare minimum should not be your goal. No. Keep your standards higher.Set an example for the rest of us.”
Trustee Jovita Mendoza thought the council should take action. “Do we choose to follow policy or not?” she asked.
“We need to be able to trust each other that these forms that we fill out are filled out by individuals and not shared with anyone,” she said. In the future, we will make sure that this does not happen again.”
The mayor asked attorney Tom Davis if he violated the city’s closed session procedures.
“There is certainly an argument for that,” he said. “And we’ll know until everything is reviewed and investigated to determine if there are conditions that are mitigating or aggravating.”
“…Obviously Brown’s Law aside, the valuation is confidential and should not be discussed.
City council member Susannah Meyer said the debate is difficult, but it must be done and that “timing cannot be part of our debate.”
“I would like to mention the sanctity of a private session if possible. I agree that I just want to tell my husband what happens after the fact, but I don’t.”
Mendoza called himself a “great rule-keeper” and said he “didn’t want to move forward with a council that didn’t follow the rules.”
Bryant called the closed-door sessions “sanctuary.”
“It’s absolutely essential that we are completely transparent and open with each other,” he said.
Bryant added that the community and staff deserve to know that personal information is protected during discussions.
“Confidentiality is the cornerstone of private sessions,” he said. “And it must remain so.”
Bryant added that he knew the deputy mayor had no intention of violating policy, but believed the issue needed to be addressed for current and future city council members.
Rarey then moved to impose sanctions on Rodriguez, but Bryant refused to approve it, saying he thought admonition was the better route because it “applies more to all of us.”
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/11/17/east-bay-city-council-sanctions-vice-mayor/ East Bay City Council Sanctions Deputy Mayor