Orange County officials turned over two years of records to union leaders who demanded information on the hiring of executive assistants who work for members of the Board of Supervisors.
A cursory reading of those records prompted a union spokeswoman to accuse county officials of violating hiring policies that could endanger state and federal funding for the county.
"It's frightening," said Jennifer Muir of the Orange County Employees Association. "There's information in there that someone already promised somebody a job before they even opened it up or unfroze the position or recruited anyone at all."
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach said county officials were aware of issues with hiring and aiming for reform.
"We're working on addressing some of the issues," Moorlach said.
County officials turned over the records after Muir sent a letter saying the union would sue if six years of records were not released. The latest request cited the California Public Records Act.
If the six years of records are not turned over in 10 days, the union will consider a lawsuit, Muir said.
For months, the union had been requesting the information, but not received a response, Muir said.
Some issues involved hiring employees without a formal recruiting process. And some executive assistants received substantial raises while most employees had frozen salaries and positions went unfilled, Muir said.
"At a time our members have been paying full boat to pensions ... those appointees don't have to do that," Muir said. "And the Board of Supervisors are not paying their fair share [to pensions]. ... We wanted more information about that. We've been asking through the proper channels and we were completely stonewalled."
If it's shown the county did not adhere to state rules on hiring, it could jeopardize money the county gets from other government agencies, Muir said.
Moorlach said there's recognition that employees of a supervisor who is near the end of his term will want to either get a job in one of the county's departments or return to a previous county job.
"There needs to be some policies and procedures established to make sure that's done in a proper form and fashion," Moorlach said.
-- City News Service