Claremont Insider: Desert Update

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Desert Update

More news from the desert city of Indio:

The Desert Sun reports that the Riverside County Grand Jury has questioned some current and former Indio City Council members for reasons unknown. There's no telling what this may be about. The Indio city government has taken a lot of heat recently with regards to its credit card policy, its hiring of former Finance Director Michael Busch and Busch's consulting company, its extremely large budget deficit, and the golden handshakes it extended to a number of city employees.

When one considers the former Claremont employees who went over to Indio in 2005, one can't help but think, there but for the grace of God....

A 2/14/10 Sun article said:

It is unclear what the grand jury is looking into or whether a full investigation has been launched — or if the matter is civil or criminal. But the questioning comes at a time when city leaders are under fire by residents and community members for spending habits — the city faces a multimillion- dollar deficit — and early retirement deals, including one to City Manager Glenn Southard. He is the highest-paid city official in the Coachella Valley and plans to retire April 1.

“I'm concerned, yeah,” Councilman Glenn Miller said about the grand jury examination.

Miller is aware of the probe by a “grand jury committee” but said he has yet to be subpoenaed for an interview.

The article indicated that former Indio city councilmember Mike Wilson acknowledged he was interviewed by the grand jury twice last month, but Wilson could not disclose any details of those inquiries. The article went on to say that if the investigation is a civil matter rather than a criminal one, there could be questions of the propriety of something Indio officials did without the act being necessarily illegal.

Either way, it looks like our friend and former Claremont City Manager Southard bailed out at just the right time. But then, timing (and bailing, for that matter) was always Glenn's strong point.