DEAR WEHO 📬 Whistleblower’s claims were just the tip of the iceberg

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I recently came across a whistleblower article that stirred some sentiment about government transparency.  With interest in government jobs rising what would cause ONE person to go head-to-head with their employer, the City of West Hollywood?   

Knowing that whistleblower allegations are just that – allegations – I was skeptic until I read the city’s response to those claims.  Specifically, comments made by people claiming to be city employees contradicted the City Manager’s statement and this caught my attention.  With the mention of a qualified ombudsperson made available to employees, I called City Hall and requested to speak to them.  To my surprise, the operator had no idea what I meant by “ombudsperson” and after I explained what an ombudsperson was, they responded with “we don’t have one not that I am aware of.  We only have an HR.”  Called back the next day and spoke to another operator who was also unaware of an ombudsperson and suggested I speak to HR.  Confused, I went to weho.org and searched “ombudsperson” only to find that ombudsperson services were provided in 2013 and 2014 but I found nothing current.  Had the City Manager lied to us about having a qualified ombudsperson?    

Curious and curiouser, I was inspired to dig into the claims and decided to put my investigative skills to use and went to my go-to always-available friend, Google.  Before diving into my research, I made a point to be open minded and keep a neutral approach to my findings to avoid tunnel vision.                  

Step 1, list of individuals mentioned more than thrice either on the articles or comments section: 

1.      OSCAR DELGADO

2.      JANET JIMENEZ

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3.      JACKIE ROCCO

4.      DANNY RIVAS

5.      DAVID WILSON

Step 2, find helpful links through Ms. Google:

1.      2022 salaries for West Hollywood | Transparent California was used to search for salaries of those mentioned on the articles and the comment sections. 

2.      Welcome to The City of West Hollywood Document Center (weho.org) was used to find salary and title changes.    

3.      Download Documents | City of West Hollywood (weho.org) was used to look for recruitment flyers for their current positions.  Unsurprisingly, I did not find any flyers or openings for their current positions. 

4.      About Our Directors | City of West Hollywood (weho.org) was used to find employment year with the City of West Hollywood.    

Shortly after I began to put the puzzle pieces together, I was led into a rabbit hole where I discovered unethical actions, abuse of power, and thievery all by Executives.  Let’s begin:

 

OSCAR DELGADO

2007                   PARKING MANAGER
                            While being a Parking Manager Oscar Delgado hired Janet Jimenez as a Parking Permit Specialist.  In her current role as Director of Administrative Services she brought forth item 23-093 to re-hire Mr. Delgado as a consultant. 

2007-2018         DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

    Hired Jackie Rocco as Parking Manager and is currently serving as Deputy City Manager and

    Steve Campbell as Facilities and Field Services Manager, current Director of Public Works. 

2018-2020         DEPUTY CITY MANAGER, $387,910.00 Annually

    Hired Danny Rivas as Code Enforcement Manager who now serves as Director of Public Safety. 

2020-2022         ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER$447,889.00 Annually 

2022-2023         RETIRED ($304,301.52 Annual Pension)

2023-NOW        REHIRED AS W.H. CONSULTANT$238,264 – $331,468.80 Annuallyin addition to pension of  $218,733.60 – $304,301.52

FINDINGS: In 2020, while Mr. Delgado was Deputy City Manager, he was reclassified as Assistant City Manager.  Once he retired, the Assistant City Manager position was conveniently replaced/removed.  Preliminary investigation found that Executive “reclass” titles/positions to avoid recruitment and keep the titles for themselves. 

The re-class from Deputy City Manager to Assistant City Manager authorized a salary increase of $60,000.00 on top of $387,910.00 annually.

It gets more interesting. 

JANET JIMENEZ

2007-2008         PARKING SERVICES SPECIALIST

2008-2013         CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, $113,712.00 Annually

2013-2014         MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST, (POSITION CREATEDFOR MRS. JIMENEZ), $119,431.00 Annually  

2014-2017         ASSISTANT TO THE CITY MANAGER$207,700.00 Annually

2017-2021         “MANAGER” (RECLASSFIED), $271,722.00 Annually

2021-NOW        DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES, $319,021.00 Annually  

FINDINGS: Mrs. Jimenez was reclassified from Assistant to the City Manager to “Manager” which resulted in a pay increase of almost $64,000 in addition to $207,700.00 annually. 

Going over her education and experience I continue to scratch my head trying to figure out why the City of West Hollywood appointed Mrs. Jimenez to Director of Administrative Services.  What justification do they have for handing $319,021 annually to an unexperienced and uneducated individual?  I found no justification. 

JACKIE ROCCO

2008-2016         PARKING MANAGER, $221,565.56 Annually

2016-2018         BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, $269,601.00 Annually

2018-2021         DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, $330,777.00 Annually

2021-NOW        DEPUTY CITY MANAGER (RECLASSIFIED AND REPLACED “ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER” POSITION), $374,185.00 Annually

FINDINGS: As expected, Mrs. Rocco was also “re-classed.”  When Oscar Delgado retired as Assistant City Manager, so did his title.  Mrs. Rocco’s position as “Deputy City Manager” replaced the Assistant City Manager position which resulted in the “re-class” and pay increase. 

DANNY RIVAS

2019-2020         CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGER, $247,357.00 Annually

2021-2022         ACTING DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS,

2022-NOW        DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY SAFETY, $362,248.00 Annually

FINDINGS: Admittedly, it was hard to find anything about Mr. Rivas.  All I could find was that he has an Associates of Science Degree in Human Resource Management which is ironic considering the bullying allegations against him.  I also found a picture of him with Mrs. Jimenez and Mrs. Rocco at an out of state event back in 2017.    

What I did not find was a justification for Mr. Rivas’ salary increase of $114,891.00 in addition to $247,357.00 annually. 

DAVID WILSON

                                ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER$399,712.00 Annually

2021-NOW        CITY MANAGER, $476,414.00 Annually

FINDINGS: Not only did I find that City of West Hollywood has long practiced rehiring retired staff, but also found that David Wilson, City of West Hollywood City Manager is solely responsible for reclassifying the positions in 2021.  Was this done to keep all the positions “in the family?” 

With evidence at hand, employees’ claims of nepotism and favoritism for these individuals were found to be valid.  Considering the shameless salary increase among Executives I could not help but believe that  employees reclassification requests are indeed denied to keep the money at the top level.  Not only that, but it is probable that Executives have networked with high-profile businesses and would not be surprised if they have engaged in unlawful and unethical acts. 

As a property owner, retail owner, and resident of the City of West Hollywood, I am appalled with the findings.  While I understood that there could be some truth to all the claims, I did not expect to find what I did.  Where do we go from here?  
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Edie
Edie
1 month ago

IMO this kind of corruption needs a larger light shined on it. When city workers are able to retire young, and get 10 times what those on social security get…. after they’ve worked 50 years… something is WRONG!
Our system is WRONG! People should not have to work until they are well into their 70s to pay for the plush retirements of those who barely worked. I’m seriously pissed.

Subject Name - Tip of the Iceberg
Subject Name - Tip of the Iceberg
1 month ago
Reply to  Edie

Title says it and Wait until other things come to light. Kickbacks, coercion, conspiracy to commit a federal crime it wouldn’t be surprising if all this also took place throughout the years. If city councils doesn’t fire these directors along with the city manager they are just as guilty and should also be investigated.

Edie
Edie
1 month ago

Wow! Great investigative journalism. Shocking that city government employees, with their benefits get paid 5 times the medium income of West Hollywood Residence. How are city workers the part of the 1%?
Paid for by the bottom 99%? This is so unjust.

Last edited 1 month ago by Edie
Johnny
Johnny
1 month ago

These salaries for these positions are beyond the pale for a relatively small town that’s primary revenue comes from hotel taxes and others taxes yet I see filthy streets, marginal law enforcement and graft in some of the reclassification of specific people. This isn’t Monterey or Santa Barbara and yet the comp packages here are insanely high. And given the performance, or lack there of, I wish there was enough to terminate these people and rebuild the salary structure. These salaries are for attracting highly skilled professionals which is not the case for most of these people. Again you don’t… Read more »

Yes
Yes
1 month ago
Reply to  Johnny

According to the investigative journalism the Director of administrative Services, Mrs. Jimenez’s entire job history is with WEHO. How can she become a director with no experience? How can she lead city clerks office who handles all risk management issues and Human Resources who is responsible for all hires? She skipped all hiring steps and SHE is suppose to make sure no one skips steps? What kind of upside down is this? It’s no wonder all this is coming out now. She is fully responsible for the conflict of interest in having a known developer, with multiple projects in the… Read more »

Do As I Say
Do As I Say
1 month ago

I opened my LinkedIn to see an opening at the city. I click on the link excited and hopeful only to find the salary is $11/hr. :-/ Then I text someone I know at city hall who shared this link. “This explains it” they say. Am I to believe the money is purposefully kept for the elite directors rather than key workers? Didn’t WeHo pass an ordinance asking local businesses to pay a minimum of $20/hr? I’m confused.

IMG_6806
Eyes See
Eyes See
1 month ago

Finally able to sit and enjoy my coffee and read about the article mentioned during my dinner with a friend. Except, I could not find this article and I am told it’s hard to find if you don’t know what to search for. Why is that? Larry is the city intimidating you? Silencing you? Why is this article hidden?

Same
Same
1 month ago
Reply to  Eyes See

I had the same problem. Looks like this story was buried on purpose. Wouldn’t be surprising to find that WeHo intimidated or retaliated against wehoville/wehoonline.com and directed this story to be buried. We know how the city operates.

What Now?
What Now?
1 month ago

It’s no wonder why the whistleblowers went to Larry Block. Who investigates City Manager and executives? Did the whistleblower really identify themselves? Are they still alive? (I kid, I kid, but not really)

David L
David L
1 month ago

Staff should voice the HR / CITY MGR communication at the all staff meeting where Mr. Wilson held to curb the whistle blowing and direct all to HR or himself (ironically) … he said hard work pays off and one gets opportunities for promotion just like he did. Look how well he’s done with his hard work. That was a shocking and obnoxious statement based up all that is and has transpired as noted above as well as a majority of the staff working much past any reasonable capacity and under ridiculous workloads. Unbelievable and insulting. One brazen employee suggested… Read more »

misappropriation
misappropriation
1 month ago
Reply to  David L

Paul is just as guilty. If you’re not part of the solution you’re complicit. They are all guilty.

Obvious
Obvious
1 month ago

To think this abuse of authority has been in effect for so many years is sickening. All city positions must be made available to the public and hiring steps must be followed. This loophole of reclassifying and handing out titles and pay increases can be considered embezzlement.
City of West Hollywood, where executives matter but you don’t.
City of West Hollywood, quid pro quo.
City of West Hollywood, we take what you give.
City of West Hollywood, where your rights don’t matter.
City of West Hollywood, the god of corruption.

misappropriation
misappropriation
1 month ago
Reply to  Obvious

We are known as the creative city and this was a creative way for executives to keep all the titles and salaries amongst friends and family.

City of West Hollywood, the creative city.
Corrupt
Retaliatory
Embezzlers
Amongst
The
Inner
Venomous
Executives

misappropriation
misappropriation
1 month ago

These people reached the top and their hope to become the next City Manager is gone with this revelation. Fire them all. They are directors who work at will and it will be cheaper to fire them all than to pay off all the employees affected by their actions. As a taxpayer and resident I can say I don’t want my money paying for their salaries. And don’t think insurance will cover this gross negligence even if the city has an Employment Practices Liability.

There’s More
There’s More
1 month ago

Does anyone remember Rod Marquez? He was the Parking Supervisor, and Oscar Delgado’s kin, who was fired from the Parking Supervisor position along with Janet Jimenez’s boyfriend and contractor, Eric Ruiz, who happened to be Serco’s (now LAZ Parking) WeHo Parking Enforcement Director. There is much more to this story and these are not allegations. I’m sure most of us remember Rod, Eric and Janet. It makes sense why she’s gotten away with so much. I’m happy to know this was exposed. I would normally not bring this up but since it was a conflict of interest, Assistant to the… Read more »

Yes
Yes
1 month ago
Reply to  There’s More

I remember! Yes, those three were always out and about together and she couldn’t keep her hands off Eric. To think she now oversees Human Resources after such gross display of affection. What I witnessed was nothing short of sexual harassment by her. I hope every city employee is called for deposition because I will be happy to share all my insight and knowledge. Janet was very vocal about her sex life and it was disgusting to hear it and she wouldn’t shut up even after being asked to not share. I just barffed remembering. I too remember Rod Marquez… Read more »

Don’t
Don’t
1 month ago
Reply to  Yes

Guys, this isn’t okay. Don’t stoop to their level.

Don Jones
Don Jones
1 month ago

Sounds like David Wilson was well trained by his mentor, the former city manager Paul Arevalo whose pension in 2022 was $162,093.14.

That’s right, his pension. For doing nothing.

Mind you, Arevalo’s base salary before retiring had been over $300k so maybe he too will be looking for some contract work back at city hall. Bahahaha

EM
EM
1 month ago

250k for a code enforcer and they barely enforce any codes?! These salaries are infuriating! This is a racket.

Blame
Blame
1 month ago
Reply to  EM

The one to blame is Danny Rivas since he oversees that department and tells officers what to enforce and what not to.

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