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California Fair Political Practices Commission, California Public Employees’ Retirement System reject complaints against the City of Santa Clara

City cleared in anonymous allegations made to FPPC, CalPERS; No investigation concerning City, city manager

Post Date:10/15/2018 12:05 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 12, 2018*
*Updated Monday, Oct. 15 to include quote from city manager

CONTACT: Lenka Wright, Director of Communications, 408-615-5515 or lwright@santaclaraca.gov
 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In response to reports that the City of Santa Clara and city manager are under investigation, the City found that the two separate complaints, made anonymously to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), have been rejected unilaterally by the FPPC and CalPERS. Neither the City nor City Manager Deanna J. Santana are or were under investigation.

Quote from city manager: “The allegations made to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System had no merit,” said Deanna J. Santana, City Manager. “The City administration is focused on implementing the City Council priorities and direction, while not allowing the distractions of false accusations to take away from the good work of the City and staff. We will continue to support the City Council with its public policy direction which has been supported favorably by recent, statistically-valid community surveys. These surveys showed Santa Clara voters gave high ratings for the job city officials are doing overall and feel that we are on the right track with leading the City.”

The complaints involved the following:

  • FPPC Allegations Rejected – The City received notice from the Enforcement Division of the FPPC that they were in receipt of an anonymous complaint alleging mass mailings were sent at the public’s expense. In a letter dated Oct. 9, 2018, the City was informed by the FPPC that based on its “review of the complaint and the documents provided, the Enforcement Division found insufficient evidence of a violation of the Act, and will not pursue an enforcement action in this matter.” The mass mailing, sent by the City, involved local election information that is permissible by state law.
  • Notion of CalPERS “Investigation” Rejected – On Oct. 9, 2018, the Silicon Valley Voice published an article online that claims the City is the subject of a state pension investigation. Given the reports of a “pension investigation” in the media related to the alleged improper hiring of an employee, the City’s human resources director contacted CalPERS in an effort to get clarification on what, if any, investigation was in process. CalPERS informed the director, as the director noted in this memo to the city manager, “The review of Mr. Danaj’s employment with the City of Santa Clara was completed, and there were no issues found. Mr. Danaj was enrolled properly into the retirement system.”  Mark Danaj was hired in May 2018 on a short-term, at-will, part-time basis as an assistant to the city manager to assist with a City Council-directed audit on the Santa Clara Convention Center due diligence and audit.

In addition, the Mercury News reported on Oct. 3 that, in a confidential Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury complaint, a mayoral candidate accused the city manager of City Charter violations regarding the procurement of the professional public affairs/media relations services contract with Singer Associates, Inc. The two contracts are with the City and the Stadium Authority. Per the Civil Grand Jury, the citizen complaint form “should be prepared and filed with the Grand Jury only after all attempts to resolve the issue have been exhausted.” It appears the complainant has not exhausted all administrative efforts as the complainant never contacted the city manager on this topic or any other, for that matter. The city manager would be available to discuss with the complainant the public procurement processes for the two public agencies.

At this time, the City has not been contacted by the Civil Grand Jury concerning this complaint.

About the City of Santa Clara

Located at the heart of Silicon Valley about 45 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara truly is “The Center of What’s Possible.” Incorporated in 1852, Santa Clara covers an area of 19.3 square miles with a population of 120,000. Santa Clara is home to an extraordinary array of high-tech companies, including Applied Materials, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nvidia, Oracle, and Ericsson. The City of Santa Clara is also home to Santa Clara University, California’s Great America Theme Park, and Levi’s® Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl 50. For more information, go to www.SantaClaraCA.gov.

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