Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baldwin Park CEO and Chief of Police Ready to Receive A Police Vote of No Confidence

The Baldwin Park Police Association (POA) in an unprecedented and historical move will vote as to whether the City's CEO, Vijay Singhal; Chief of Police, Lili Hadsell; and Human Resource Manager, Leticia Lara are unfit for their positions. If the majority of the members of the police union vote they are unfit, the POA will publicly announce their vote of no confidence with a letter, which will be placed in the HR files of the three named. The vote of no confidence will become part of their permanent record.

A vote of no confidence is almost never invoked by a police association against their chief or city officials.  The move can be analogized to maritime or military mutiny, in which a crew openly overthrows their authority.  Only, a vote of no confidence is a civilized and legal instrument, whereas mutiny is not.  Nonetheless, the two phenomenon are motivated by the same violation: a deep breach of trust by the authority against his or her servicemen and women.

One reason that a vote of no confidence is almost never invoked is because the officers can suffer retaliation by those in power.  Another is that organizations prefer to keep their problems from public attention.  Such a move can negatively impact the reputation of the city.  It's the final ultimatum after all other attempts to resolves issues have failed.

The POA ballot, however, comes after a bitterly fought battle for the swing vote council seat.  Previous to the city elections, the majority voting block, comprised of Mayor Lozano, Council Member Marlen and Raquel Garcia; the City Manager; and the Chief of Police all conspired to have the Baldwin Park Police Officers fired and replaced by the Sheriffs.  On record, the administration stated that the reason they were "outsourcing" the officers was because the City had no money.  Nonetheless, the Police Association has stated that their plan was all a pretext for union busting.  

Although the majority council voting bloc has been in power for fourteen years, their series of poor decision galvanized the community to overthrow the Garcia-Lozano majority bloc.  A number of community groups, which included the POA, banded together, protested, and sponsored the challenger, Cruz Baca.  As a result, not only were they victorious in winning the seat, they also ended the political career of Marlen Garcia, the main decision maker in the City Council.  Ending A Municipal Regime

The grievances against the Singhal Administration are many.  The POA is mainly justifying holding a ballot for no confidence because the administration 1) has obstructed police operations, 2)  were not supportive of the police during talks about their outsourcing to the sheriffs, and 3) misappropriated police funds.

Members of the community feel violated by the Marlen-Garcia bloc and the administrators.  Besides trying to fire all the police officers, Marlen and Singhal have refused to promote qualified officers because they exercised their right to free speech by picketing public officials.  The three administrators have jointly cost the City $300,000 in legal fees because they refuse to settle, outsourced another law firm, and frivolously challenged interlocutory motions: such as depositions motions.  Singhal has falsely trumped up charges of theft against part time City employees, violated Due Process Procedural Rights, misappropriated funds, attacked citizens of Baldwin Park with code and law enforcement, and violated federal and state labor law.

For instance, in the most recent news, Singhal refused to provide tetanus or hepatitis B shots to a part time employee who dealt with hazardous waste.  His reasoning to do so was to save money.  Leticia Lara, the HR Manager, has further aided and officiated these acts.  Chief Hadsell has engaged in a number of illegal and poor decisions, all which can be read here.  Police Chief's Daughter Caught With Narcotics.  Allegedly, she continues to promote her friends into positions, even though the City is allegedly on the verge of bankruptcy.

When the administrators found out that a vote of no confidence was being held against them, Singhal wrote a letter to defend and justify his administration's behavior.  In his letter dated on November 20, 2013, Singhal encouraged the police to vote in any way they see fit.  According to him, however, the POA's justifications are all lies.

He goes on to defend Police Chief Hadsell's office because she is the "first female and Latino Chief." 

Regarding Leticia Lara, Singhal states, "a vote of no confidence in [Lara] would only prove that [the police] don’t like to play by the rules."  (Incidentally, Lara pressed the panic button against me one day because I tried to file a complaint against her.  I was supposed to have a swarm of law enforcement surround the building, but because the panic button wasn't working that day, nobody came.  This is her way of dealing with complaints as an HR manager.)

Singhal then characterizes the police, by stating, "I have been informed that now the POA controls the Council and can get what it wants."  He proceeds with a number of statements that are logically confusing and unsound.  He then ends his letter with this: "Whatever you decide to do, always remember that being vindictive may not give one [error: it should be you] the happiness they [error: it should be you again] seek."  (Letter attached below.)

All three administrators fear finding a new job, especially now that they have been made infamous by blogs, youtubes, and the press.  A google search with their names and "Baldwin Park" will bring this blog as a top hit.

Vijay Singhal makes over $195,987, plus an annual pension payout of $56,851.  Lili Hadsell makes $161,265, plus an annual pension payout of $64,848.  Leticia Lara makes $105,914, plus an annual pension payout of $33,747.

Put another way, Singhal brings home $7,500 every paycheck or $15,000 a month.  Hadsell $6,200 every paycheck or $12,400 every month.  Lara brings home $4,078 every paycheck or $8,156 a month.  In contrast, the Singhal Administration has stated over and over again on the record that the City has no money.  It also gave the head boxing coach a 40 cent raise after he served the city's youth for fourteen years.  That brings the coach's pay to $8.80 an hour.

The Singhal ship has weathered all types of disasters, but it looks like it may finally sink with the common citizens and employees that have taken over and are now on board.

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