OUR MUTUAL FRIEND: Urban legend has it that several years ago a RPU (Riverside Public Utilities) Assistant General Manager was caught leaving her boss’ hotel room during a business trip in the wee hours of the morning, looking like she was ridden hard and put up wet. This rumor follows that a subordinate RPU employee eye-witnessed the walk of shame. Allegedly, a letter was sent to the boss’ wife advising her of the situation, and all hell broke loose from there. After some customary Riverside retaliation and harassment, this subordinate was eventually moved out of the division they worked in. Why is this important? Why is this compelling? Because this behavior directly impacts the taxpayer and ratepayer. We’ll let you decide what really happened…romance or “hard” work?
In the spirit of the recent Dickens Festival, we at TMC are delighted to tell you the story (complete with flashbacks, irony, foreshadowing, symbolism, and every other literary device we learned in 10th grade) that we hope educates, entertains, and motivates … using the public documents, including travel expenses, that were provided to us courtesy of the City of Riverside at a cost of about $70.00. (Ten cents a page) That’s a lot of traveling on the taxpayer dime!
A TALE OF TWO CITY EMPLOYEES: Gary Nolff had a nice career at RPU (Riverside Public Utilities), rising from a Power Contracts Administrator in 1990, making $71,436/year until his retirement in December of 2011 as the Utilities Assistant General Manager of Resources, making over $181,392/year, with an extraordinary CalPERS retirement, paid for by we the taxpayer, waiting in the wings. If he had ridden off into the sunset, never to be heard from again, we might never have even had known he existed.
But Mr. Nolff didn’t…and our guess is by the time everything is said and done, he’ll wish he had.
In 2000, Reiko Kerr was hired by the RPU as a Utilities Principal Analyst, making $71,436/year. By 2008, under Mr. Nolff’s “hands on” tutelage, the meteoric Ms. Kerr had reached the title of Utilities Projects/Contracts Manager, making $136,548/year. Ms. Kerr obviously enjoyed her time underneath Mr. Nolff! Today her salary is closer to $200,000.00. Have all employees of the city of Riverside tripled their salaries in 15 years? Or was Ms. Kerr just outstanding in servicing her boss? Inquiring minds want to know.
But like all things in the dear River City, the party couldn’t possibly stop there. And so, with Mr. Nolff’s “retirement,” it was arranged that Ms. Kerr (who to our knowledge had exactly ZERO utilities experience in marketing, trading, operations, or planning at the time; and was by all accounts, a glorified accountant) would, without any other interviews of candidates, replace Mr. Nolff as Assistant General Manager of RPU – Resources division. And with a whisk of his wand and a scattering of fairy dust, former General Manager David “the Kingpin” Wright made it so in early 2013.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Now Mr. Nolff was still a relatively young man, despite being “retired”, and decided to strike out on his own…well, sorta/kinda anyway. He formed his own company, Energy Management, LLC, in February of 2012, and waited. Waited for what? Well, the 180-day waiting period CalPERS requires to expire before he could go right back to work for Ms. Kerr at RPU as a consultant making $200/hr! (That’s the equivalent of $416,000/year for those doing the math at home).
And so, on November 7, 2012, Mr. Nolff was back on the scene at 3435 14th St. (aka, the Gateway Building), “double-dipping” underneath Ms. Kerr this time. The rapture! His contract was signed by Mr. Wright (Ms. Kerr’s boss), his invoices were sent to and approved by Utilities Projects/Contracts Manager Bob Tang (Ms. Kerr’s
henchman, toadie, direct report), and his bills paid under Ms. Kerr’s division’s budget via Purchase Order. Why is that all this technical mumbo-jumbo (we need Columbo!) important? Well, you’ll just have to read further and find out!
Mr. Nolff was even given an office courtesy of Ms. Kerr from which to perform his duties: to perform the role of caretaker during the decommissioning (shutdown) phase of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. You see, the darn steam generators there, which were only a few years old at the time, just didn’t seem to want to work correctly, and that’s a bit of a problem when you’re dealing with radioactive material we’re told. Of course, Mr. Nolff was an expert in that particular arena: he had been instrumental in getting Riverside to sign onto buying the malfunctioning units in the first place while we employed him full-time. Now that’s what we at TMC call job security! By some estimates the total cost of that failed San Onofre deal to the ratepayers was about $90 million. Thank you Gary Nolff!
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP: In May of 2013, a public records request was made concerning Mr. Nolff’s new tryst (we had to check our dictionary for what that means) with the City. In tried and true fashion, the City Attorney’s Office summarily denied releasing any of these records (even redacted) under consigliere-client privilege: Tom Hagen would’ve been proud. It was as if no one wanted the public to know he was even back working for the City. I know, imagine that!
Eight months later, the following redacted public records of expenses incurred by Gary Nolff’s consulting firm, Energy Management LLC, mysteriously appeared in our inbox from the City Clerk. We place these here as an example of what roadblocks citizens must confront at times in the name of transparency. We just recently got the unredacted versions (smooches for you, Lee McDougal), which will follow shortly that demonstrate the real meat of this transparency issue … stay tuned.
We took this salacious story to our appointed and elected officials and advised them that if employees are having affairs on the public’s time and dime, it needs to be made public. You can cheat on your spouse…just don’t screw us please, even if you have protection.
THE MYSTERY OF GARY NOLFF: At the January 23, 2015, Board of Public Utilities meeting Ms. Reiko Kerr, Assistant General Manager of the Resources Division of Riverside Public Utilities stood her ground when given the chance to publicly address her accusers. “I did not hire Gary Nolff!” (or something to that effect; we didn’t take notes) Undeterred, the public asked more questions again at Utility Services Committee hearing three weeks later. “I did not hire Gary Nolff!” Ms. Kerr would (st)utter again.
Well, “Who did?” of course came the follow-up question. And the answer to that will be forthcoming dear readers! “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.” – quote not attributable to Charles Dickens.
What happens when your former boss is rumored to be having an affair with you and then “retires”; then you magically get his job? Now that you are the boss, you return the favor and hire him back on a contract for $200/hr. Higher than the new interim City Manager at $135/hr, or the attempt to bring back the former Fire Chief Earley at $100/hr to help the new regime? We get what we call abuse of taxpayer monies and further..misappropriation of funds. Let’s call it what it is: favoritism, under the guise of a legitimate business arrangment.
Favoritism can cause undo stress within the workplace. We did a story back in May 2011 regarding Sexual Favoritism in the Workplace. In this posting we cited Miller vs. California Department of Corrections, whereby in office romances can cause favoritism in such a way that it can be considered harassment to the other employees. Employees in California may now sue their employers for sexual harassment if the sexual affair between a superior and a subordinate results in sexual favoritism. It is a Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Which means that if sexual favoritism exist, it can impede or interfere with another employees ability to advance within the workplace, therefore this can be cause for a lawsuit and costly liability. The following link is a synopsis of Miller vs. California Department of Corrections.
TO BE CONTINUED…
UPDATE: 03.02.2015: PE ARTICLE WITH REFERENCE TO THE COST OF THE SAN ONOFRE SHUTDOWN: INCREASE IN UTILITY RATES? One thing we’re learned here at TMC through our keen observation, the real story is the one not told…and so we’ll provide our own investigative reporting (or whatever the heck it is we do) on these events.
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “DEMENTED,” “MENTALLY WHACKED,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” “HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU. RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”, WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS! WE JUST CAN’T SPELL! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT BY CONTACTING US AT: THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM