Councilor Chrobocinski Responds To Investigation Request By County Employees

County Councilor James Chrobocinski
 
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos County Councilor James Chrobocinski has responded to a request for a Code of Conduct investigation filed against him Feb. 15 by two Los Alamos County employees.

Chrobocinski’s response includes multiple documents and copies of state statutes and Constitutional provisions as well as a lengthy press release and a five-page statement.

In their complaint, Los Alamos Fire Marshall Jeff Wetteland and Los Alamos County Chief Building Inspector Michael Arellano alleged harassment and intimidation under Los Alamos Code Ordinance No. 02-240, commonly known as the Code of Conduct. The County entered into a $12,000 contract Feb. 28 with attorney Debra J. Moulton of Kennedy, Moulton & Wells, PC, to conduct an investigation into the complaints.

A review of documents attached to the complaint revealed that it refers to Chrobocinski’s involvement with a property at 11 Sherwood Blvd. in White Rock, which is being renovated to be the future home of the Pig & Fig Restaurant.

Wetteland and Arellano alleged they have been “harassed, intimidated and threatened” by Chrobocinski on several occasions. They state in the request for an investigation that they no longer feel that they can do their jobs “for fear of further retaliation and retribution as has been evident in the newspapers, in council meetings and in person”. They claim Chrobocinski has “made their work environment a hostile place” and that he chose to not follow the proper appeals process as prescribed in municipal ordinances.

In his news release, which was distributed by his attorney George Geran, Chrobocinski said his brother, Randy Foster was terminated from his position of Acting Police Chief with the Los Alamos Police Department in 2014. He gives details of an ensuing lawsuit against the County and then Chief of Police Wayne Torpy, which resulted in Foster and two officers receiving a combined $2 million settlement.

Chrobocinski makes allegations against Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess claiming that Burgess was “untruthful” in an investigative interview involving telephone communications with Foster during an emergency incident connected with the case. He said given this, he thinks it is understandable that he does not trust County investigations.

“Especially secretive ones (I had to find out about this one from the media) that I believe are illegal,” he said.

Chrobocinski said the complaint filed against him by Wetteland and Arellano seems to have arisen from his efforts on behalf of a great many constituents who have found the County permitting process difficult to understand and predict over the last several years and his efforts to rein in what he says many of his constituents believe to be “overzealous code enforcement”.

A letter from Geran to attorney Debra Moulton who is conducting the investigation states that because no County official or anyone else made Chrobocinski aware that the County was investigating him or requesting an interview of him, that he and Geran interpret emails requesting an interview as a command and that they object to the idea that County management can command Chrobocinski to provide testimony. For this reason, Chrobocinski provided his statement.

Geran’s letter said he is concerned about the existence of County Ordinances 30-15 through 17 because they “threaten the legislative independence of the individual County Councilors and subject them to the possibility of pressure, both retaliatory and otherwise from individual members of the public, County employees, County senior management and the other County Councilors”.

“I also note that the Ordinance was passed immediately previous to Mr. Chrobocinski’s election to the office of County Commissioner (sic) and as his brother … and two police officers were complaining of retaliation for raising concerns about the conduct of several Los Alamos public officials specifically including named defendant County Manager Harry Burgess,” Geran said.

Geran said it was his concern that that lawsuit and its direct threat to the political viability of Burgess led to the passage of the ordinance with “the unstated purpose of imbalancing Los Alamos County government so that the executive branch assumed a previously-uncountenanced elevation over the legislative branch – an imbalance that is directly being acted upon now by the executive branch”.

Geran said he believed Burgess had a role in several actions including retaliation against Foster, the passing of the new ordinances, harsh treatment with regard to Chrobocinski’s permitting requests, encouraging of an allegedly private complaint by Wetteland and Arellano, the release of confidential complaint materials against Chrobocinski, retaliatory interviews provided by Burgess and others to the press, and the “authorization of (the) preempted interview and investigation process”.

Burgess told the Los Alamos Daily Post this afternoon that given the current investigation, he could not make any comment on Chrobocinski’s response. Geran indicated Tuesday that neither he or Chrobocinski would be answering press inquiries until the response of the County is received.

Additional documents included with Chrobocinski’s response:

 
Law Office of George T. Geran
4129 S. Meadows Road #1017 • Santa Fe, New Mexico  87507 • (505) 983-1085 • Fax:  (505) 955-1941

DELIVERED BY EMAIL

March 19, 2018

Debra Moulton, Esq.
Kennedy, Moulton & Wells, P.C.
2201 San Pedro NE, Bldg 2, Suite 200
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110

RE:  March 7 and March 13 Requests for Investigative Interview of James Chrobocinski

Dear Ms. Moulton:

I am representing Mr. Chrobocinski related to your request that he (and the entire Legislative Branch of County Government by implication) submit to the Executive Branch’s asserted right to investigate his conduct because of an employee complaint. This is accompanying delivery of a personal signed statement from Mr. Chrobocinski regarding the allegations he believes you are investigating because of recent press coverage.  Contrary to your first email, Mr. Chrobocinski was unaware, prior to March 13, of your hiring to conduct an investigation, and did not previously understand that he would be interviewed pursuant any investigation by you.  Because no County Official (or anyone else) ever made Mr. Chrobocinski aware that the County was investigating him, or requesting an interview of him, he (and I) interpret the emails as a command.  I write to object to the idea that County Management can command Mr. Chrobocinski to provide testimony (at the very same time as acknowledging the existence of County Ordinances 30-15 through 17, and providing a voluntary, written statement to you), and am writing to both raise that issue immediately and to provide the voluntary statement to you.

I will note to start that the three ordinances are relatively new having been passed into law on or about November 25, 2014.  I am concerned about their very existence because they threaten the legislative independence of the individual County Councilors, and subject the Councilors to the possibility of pressure, both retaliatory and otherwise, from individual members of the public, County employees, County Senior Management, and the other County Councilors.  I also note that the Ordinance was passed immediately previous to Mr. Chrobocinski’s election to the office of County Commissioner, and as his brother, former LAPD Acting Police Chief Randy Foster, and two other police officers were complaining of retaliation for raising concerns about the conduct of several Los Alamos public officials, specifically including named Defendant County Manager Harry Burgess.  That matter eventually settled for a payment of $2 million in the Spring of 2016.  It is my concern that that lawsuit, and its direct threat to the political viability of Mr. Burgess, led to the passage of the Ordinance with the unstated purpose of unbalancing Los Alamos County Government, so that the Executive Branch assumed a previously-uncountenanced elevation over the Legislative Branch – an imbalance which is directly being acted upon now by the Executive Branch.  Therefore, Mr. Chrobocinski is providing you with the Written Statement (in an attempt to voluntarily provide you with what you need to investigate an employment complaint), and predicating any further cooperation with your investigation upon the County affirmatively renouncing any assertion of power over the independence of its Legislative Branch.  I note now that Mr. Burgess is believed at this time to have had a role in all of the above actions, meaning the retaliation against Mr. Foster, the passing of the new ordinances, the harsh treatment with regard to Mr. Chrobocinski’s permitting requests, the encouragement of an allegedly private complaint by employees Mr. Wetteland and Mr. Arrellano, the release of the confidential complaint materials against Mr. Chrobocinski, retaliatory interviews provided by Mr. Burgess and others to the press, and authorization of your preempted interview and investigation process.

I note to start that legislative action by the County Council stands as the only County-check on the complete power and authority of the County Manager over government operations.  I note further that prior to the adoption of the challenged ordinances the procedures for checking the power of the County Councilors were at least four-fold:

a) the need for a majority of the Councilors to enact any ordinance;

b) the Constitution of the State of New Mexico’s procedure for a recall election for any County Councilor, N.M. Const. Art. X, § 9;

c) the voluminous procedures for removal of a county official for almost any cause contained in N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-2, set out at length in N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-1 through 29; and

d) the procedures set out for suspension of a County official for financial cause contained in N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-5-2, set out at length in N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-5-1 through 9.

It is Mr. Chrobocinski’s position that all of the above were intended to be the sole and exclusive vehicles for checking any perceived misconduct by any particular County Councilor.  It is further asserted that Prot. & Advocacy Sys. v. City of Albuquerque, 2008-NMCA-149, ¶¶ 50-71, 145 N.M. 156, 195 P.3d 1 and its predicate cases set out controlling law indicating that the above cited laws preempt, both specifically and generally, the County Ordinances involved in your investigation’s assertion of County power over Mr. Chrobocinski.  All of the above specifically invalidates County Ordinances 30-15 through 17, as well as specifically invalidating your ability to require Mr. Chrobocinski to cooperate with your investigation, or any attempt by County officials or employees to otherwise discipline, suspend, direct, or terminate Mr. Chrobocinski, both related to your investigation or in any other manner or matter.  The exclusive manner for removal of a public officer in New Mexico is contained in N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-1 through 29, as the statute announces, and the removal itself requires a jury verdict, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-9,  a full grant of all criminal procedural rights, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-12 and 13,  as well as the statutorially explicir provision stating directly that this no County Councilor “can be removed from office in any manner except according to the provisions of this Chapter.”  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-4-29.  County Ordinances 30-15 through 30-17 is a simple power grab by the Los Alamos County Government, taking power away from the electorate (through their right to recall), and awarding it to a Government that minimizes the voice of the people at every turn.  The specific and general conflicts with procedures a) through d) (above) are legion, and I charge the County Government and yourself with knowing that both prior to your attempt to begin an investigation into Mr. Chrobocinski, and certainly now that I have explicitly pointed the conflicts out.  Any further action against Mr. Chrobocinski that does not comply fully with procedures a) through d) above will bring an immediate complaint requesting immediate and certain declaratory judgment on the matter, and further, requesting damages for the extremely important due process rights of an elected official.  County Ordinances 30-15 through 17 are a legal nullity plain and simple, and this investigation is a willful infringement upon the Los Alamos’ citizenry’s right to be represented by the officers they elect.

I further note that the Executive Branch of the County Government explicitly and intentionally violated Ord. No. 30-15 by releasing to the press the complaint, an action specifically and intentionally different and distinct from Mr. Chrobocinski so releasing his own complaint.  This is all contrary to the County’s regular policy of not releasing such investigative materials, and regularly objecting to Court-authorized release of such materials during litigation.

Again, as such, Mr. Chrobocinski is conditioning any further cooperation with your investigation upon the County’s explicit, written and intentionally-binding acknowledgement of the validity of the above argument.  Once Mr. Chrobocinski receives such acknowledgement by the County, he and I will agree to appear for his interview by you at a mutually-agreed upon time and place.  Please provide a written response to this letter within a week, and by March 26, 2018.  Please do not misunderstand me, Mr. Chrobocinski is open to alternative arrangements, and will listen to any counter-offers you care to make.  He is simply voicing one procedure he knows he can agree to.

Mr. Chrobocinski would like to make the following binding statements regarding any claims by County officials or employees that Mr. Chrobocinski has committed any cognizable claim against them.  First of all, Mr. Chrobocinski was always acting with the public interest in mind (justified by numerous, well-documented citizen complaints to Mr. Chrobocinski in his representative role), and his opposition to the County’s code enforcement and building and construction permit procedures and rules started long before he, personally, experienced retaliation for his complaints and political activities in November, 2017 through the present.  Those long-term public and political activities are explicitly a part of his duties as a County Councilor, and led to Mr. Chrobocinski introducing relevant, ordinance text before the County Board of Councilors the day before Mr. Wetteland and Mr. Arrellano made their complaint to County Human Resources.  Mr. Chrobocinski is both individually immune from any action by the two employees (as they have no cognizable claim against him individually), and legislatively immune because his actions, all arose out of his necessary duties to the taxpayers of Los Alamos County.

Mr. Chrobocinski wishes at this point to disavow his prior, occasional statements that he was acting as a private citizen regarding any of the complained-of actions.  That confusion arose out of the difficult quandary of a public official experiencing retaliation for his public and necessary actions in his private and separate business life, and further led to Mr. Chrobocinski including the newspapers in his attempts to secure fair, non-retaliatory treatment by the County inspectors.  Mr. Chrobocinski explicitly regrets some language he used in his November 30, 2017 encounter with Mr. Rinaldi, but he also asserts the difficulty of experiencing protracted bad-faith retaliation against his private interests while engaging in appropriate, good-faith public debate of County actions against the electorate.  Mr. Chrobocinski and I note explicitly that the complaint against Mr. Chrobocinski came from the two officials whose official and public actions he was directly and publicly questioning at the time they began to harass Mr. Chrobocinski in his private, business actions.  That is not an accident.  That is proof of retaliatory motive.

Mr. Chrobocinski also wishes to serve notice that he will not countenance further action against him without seeking legal redress, and further wishes to state explicitly that he believes County-officials at the senior-most level are retaliating against him as a pattern of behavior because of his connection to his brother (and his previous suit and the testimony in it), and because of Mr. Chrobocinski’s on-going efforts to secure an appropriate, retaliation-free working environment for himself, all other County employees, and the Los Alamos electorate.  I also want to let you know that given the County Government’s egregious power-grab, Mr. Chrobocinski may in the future decide to unilaterally release this letter and Mr. Chrobocinski’s statement so that the public may be fully informed of how their rights are daily trampled on by what is supposed to be a representational democracy with checks and balances curtailing blatant assertions of unauthorized power by any one branch of that representational government.  That release would be public speech of a political nature of the gravest importance.  Thank you very much for your attention to this alarming matter.

Sincerely

George T. Geran

Attachment:  Statement of James Chrobocinski

Statement of James Chrobocinski

I believe the complaints against me from Michael Arrellano and Jeff Wetteland are in retaliation for my commitment to the people of Los Alamos to end overzealous code enforcement and permitting. In fact, when I ran for office in 2014, one of the two main tenets of my campaign was “eliminating governmental roadblocks to successful business”. At the time there was a public outcry about corruption, favoritism, and the extreme difficulty people were having in regards to building and sign permits.  Early in my tenure, I was one of the main proponents of revamping the permitting process. Councilor Rick Reiss and I felt the system was so broken that we actually met with the state permitting department to get information on having the state take it over from our county permitting department. We also had multiple meetings with our county manager about it. I had many discussions with business owners, individuals, and others about the difficulties they were facing through email, phone calls, social media and face-to-face meetings. We led our council in the decision to break up the department and bring in new personnel. I felt we were making good progress for some time.

Unfortunately, I started hearing new complaints about building permits in the last year that have grown more and more frequent. Just in the last week I have had two that I tried to share with the county manager and had no response. In one, David Espinosa, a well respected roofer who has worked in our community for years, raised objections to Michael Arrellano’s bullying tactics and unequal enforcement of codes that should not apply. In the other, Joseph Garcia with Rancho Creston Construction, was trying to rebuild a deck for someone for $1500. Mr Arrellano approved the permit but stated that he felt $1500 was not enough so he valued it at $4000 and charged the customer based on a $4000 value for a $1500 job. Incidentally, Mr Arrellano’s accomplishments are cited by the value of the permits he approves. It seems that he is falsely inflating those numbers. This can be corroborated by reviewing the permitting report in the county manager’s monthly report to council. When I have tried to address these issues with the county manager I have been met with either denials or no response at all.

To compound the permitting issue, a year or so ago the council was presented with a plan for increased code enforcement. My understanding of how it was being presented was that they would be focusing on egregious blight in our community. I heard examples of not allowing piled up old sofas and mattresses on the curbs for weeks at a time or addressing derelict commercial buildings. All these seemed like reasonable things so I supported the change at the time.  In my opinion, as a representative of the people of Los Alamos, it has turned into one of the worst cases of government overreach I have ever seen. We are seeing things like people being cited for a small patch of peeling paint, a missing board on a fence, a single cardboard box in someone’s yard, and even a plastic bin used to hold Christmas decorations inside a carport an hour after they got the bin out to put up their Christmas lights. Through IPRA requests I have seen the notices and pictures of the “violations”. Many of my constituents have become outraged about this situation. They have vented their anger on the Facebook site “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Los Alamos”, at council meetings, in the media, and through many emails and phone conversations. I have publically supported their cause in an effort to revoke or reign in this overreach. I see it as my duty to them as their elected representative to take up their plight.

It is especially telling to me that this complaint is an attempt to stifle political discourse by the fact that this complaint against me was filed a day or two after the council meeting we had on February 13th, 2018 to address this very issue. I had not had any conflicts with Mr. Wetteland or Mr. Arrellano since the interactions at the end of 2017. In fact, Mr. Arrellano and I met at the county building in January, shook hands, and agreed to move forward in a courteous manner which we have both done. The only thing that has happened since then was the council meeting in which the council respectfully discussed the code enforcement issues and unanimously agreed to make changes. During that meeting two of my constituents, Heather Ortega and Helen Milenski, reported being bullied by Mr Wetteland getting in their personal space and trying to be physically intimidating and to being “flipped off” in the lobby by Mr Arrellano. They even asked me if there was camera in the lobby so that they could prove it and file a complaint. These two ladies are outspoken critics of the code enforcement overreach and as such are being subjected to harassment by Arrellano and Wetteland themselves.

In regards to the November/December interactions my concerns are well documented in my letters to county administration, human resources and the community. I will be happy to provide copies of those. I strongly feel that the issues I was dealing with were in retaliation to my political stance on permitting and code enforcement.

 On Nov 13 Michael Arrellano and Jeff Wetteland came into the building I had just purchased at 11 Sherwood. We had just finished removing a suspended ceiling and some temporary walls that had been put in by a previous owner. They explained to me that I needed a demolition permit for the work that I had already completed. I explained that I had all my contractors lined up for the construction work and that they would be pulling permits but that I had never heard of a demolition permit or I would have taken care of that also. Michael Arrellano told me just to have my contractor apply for it and that it was an over the counter permit that they could do right away.

I had my contractor submit the application as directed but apparently Mr Arrellano either lied or changed his mind as they refused to handle it over the counter. Instead after several days they asked for a set of drawings for the restaurant. Since none exist at the county (as per CDD staff) I hired a draftsman to draw up the building. I have since learned that this was not true either. I was able to get the drawings through an IPRA request even though CDD staff denied that they exist.

I went ahead and submitted the drawings they required me to have drawn up as requested. However, this time Mr. Wetteland stated in an email, “I believe that the building division still needs an asbestos report, but that is not in my wheelhouse.”

First of all they know full well that the suspended ceiling no longer exists so it is impossible to test. Secondly, they are showing a pattern of every time I comply with a request they come up with something else. Thirdly, even if it could be done there is no reason to test ceiling tiles that were put up in 1990, well after asbestos was outlawed. My contractor stated; “I did not list asbestos as a material to be removed because we all knew there was no asbestos”. This left me with no viable path forward which I believe is what they were trying to accomplish. This last requirement was an obvious attempt to retaliate against me since they knew it could not be complied with. So I told Mr. Wetteland that I had no choice but to give up on the demo permit and go to court.

The best analogy I heard about this is, “is it is like being told to bring them a rock. Once a rock is delivered they are told to then bring them another rock, and then another rock, and then another rock, and so on”. It is tactics like this that brings endless delays and creates huge amounts of frustration and anger for our citizens.

 In my situation I was told by Michael Arellano to apply for a demolition permit and that it would be a quick and easy “over-the-counter” permit (rock 1). My contractor and I were both surprised that they wanted a demolition permit for removing the things we needed to remove in order to prepare for renovations. It was not something I had heard of before and could not find any information about what the specific requirements are that trigger the need for a demolition permit.  It is common sense that some small changes to buildings can be made without a permit, and it is this sort of discretionary, standardless decision that my constituents are upset about.  I estimate the total amount of work and time being expended on my “demolition” as 168 person hours and $2250.  When I requested to see the criteria for a demolition permit I was told that they had no information on that. When we applied for the permit they would not handle it over the counter as Michael Arrellano previously stated.

Several days later we were told they wanted building drawings (rock 2). This was especially frustrating since we had asked for past drawings from the county and were told they did not exist, a false statement as I detailed before. I ended up having to pay $500 someone to recreate drawings that the county already had.

We delivered those drawings and were told nearly a week later (over two weeks into the process) that they now wanted an asbestos report on material that no longer existed (rock 3) and I had no way to obtain.

So at around 4:30pm the day before Thanksgiving, after the county manager, the county attorney, and the fire chief have all left town for the holiday,  Fire Marshall Wetteland personally went to my building and put up red tags on every window even though the fire department admittedly has nothing to do with asbestos. He then threatened my staff that if any of them go in the building he would have them arrested. I believe he did it at this specific time because he knew that the county manager, the fire chief, and county attorney were all out of town on vacation and that I would not be able to do anything about it for 5 additional days when county offices reopen. This was just another way for him to try to silence me.

The week after Thanksgiving I spoke with Lee Brammeier, another county inspector who quit his job citing bullying by Mr Arrellano, and confirmed that despite the red tag it was okay for our roofer to continue since he had a permit and we could clean up the debris around the exterior so as not to leave unsightly debris lying around. So the next day I went by the building to make sure that the railings and other debris had been picked up. When I got there I found Assistant Fire Marshall Steve Rinaldi peering in the windows. I was very upset at the time about the retaliation against me for trying to represent my constituents, seeing all the work I had done to improve permitting over the last few years being destroyed, and the way Mr. Arrellano and Mr. Wetteland were abusing their power to try to intimidate me into silence. At the same time, I realized that I was encountering exactly the kind of behavior my constituents were encountering with the Permitting and Fire Departments, and understood that the Executive Branch of County Government was directly negating the check on its actions the Legislative Branch is supposed to represent. 

The matter was clearly my problem, but I also knew it represented something more, just like I represent something more in my role of counsellor.  With all that going on I did lose my temper for a few moments when Mr. Rinaldi informed me that it was Mr. Wetteland who sent him there. I admit that I used foul language in referring to Mr Wetteland. I do not recall saying anything about Mr Wetteland being fired but it is possible as I do not believe he is a positive representative of the Los Alamos County Fire Department. However, just as Mr Rinaldi stated, I gathered myself within moments, apologized for my language, and excused myself from the situation.  It was a bad moment for me.  I regret my statements, and am glad I had the good sense to immediately apologize and leave the situation.  It was only later that I actually realized that a good part of my anger arose from the fact that the incident intentionally, directly infringed on the legislative power I hold for my constituents, and was designed to show that power was meaningless to the Fire and Permitting Departments.  I was mad for myself.  But I was mad for my constituents as well, and it was difficult for me to understand in that moment where my anger was coming from.

Mr. Arrellano and Mr. Wetteland have demonstrated severe abuse of power, harassment, and have lied to me several times during this situation. So on November 22nd I notified the county attorney, county manager, and the community about their harassment and retaliation against me in response to my on-going political efforts to restrain their against their overzealous code enforcement.  I regarded those complaint efforts as a political action taken by a County Councilor, but it was confusing for me because it arose in my role as a realtor.  As I said above, this entire incident has clarified for me that when I am dealing with the County in any role, even an overtly personal one, because I am a Councilor there is a potential political component.  No matter what hat I think I wear, others will always potentially react to me as a Councilor.  It is important that I recognize that at all times because sometimes my righteous and appropriate political response to such confusion by others will exaggerate my personal response.

In my letter to the county manager on November 24th I expressed, “the part that bothers me the most (besides the fact that I believe this is retaliatory) is that our permitting is apparently back to their old bad habits. We constantly heard from contractors that CDD would keep coming back with one thing after another causing endless delays”. It is very upsetting after all the work I had done on behalf of my constituents that all the progress was being undone and that they were attacking me personally for speaking up.

By December 3rd 2017, the weight of this battle had become unbearable. I realized that in trying to represent my community I had unleashed the power of permitting, code enforcement, and the Fire Marshall in a battle that I could not win and would likely destroy me personally. So I sent a letter to the council, county manager, and the citizens stating that I was in an unwinnable situation, dropping my complaint, and outlining how our permitting department was failing our citizens. I ended my letter stating, “I will continue this fight on behalf of the community as a whole to end the frustrating and costly incompetence from all involved in building permits within Los Alamos County.”

In the end this retaliation against me has caused me to realize just how pervasive the corruption in our county is. I was intimately aware of several circumstances of corruption, collusion, and intimidation over the years but had hoped they were isolated instances. I now realize how engrained it is and how the county rules it’s citizens through fear. I regard County Ordinances 10-15 through 10-17 as a part of this.  The ordinances attempt to subvert a carefully thought through state-wide effort to leave investigation and potential removal of elected county officials to the electorate itself, the State Finance and Administration Department, and the local District Attorney.  The electorate makes sense.  So does the involvement of the State Finance and Administration Department when improper financial dealings are suspected.  And the District Attorney makes sense as well because the District Attorney, while a part of the Executive Branch, is not a part of the Executive Branch that is swayed by political agendas, as the District Attorney is also an Officer of the Courts, and required to be unbiased and truthful in their official actions.  Mr. Burgess has influence over every single employee of the County, as their jobs rest ultimately in his hands.  Mr. Burgess and other County Managers can potentially use that control to influence any County process for removal or discipline of the Legislative Branch which is the only check on his power. 

I regard this investigation as retaliatory in nature because of the active subversion of an established constitutional and legislative process presented by the Ordinances.  The District Attorney’s Office is actively constrained with regards to its process by 29 separate statutes, setting out in detail limitations, both substantive and procedural, on the District Attorney’s actions in overturning an election.  I judge the subversive process barely sketched out in the ordinances as another grant of discretionary, standardless power to the County’s Executive Branch, just like labelling the Pig and Fig’s remodel a demolition.  I have decided not to seek re-election because I can no longer be a part of such an institution. But I will continue to speak out against those who abuse their power to hurt those that they are supposed to be serving.

I am happy to provide any documentation alluded to above to your investigation without condition.  I want you to have all you need factually.  Unfortunately, I regard the rest of this investigation as another power-grab by Mr. Burgess and the rest of the County Executive Branch.  I have previously set out my conditions for further participation in your investigation.

_________________________________________

James Chrobocinski

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