By Jim Tortolano
Did a former Garden Grove fire chief have “no-show, no-work” deal after he left his job under a cloud of controversy? An audit report says no.
On Tuesday night the Garden Grove council voted 5-0 to accept an independent audit report that concluded that ex-fire chief David Barlag neither sought nor held such a position in his job as public safety administrator.
The council heard a summary by Daphne Anneet, a partner with the firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP that audited the work done by Barlag during his service to the position created after his resignation as fire chief.
He left the fire chief post in the face of criticism, including issues with fire safety inspections not made, and allegations of nepotism in hiring in the fire department. Barlag agreed to step down and was appointed by then-City Manager Matt Fertal to the newly-created “public safety” post, from which he later resigned.
The controversy is believed to have figured in the retirement/resignation of Fertal and the narrow defeat of long-time incumbent mayor Bruce Broadwater by challenger Bao Nguyen in the 2014 election.
Annett told the council that in addition to reviewing documents, she was able to hear a recording made of a conversation between Barlag and another person, provided by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
She said that in the conversation, in which Barlag was asked many questions about his role with the city, he never mentioned the idea that he was in a “no-show, no-work” position.
“If there had been any issues, it would have come up,” she said.
During his tenure in that post, Barlag was originally said to be working on enlargement of the police department facility as well as the construction of a new headquarters fire station, two projects which were eventually abandoned.
Categories: Garden Grove