It was reported on Friday that Assistant City Manager John French gave a letter of resignation to Interim City Manager Gary Hampton a week ago.
French’s resignation is preceded by French being put on paid administrative leave after he wrote a memo concerning possible misuse of federal HUD funds by the Turlock Housing Department.
The memo was requested and sent to Interim City Manager Gary Hampton reportedly pointing our concerns of spending over the allotted percentage of federal funds on administrative costs including salaries, rents, utilities, and such. The Assistant City Manager oversaw the Housing Department.
Although all reports point to the memo concerning public information on how our community’s housing services are being run, Interim City Manager Gary Hampton has said that the memo was requested in regards to a personnel issue.
The Public Records Request for the John French Housing Department memo was deemed exempt to disclosure and denied by City Attorney Phaedra Norton after 8 days (Public Records Request of Housing Department Memo Exempt from Disclosure article).
The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Turlock are conducting investigations of alleged misuse of federal funds in the Housing Department.
John French told the Modesto Bee that he worried about his job security due to possible budget cuts for the Fiscal Year 2009/10.
The City Manager Budget Memo included a brief explanation of proposed budget adjustments and cuts to be discussed at the City Council’s Budget Workshop on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at City Hall at 5pm.
The City Manager Budget Memo regarding the proposed budget does not mention cutting the Assistant City Manager position but states “Oversight of Finance, Human Resource and Information Technology service areas, that comprise the Administrative Services Department, will be shifted back under the Assistant City Manager.”