I do not understand all the facts of the case but I thought it was interesting that someone that used to be with the Ventura County District Attorney's office was attacking the tax collector in such a strongly worded editorial. Of course, he is in private practice now.
I look forward to learning more about this case including the tax collector's point of view.
UPDATE: There is talk of a recall election. If you think it should or should not be done make sure to comment before any papers are pulled. I don't know if people are serious or what the law says on this matter. Read the comments to find out more information.
Matheney should be honorable and resign
By Ron Bamieh
December 8, 2006
Re: your Dec. 6 article, "Guardian's Office chief airs agency's 'dirty laundry' ":
I finished reading this article and Treasurer-Tax Collector Larry Matheney's halfhearted attempt at apology. I was shocked. I was not shocked at the unmitigated greed of Matheney's office, or at the true incompetence of his leadership, not even in his criminal acts of omission in managing an office where his employees were blatantly using the poorest and weakest of our community as human ATMs. I was shocked at the Board of Supervisors' reaction.
Where was the call for his head? Where was the outrage? When did it become plausible to reward great acts of incompetence -- potentially criminal acts of incompetence? We elect supervisors as our voice, to protect our interest. When the person charged with watching the county's money stands up and admits his office is responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of theft, it is not even conceivable that he can maintain his job, let alone get rewarded.
I am asking for the supervisors, individually, to state publicly what their position is regarding Matheney's job status. This is the question that must be asked of each board member. If our elected representatives do not think it's time to ask for Matheney to step down, then it is time that we look elsewhere for leadership. I have great faith in many of the individuals who serve on the Board of Supervisors, but my faith was shaken when only one of them spoke in limited condemnation of Matheney.
I am hoping Matheney will justify the honor of his position and resign voluntarily. This is required to restore some public confidence in his office. He has embarrassed his office and, if not directly responsible for thousands of dollars of theft, he either intentionally looked the other way or is truly one of the most incompetent managers of all time.
Make no mistake, it is Matheney who is responsible here, not the lack of staff, not the ineffective managers under him, but Matheney himself. He is accountable and must be held accountable. If he does not step down voluntarily, then it's incumbent on the supervisors to first call for his resignation, and if Matheney will not go voluntarily, then the board must move legally for his removal.
We expect our community leaders to have some courage. Tuesday, they apparently left their courage at home. Today is a new day. It's time for those who lead to lead. As truth about Matheney's actions (inactions) becomes public, it will become apparent what should have been done Tuesday. It will be inexpiable that Matheney continues to remain our county's treasure today.
-- Ron Bamieh, an attorney with the Ventura law firm Bamieh & Erickson, represents Louis Cox in a civil action against Larry Matheney's office for losses suffered by Cox's mother.