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Editorial: Atherton pays off another employee

Original post made on Apr 28, 2010

The lingering legal dispute over whether Atherton had a legitimate reason to terminate finance director John Johns in 2007 finally ended last week on a 3-2 City Council vote that does little to explain the facts of the case.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

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Posted by Kudos to THE ALMANAC
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:59 am

Who would have thunk it???

John Johns: This is a good editorial. The Almanac/Tom Gibboney has clearly acknowledged you as the "clear winner". A year ago these words coming out of that mouth would have been inconceivable.

The Almanac has not exactly been "in your corner" during this fight. If anything, I thought they were more advocating Atherton's point of view than yours, and allowing vicious allegations against you to stand in the forums while deleting your own posts on a regular basis.

The Almanac has turned a corner and is now starting to not only report on misdeeds, but actually editorialize on them. I say, "better late than never". I say "come on in, the water's just fine".

I also say, if the Almanac can figure this stuff out, every member of the town council should be able to as well. Moreover, every voter in Atherton should certainly figure it out.

Maybe it took Atherton messing with someone like Buckheit to drive the point home that you weren't an aberration, but rather a horrendous example of abuse of power that perpetuated after you left and reached such a fever pitch that the same bullies thought they could railroad a super wealthy resident and get away with it. Maybe it was your own steely resolve and refusal to back down. Most likely it was simply you were right and they were wrong. People can't be driven out of a job and a reputation for doing their job (auditing the entities they were charged to, no matter how mad it made the people being audited).

It was most likely a combination of all of these things. Mr. Gibboney points out that YOU TURNED DOWN ADDITIONAL MONEY in this settlement (that's the only conclusion one can come to) in order to be able to continue to speak out about your experiences. That makes you a credit to this community.

As for the Town of Atherton, when will it learn? The "old guard" prefers lawsuits like Pilar's, where the plaintiff makes a quick buck, leaves, and no learning takes place. (And, in my view, hers of the three mentioned in this editorial had no merit whatsoever). Be rest assured, Mr. Johns, others have opened their eyes, are opening their eyes, and don't like what they see.

You have been vindicated, no matter how Marsala voted against you and how Lewis refused to vote for you (at that amounts to the same thing).

Please don't go anywhere. This Town needs you as much as society at large needs our history books. It's the best learning that can take place of how to avoid this from happening again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John P. Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2010 at 7:46 am

I agree with the sentiment of "Kudos to the Almanac".

During the past 24 months I have been critical, severely so, at times of the Almanac News and of Mr. Gibboney personally. I even threatened to sue this paper for libel.

Mr. Gibboney's editorial came as a most pleasant surprise to me.

Mr. Gibboney has been very perceptive in drawing connections between my experience and the experience of others. He observed a cause and effect relationship that I feared the Almanac was missing. The Pilar Buckley case, my case and Mr. Buckheit's case are symptomatic of the same disease.

Mr. Gibboney got it right. Hats off to Mr. Gibboney.

In is editorial displayed an awareness of a pernicious dynamic in Atherton Town government.

Sadly, poor decisions are being made by inept managers, enabled by self-serving politicians who are aided and abetted by corrupt attorneys. The end result is legal fees and settlements amounting to seven figures.

What will be needed to save Atherton Town government? The answer is simple, a new majority on the City Council. One that does more than speaks platitudes about transparency and efficiency.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

In the mean time, Atherton continues to be the butt of a lot of joke and criticism and it will continue until major changes are made.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by laughing
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Butt of the joke?? But the "fine" police department caught a 59 year old female burglar!! Those are REAL cops!!! LOL!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by punch line
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

They didn't catch anybody--an observant neighbor made the discovery--the cops managed to scare away the get away car--rediculous


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