“Personnel Matter” is Bureaucrat for “Misdemeanor”

The following is cross-posted from Friends for Fullerton’s Future:

Both The OC Weekly and The OC Register have picked up the Uber-Failus story of Joe Felz.

According to The Register the City Attorney, Greg Palmer, said “the incident is a personnel matter but declined to elaborate”.

Let us look at that “Personnel Matter” shall we? First we’ll reference our fallen Sappy McTree.

Dearly Departed Sappy McTree

According to Chief Hughes’ memo to City Council “the city manager was involved in a minor single vehicle collision”. Okay. That explains the tree but not what happened.

For context Sappy McTree is knocked down facing West which means that he left this mortal coil after being struck from an Easterly direction. The following is a photo of a skid mark which starts near Sappy’s remains and continues west.

Fleeing the Scene?

It continues for 176ft. How do we know? Because we measured it.

176ft Skid Mark

“So what?” some of you will comment. The “So What” is California Vehicle Code 20002 (emphasis mine):

20002.  (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident
resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall
immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not
impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.
Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not
affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do
either of the following:
   (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that
property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the
vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle
involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property,
upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and
vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person
in charge of that property. The information presented shall include
the current residence address of the driver and of the registered
owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at
the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her
driver's license information, if available, or other valid
identification to the other involved parties.
   (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property
damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver
and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the
circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the
police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if
the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local
headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
   (b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle
again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an
accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended,
shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to
notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be
liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with
the requirements.
   (c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this
section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding
six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000),
or by both that imprisonment and fine.

If City Manager Felz dislodged his vehicle from the tree and drove for an additional 176ft, doing damage to the road in the process, before the police were called he committed a misdemeanor for fleeing the scene even if he didn’t get very far in the process. As he allegedly lives up the street from the accident and was likely driving on rims, thereby causing the road damage, one would be foolhardy to assume that he was simply trying to find a safe place to park besides on top of Sappy McTree.

Why it’s almost as if we have our own little aristocracy here in Fullerton and the rules don’t apply to them. Their “Personnel Matter” is a “Misdemeanor” for the hoi polloi.