The executive director of a troubled tax board told a Senate hearing that the agency is “at a tipping point” and acknowledged that he has been threatened with his dismissal.
David Gau stopped short of saying that a specific elected member of the Board of Equalization threatened him. He reports to five elected officials.
“I presently have been subject to that threat recently,” he said at a budget subcommittee led by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.
Gau disclosed his status with the board when Roth asked about employees who told auditors that they feared retaliation from elected board members.
“There is undeniable pressure in working for five board members,” Gau said. “In my case recently I was threatened.”
Roth called Gau and two other executives to answer questions about an audit that suggested the Board of Equalization had allowed elected members to “redirect” civil servants to political pet projects, including expensive promotional events that have a “limited nexus” to the agency’s responsibility to collect taxes.
A report described two offices that opened in board member Jerome Horton’s Los Angeles-based district without formal votes at public meetings. Auditors could not determine how the offices were opened.
In one of the offices, auditors met employees who on paper reported to executives but in practice worked for Horton’s staff.
Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee