Vinod Sharma

Life after George Shirakawa Jr.

George Shirakawa Jr.‘s illegal actions have had a direct effect on multiple people’s careers. (Photo by Geoffrey Smith)

There is life after George Shirakawa Jr., as three men are proving with varying degrees of success. A former chief of staff to the incarcerated supervisor is rewriting history on his new blog, while a former county CFO has accepted a demotion after failing to catch Shirakawa’s crimes. Perhaps most interesting, though, is how the city’s acting police chief, Larry Esquivel, has managed to stay above the fray.

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County to Discuss Measure A Spending

The county Board of Supervisors will discuss how to address homelessness with some of its Measure A revenue.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will decide how to allocate a third of this year’s Measure A revenue, or $15.3 million. They’re expected to spend the bulk of it on affordable housing and healthcare for the uninsured. Other items on the include guidelines for a 55-acre civic center in downtown San Jose, rapid re-housing for the homeless and downsizing a tobacco prevention and control program.

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Santa Clara County Down Another CFO

Santa Clara County’s Valley Medical Center lost its chief financial officer to resignation last week, leaving the top two finance posts filled on an interim basis.

CFOs are dropping like flies—well, not this Fly—over at the County of Santa Clara offices. Last Friday marked the final hurrah in the tenure of Dave McGrew, the chief financial officer of Valley Medical Center (VMC) since August 2011. Word is McGrew was placed on administrative leave a couple weeks prior to his sayonara. While McGrew trotted out the boilerplate goodbye in an email to staff, citing a need for more time with his family, his admin leave was not voluntary, according to sources in the county. David Claude, the director of general accounting, will take over as interim CFO, which means the county now has temps staffing its two most important finance positions.

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Council to Discuss Developer Incentives at First Meeting of New Fiscal Year

San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo speaks at the groundbreaking for 1 South Market, along with Mayor Chuck Reed, left, and San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce VP Jim Reed (no relation).

Since slashing construction fees for high-rise development in downtown, two towers have broken ground, including the $135 million 23-story project at One South Market. Hoping to spur more nearby development, the City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to vote in a similar half-off discount for buildings of any size as long as they create jobs. Other items on the agenda for the first council meeting of the 2013-114 fiscal year include another look at building restriction height around the airport, a potential study of the city’s sewer system and an update on the city’s graffiti abatement contract.

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Judge Orders County to Give $7 million in RDA Money to San Jose

San Jose is entitled to $7 million in funds Santa Clara County withheld from the city’s Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency.

Santa Clara County owes the city of San Jose nearly $7 million that was wrongfully diverted to county employee retirement accounts, according to a ruling handed down Friday by a Sacramento Superior Court judge. The ruling found that beleaguered county finance officials ignored “a half century of construction and application of California law governing allocation of tax increment financing.”

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County Investigates Finance Officials; Supervisors Watch Smith’s Response

County CFO Vinod Sharma, left, and Controller-Treasurer Irene Lui face close scrutiny after they reportedly ignored audits while former county Supervisor George Shirakawa misused public funds.

County Executive Jeff Smith admitted Friday that significant “culture problems” exist within the county and an internal investigation has been launched into finance officials who may have covered up their role in facilitating crimes committed by former county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. Meanwhile, Supervisor Dave Cortese told San Jose Inside that the Board is keeping close tabs on Smith’s “response and accountability.”

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County Finance Officials Caught in Lies, Enabled Shirakawa’s Deception

Santa Clara County’s top finance officials, CFO Vinod Sharma (left) and Controller-Treasurer Irene Lui, have changed their stories repeatedly when explaining how George Shirakawa Jr.‘s misuse of taxpayer funds went undetected for four years.

Based on numerous interviews and an extensive review of documents, Metro/San Jose Inside has learned that Vinod Sharma, county CFO and director of finance, and his second-in-command, Controller-Treasurer Irene Lui, repeatedly made false statements regarding how George Shirakawa Jr. avoided detection of his misuse of county funds. Sharma and Lui decided on their own to direct resources away from reviewing charge card expenses to focus on larger-scale audits in hopes of pleasing their superiors. And by blaming their subordinates and making confusing—if not cunningly calculated—statements at public hearings, Sharma and Lui seem to be more politically astute than some of the elected and appointed officials who listen to their explanations. The following is an excerpt from the full report, which can be found at Metroactive.com. —Editor

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