Milpitas City Hall Loses Another Department Head

Milpitas City Hall, for the life of it, can’t seem to hang on to its top-tier employees. Human Resources Director Carmen Valdez became the latest in a long line of department heads to abruptly leave. Valdez, who worked at the city for 30 years, accelerated her retirement date three times. But on May 15, she was reportedly “walked out” without any public explanation. Sources who work with her blame City Manager Tom Williams, whose angry outbursts have allegedly scared off a litany of staffers. As reported, Greg Armendariz stepped down from his post as public works director in 2012 for some unspecified medical problem. His successor, Jeff Moneda, followed suit last November, taking a job in Foster City. Planning director Diana Barnhart also quit for purported health reasons. There are more—not to mention a steady clip of mid-management turnover—but we’re running out of column inches. Replacing directors is costing the city a fortune, as evidenced by the $24,000 budgeted to recruit a replacement for Valdez. Just before Steve McHarris left his post as planning director for a job in the city of San Jose—about week-and-a-half before his two weeks were up—he filed a complaint against Williams. Of course that complaint went through the head of HR, Valdez at the time, who forwarded it to city attorney Mike Ogaz. Ogaz brought the matter to the City Council for an urgent closed-session discussion and was rewarded for abiding by due process by becoming subject to a personnel review himself, courtesy of Williams ally and alleged mailbox-pilfering Councilwoman Debbie Giordano. Sources say Williams was none too happy about Valdez alerting policymakers to the complaint and made what was left of her City Hall tenure a miserable enough slog that she expedited her retirement.

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  1. Recruitment costs are adding up for directors: planning, public works, human resources, etc. Plus the inspectors, engineers, planners, etc. who have left due to the bad work environment. The city is struggling with bringing people in. When does it stop? How does it stop? Who will take action? A lot of public money is being wasted due to a bad leader. What could we have used the $24,000 for instead of one recruitment? Imagine the costs for all the other recruitments and training new hires. Institutional knowledge out the door!So I hope the City doesn’t raise taxes to the residents to pay for these costs. More staff will leave if changes don’t occur.

  2. In recent appointments, Tom Williams’ nepotism saved the city in recruitment fees. Even with so much print on his unacceptable conduct, his angry outbursts to city staff have not reduce one bit. It’s sad for Milpitas residents and city staff that city council continues to condone Tom’s actions by doing nothing.

  3. I guess taking Tom’s actions to the City Council was a waste of time. I hear they instructed outside Counsel to do whatever was necessary to try to keep this as low key as possible. I guess employees and residents just need to take it upon themselves to get the word out!

  4. Tom always has to throw the last punch. He can’t let people walk away. It’s a tyrant’s nature. Look at what he did recently to Steve McHarris and now Carmen Valdez. They were retiring for God’s sake! Why couldn’t he just leave them alone?

  5. Tom has done some shenanigans with developers in Milpitas and the city council is aware of them. they are not going to take any action! he is going to get away with all his misconduct. it’s time to release the information to the press. Stay tuned!

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