On January 9, there was a Contra Costa Times Editorial that flew under the radar which took another cheap shot at Bryan Montgomery mentioning his apparent housing deal which he never received while lumping him with some other questionable characters. The editorial, Prosecutors Must Seek Punishments to Fit the Crimes, essentially says Mr. Montgomery should have been punished.
Here is the mention of Montgomery in the editorial.
The Oakley city manager, Bryan Montgomery, tried to self-deal by using misleading information to persuade his City Council to approve a sweetheart $366,500 taxpayer-funded bonus as part of a deal to rescue him from an underwater mortgage. He would have gotten away with it if this paper hadn’t caught him with his hand in the cookie jar. The punishment: none.
It’s sad, this is now a half-dozen times the Times has mentioned Bryan Montgomery in negative light when the reality is no action technically occurred as the deal was rescinded while apologies were issued. I am beginning to think the editorial board has a crush on Mr. Montgomery, the reality is its more likely a vendetta against him.
It’s rather amusing of the Contra Costa Times to decide who should get a pass and who should not. They say the City Manager should be punished, yet hypocritically fail to mention what the punishment should be. Just what would the Times suggest the District Attorney do?
The District Attorney was made aware of this deal by many people. He chose not to pursue it because there was nothing there because no action was taken—which is the point, how can there be a witch hunt if nothing happened on record?
I am not going to beat a dead horse as this has been explained many times before (go look in my archives), but the bottom line is sweetheart deal or not, Montgomery still never received any money and still had to make his house payments. It should also be noted that nothing was hidden, it was all public record while the Times claims they considered it “hidden” because it took a few days to go through the numbers.
Don’t take my word for it, request the information and go through the records—it was all made available prior to the vote.
There was letters sent, many phone calls made and guess what, if rules were broken, a formal investigation would have been launched and completed by now. If something was wrong, Montgomery would be out of a job and while Oakley would have vacant council seats with many people campaigning in a special election.
More to the point, this “deal” is something all five councilmembers would have voted yes on in principal, the only difference is the numbers used—but the principal deal remains the same. Just take a look at the Oakley Press quote made by Randy Pope where he asked the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate.
Pope said Wednesday that he would have supported an equity share agreement had it been more balanced for the city: “He’s paid 28 percent of his mortgage. I would have been OK with 28 percent, but (the deal) gave him 50 percent.”
He would have voted yes on the deal in principal, he just didn’t like the numbers—but the language was the same.
Always remember that it is very easy for an editorial board to take a stand on something like a “punishment” because it’s an emotional issue for some who may have lost their homes. It’s an easy target for the Times in this economy. It’s an issue that creates news by repeating it over and over again.
It’s easy to take a stand on something when it does not directly affect one’s paper but helps sell newspapers and increase the bottom line—the effects only hurt Oakley and its citizens. There is no risk for the Times to misrepresent facts in this situation, meanwhile, Bryan Montgomery and the council reputations are tarnished.
It’s pretty pathetic how the Times lump my city manager in with a bunch of other people in completely different situations. For them to write crap like that is irresponsible and pathetic.
The assumption that the Times editorial board gets to decide what should be done for Oakley is arrogant and reckless. The Times needs to remember they do not get a vote on who was right or wrong, but rather the people of Oakley get to make that choice.
We spoke; the council and Mr. Montgomery listened and immediately rescinded the deal. Case closed, move on!
Contra Costa Times Editorial
Oakley Press – Oct. 27, 2011