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El Monte city manager resigns in wake of prostitution sting, interim manager is named

El Monte officials said today that their city manager has resigned, one day after his arrest during a prostitution sting in Pomona.

In a 5 to 0 decision, the El Monte City Council appointed Rene Bobadilla, 38, as interim city manager to replace Jim Mussenden, 59, who had held the job since 2006.

The closed session meeting today was called to evaluate Mussenden's performance after council members learned early Friday morning that he had been arrested.

"We can’t sit back, we cannot hesitate, we cannot even appear that we are not taking any action," Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki said Friday night.

They were spared the decision of whether to fire Mussenden. In a letter dated Oct. 15, which Deputy City Atty. Dave Gondek said he received this morning, Mussenden said he was leaving his position without severance or other compensation.

"It was a tough decision but [the resignation] kind of made it easier on everyone to move on," said Councilwoman Pat Wallach.

Wallach said Mussenden called each council member to explain and apologize. Mussenden answered his phone this afternoon but said he wouldn't comment until he'd spoken to his attorney.

Gondek said any city property currently in Mussenden's possession, including the Toyota Avalon he allegedly drove the night of the arrest, would be collected soon.

Some city residents came to the meeting in support of Mussenden, including El Monte resident Kim Goddard, 56.

"These things happen with men," Goddard said to council members, later adding, "None of you are fit to sit on an ethic committee."

Bobadilla was one of two candidates for a 90-day position as interim city manager. The council also considered Assistant City Manager Dante Hall. Council members Ishigaki, Wallach and Art Barrios praised both candidates but pointed to Bobadilla's El Monte roots, youth and charisma.

"I've got a lot of enthusiasm, I'm homegrown . . . for me, it's personal," Bobadilla said while waiting for the council to come out of closed session.

Hall shook Bobadilla's hand after the appointment was made public.

Bobadilla said he had mixed feelings. "It's bittersweet," he said. "Not exactly the way you'd like to become interim city manager."

-- Amina Khan reporting from El Monte

Related: El Monte city manager caught in prostitution sting

Comments () | Archives (11)

Prostitution should be legal.

Engaging in prostitution and being city manager just do not go hand-in-hand. Wonder how long this guy has been engaging in such behavior without getting caught?? WHY was he given a Toyota Avalon to drive; that is about the most expensive car in the market. It is no wonder California is financially hurting!! NO city manager should be given such an expensive car, period. Did he pull some strings to get this vehicle? To top it all off, he USES the city's car to solicit and engage in his prostition games! What a slap in the face to the city of El Monte and its residents!! Throw him in jail for illicit use of city property as well as for prostitution!

Title should be 'sting' instead of 'ring.' Makes it sound like he was the Madam instead of the John.

Oh please. The only person this guy should apologize to is his wife.

How many people haven't been caught up in affairs and yet all they face is public ridicule, not termination. Good luck with the rookie city manager.

Affairs are different from sex for business/money. While I do not condone affairs in marriage, I do believe those who preach "family values" and "fear of God" and do otherwise are hypocrites of the first degree. Soliciting prostitution is getting out there actively looking for "women who sell themselves/their bodies for profit". A lot of these women are on drugs and or booze and lord knows what other "ailments" they might have. As far as I know, prostitution is illegal. Yes, I know, it is a "business" that has been around forever....that does not make it "right".

"The only person this guy should apologize to is his wife. "

Well maybe his wife needs to apologize to _him_ for her never-ending headache which drove him to this extreme action.

I can only say again that this country seems to be caught in a time warp; something along the lines of the Neolithic Age. I disagree with fellow commentator Mark below: Being a city manager and engaging prostitutes should go together, because being anybody and engaging prostitutes should go together. The reason prostitution endures as the oldest known or recorded profession is because it is valuable. It serves a need that is not going away. Men pay for sex no matter the context, and the beauty of prostitution is that the arrangement is so very up front. Again, we should join the modern age and get practical about this. This is a huge revenue stream waiting to be taxed, so let's get on with it. We've a budget gap to close, and legalizing prostitution should help the suits in Sacramento, in rather more ways than one, I would imagine.

I disagree with the previous comments.
As a Scandinavian, I appreciate the tone my government has chosen to set and would volunteer time and money to see the same done here in the United States. Arrest the Johns and offer job training, placement and rehab to the women who "choose" this oldest exploit. No woman wants to stare at the ceiling or floor so that your cravings are fulfilled. Peta/Humane Society gets treated more seriously and does more for animals than any organization that should protect woman who are more than half of the human population.
The City should have plenty of very qualified manager alternatives with the high unemployment.

American society can be so unforgiving but what I cannot understand if this guy was Mayor, Governor, Senator, Congressmen or a President (like Bubba) his ratings will climb and he will get re-elected.

Regardless of your feelings on prostitution, it is illegal. If your employer entrusts you with property (like a car) you have a duty to not do stupid things with it (like engaging in sex in it, paid for or not). If company policy says you can be dismissed, so be it.

It would not close a single budget gap! They have legalized prostitution and drugs in a lot of other countries and they have worse budget problems than the USA.


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