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O.C. executive could be fired in response to Bustamante allegations

July 5, 2012 |  5:50 pm

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach has requested a closed session

Orange County’s chief executive officer could be terminated in response to allegations that a former county administrator sexually harassed at least seven women over the span of eight years on and around government property.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach requested a special closed session meeting Friday to discuss the termination of Tom Mauk and the appointment of an interim county executive officer, according to a memo sent Thursday to the clerk of the board.

The memo outlines the meeting's agenda items as including a potential employee dismissal and the appointment of an interim county executive officer.

The move comes after Carlos Bustamante, a former administrator in the public works department, was charged this week with 12 felonies, including stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint and six counts of false imprisonment.

Moorlach would not give a reason for the closed session, but said "there could be a correlation" between the recent allegations and the special meeting.

"We just need some time for the five of us to discuss personnel matters," he said of himself and fellow supervisors. He also noted that Mauk, 68, is near retirement age.

Prosecutors allege that Bustamante used his power in the public works department to intimidate women. He allegedly lured employees into his office under the pretense of discussing work-related matters, then is accused of sexually assaulting them by kissing, hugging and pressing his body into theirs.

He allegedly also told the women that his walls were soundproof, so no one would hear them if they screamed, prosecutors say.

Bustamante appeared in court Thursday but did not enter a plea.

Prosecutors have said investigators are continuing to focus on whether anyone within the county knew about the allegations.

“We will be talking to everyone who will be able to shed light on these questions,” Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said.


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Photo: Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach in a 2007 file photo. Credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times