A damning, City-commissioned independent investigation into the conduct of the Cupertino City Council has led the body to strip two of its own members of their committee assignments and refer a former Mayor to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
The City-commissioned investigation (page 68 of this packet) confirmed many of the troubling findings from a December 2022 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury report about the conduct of the previous City Council. That report, titled “A House Divided,” found that members of the Council inappropriately directed personnel hiring and firing decisions, and created a toxic work environment that led to a “culture of distrust,” “dysfunction,” and a mass exodus of staff from key positions. The Mercury News has reported that 60 percent of the municipality’s senior management has left since 2022.
Following the publication of the independent investigation’s findings earlier this month, the current Council voted 3-0 last week to remove fellow Councilmembers Liang Chao and Kitty Moore from their committee assignments.
Councilmember Moore recused herself from last week’s vote, citing ethics-related concerns that a potential criminal investigation into her actions may impact her personal finances. Councilmember Chao also recused herself from the vote. However, City Attorney Chris Jensen advised that Moore and Chao’s recusals were not legally required.
Moore and Chao’s woes with their colleagues on the Council do not end with last week’s vote. The two may ultimately face a censure vote led by their colleagues.
Similarly, the City-commissioned report indicated that some of former Mayor Paul’s conduct may have violated the law. Part of last week’s Council vote also included a request to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to investigate potential criminal conduct by Paul.