Town Square

Post a New Topic

Settlement near for theater's Pat Briggs

Original post made on Jul 11, 2008

A closely guarded settlement agreement is reportedly near completion that would allow Pat Briggs, the terminated director of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre, to return to work but face some disciplinary action.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 10, 2008, 10:48 PM

Comments (65)

Posted by Jim Curtis, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2008 at 3:59 am

As Richard Curtis" father I can hardly wait for the Nay Sayers to jump on the honey pot wagon that this bit of welcome news will create.

Richard and I have a grand plan. We have saved all of the 325+ articles re the PACT in newspapers from SF to San Jose along with the attending anonymous "comments". Add to that the minutes of the council meetings since Jan 24th and as much information that we can squeeze out of the Police Dept. (with or without depositions).

With all of that in hand we think we have the basis for a really interesting, long running, TV Comedy/Drama. We hope to put Palo Alto back on the map {and/or on the back of the map}. Fox with their unusually fair and balanced approach should be just the venue to get the job done.

There is no reason for Richard to waste any of his loyal and devoted service of the past 26 years along with all of the theatrical experience and contacts it has given him.

All we need at the moment is a bit of salacious sex (we are sure to find some at City Hall) and we will be off to the casting departments. Would Bella Logsi be right for the City Manager part?

In the meantime: Give 'em h..l Pat.

We love you and we hope this unfortunate and unbelievable saga will soon have a satisfactory--if not happy--ending for you and Allison. Richard and I--with the rest of our family--will be watching and praying for the best.


Posted by HOLY CRAP, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:16 am

I for one, a resident of the City of Palo Alto:

DO NOT AGREE WITH ANY SETTLEMENT.

It is decpetive to me that this is secretive. I am not in favor of this and this is being shoved down my throat.

Stop this settlement NOW.


Posted by SECULAR CRAP, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:22 am

As an anonymous poster (just like Holy Crap), I too find this lack of transparency to be disturbing.

Oh wait, that sort of makes me a hypocrite.

Doh!


Posted by Hello Hello Briggs, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:40 am

A lot of good can come out of this settlement.

Perhaps soon, the children of the community will once again have
Pat Briggs as one of their trusted custodians; someone who has helped instill numerous positive life lessons over the decades.

In addition, the new members of the braintrust at the Children's Theater will now hopefully have Pat Briggs there to guide them and to serve as an encyclopedic reference for them as they navigate their
way. To have excluded her would have been the equivalent of destroying
an instruction manual 47 years in the making.

As things stand, it certainly appears that Pat Briggs has been paying felony prices for a misdemeanor oversights.

I read that she may face some further disciplinary action, but it should be noted that she has already been kept from her cherished vocation for months on end now--and certainly that should certainly count as something along the lines of time served.

The other silver linings are that there should now be an impetus on the City to instill a cleaner accounting system being that this investigation has uncovered that it wasn't just long-time city employees like Pat Briggs that were having problems with it.

Also, it would appear that police investigations will now have a higher standard of unbiased scrutiny attached to them and that they will not jump to conclusions without the necessary evidence to back them.

In addition, the immediate re-installation of Pat Briggs may save the City thousands in legal payouts and money earmarked toward investigating the investigators--money that can now instead
go toward the infrastructure of the community.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 7:56 am

Why? She did not follow city policies. Once again, the city has "caved in" to a small vocal minority.
If she had done this in the private sector, not only would she had been fired, but she would be looking at jail time and restitution!
Nice example for the children.


Posted by Paul W, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2008 at 8:13 am

Tim -

You seem to forget that there was NO CRIME COMMITTED, so jail time would not happen no matter where this situation might have occurred, even in the private sector. The most anyone could do is fire the person or people responsible and possibly ask for restitution from same. It's the system that was broken, not the person. And nobody knows it better than Pat did. Anyone else would have run into the same problems under those accounting procedures.

I for one would be thrilled to have Pat back at the theater. At least she is allowed to show herself there now...I had the lovely privilege of seeing her in the audience at last night's outstanding performance of Chekov's Shorts.


Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 8:24 am

More money from the City to, undo the damage they have caused. How about stopping the damage before it happens?

The leaders of this city and the city council are heartless and have no moral values. They would not give a single penny to anyone f they could avoid it.
So if they are looking to settle, they have made too big of and too many mistakes to count. So as with cassey o'neil they will pay to NOT BE GUILTY. they are not inocent. They have too much money to be guilty of anything.

The money they waste and mismanage is the money that should have paid for the services that you do not have. The money they pay out in this settlement is the money YOU as citizens had to pay them. Or face th City makeing you the next target.

455 million and counting? Its a matter of pride!


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 9:23 am

Let us see what the settlement might entail before we comment on it.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The Daily news reports that the OUTSIDE investigator Douglas Freifeld concluded that Briggs wasn't able to account for thousands of dollars and had turned in duplicate copies of receipts for reimbursement more than 100 times.

(from the daily news): "Freifeld noted that after a June 2007 burglary at the theater, Briggs and her staff showed a selective ability to do proper accounting by submitting a highly detailed list of the stolen property. "

Briggs didn't declare monetary gifts from the Friends in the form of expense payments (tax law also requires that declaration because such gifts Briggs accepted were related to her work) and on reporting forms, Briggs informed "no reportable interests on any schedule".


Posted by Anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 9:36 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:14 am

This city is too clubby for my taste. As a taxpayer I am disgusted at the shenanigans here.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:17 am

Corruption knows no bounds in Palo Alto.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:25 am

Briggs may be innocent of embezzlement, but she misused public funds. This is definitely grounds for termination.

If she is reinstated, the message to city staff and the community (including the children) would be: A senior city employee, trusted with taxpayers' money, can get away with a serious breach of financial responsibility if enough people come forward to say she is beloved, creative, sloppy, faithful, good-hearted, etc.

If she is reinstated, the city council is essentially taking sides: Briggs vs. city management (Kelly Morariu, who, in her capacity as acting city manager, made the decision to fire Briggs). Briggs vs. the police department.

The issue at stake here is accountability! It's a good lesson for kids to learn.


Posted by Wake up Mr. Curtis, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Why did Pat have about a thousand dollars of travelors checks -IN HER HOME? She admits she needs to pay money back that isn't hers.

The actions on the part of Pat Briggs were criminal, they simply were no longer prosecutable due to the expiration of the statue of limitations for these types of crimes.

That was the conclusion of the District Attorney's office. The City is being foolhardy to even entertain the notion of re-employment for Ms. Briggs.

As for your son, he chose his own destiny by [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] defying workplace rules while under administrative leave. In other words, he deserves to be fired because of HIS attitude.

The pandering on the part of city leaders disgusts me. I am SO glad I moved from Palo Alto.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The only part of the agreement that makes any sense is requiring her to pay back what isn't hers.


Posted by Ann, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Instead of working out some "deal" with the city, this woman should be counting her lucky stars she is not in jail. Although she was fired, she is still able to draw her retirement. What example does this set for the children? If you squeak enough you can get anything you want. Since Jan 24 there have been a steady stream of "mis guided" PACT supporters speaking at the city council Monday night meetings. Wasting the council time and diverting the focus from more important issues.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]




Posted by Anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

"Since Jan 24 there have been a steady stream of "mis guided" PACT supporters speaking at the city council Monday night meetings"

Are you qualified or well enough informed to suggest that the aforementioned PACT supporters are "mis guided?" From where I sit they are appropriately ensuring that justice is not perverted, as it has been in this case. There is a little known work of art that is installed in the lobby of the Civic Center. It is inscribed with the words of Martin Luther King: "an injustice anywhere, is an injustice everywhere." There is nothing more important than for the Council to be made aware of the wrongs meted out to a long time City employee and to correct them.


Posted by End-City-Subsidies-Now, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm

> Are you qualified or well enough informed to suggest
> that the aforementioned PACT supporters are "mis guided?"

Yes! These people know nothing of what happened--and are only concerned about the $1+M subsidy for their children's hobbies.


Posted by far flung, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 1:33 pm

I think it is ridiculous the way the PACT supporters are consistently termed "close knit" to undermine the passion of people that have been touched by Pat Briggs leadership.
I think a better term would be far flung because the people that have been inspired by her are spread all over the globe and professional spectrum. The regulars at PA council meetings barely scratches the surface. She has earned this amazing support for all the good things she has done over 47 years of service to the ungrateful Palo Alto. We all don't know each other but we do know Pat Briggs and passionately support her.


Posted by Anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm

"Yes! These people know nothing of what happened--and are only concerned about the $1+M subsidy for their children's hobbies."

And you come by this omniscience how? Many of the PACT supporters, if not all, do know exactly what happened which is why they continue to press for a just outcome of the issues raised by this fiasco. While they certainly support continued municipal funding of the Children's Theatre (not a subsidy as the truly misguided believe)they can not be faulted for standing up to correct a horrible miscarriage of justice.


Posted by Bud, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm

This should be investigated too. Bring in more outside investigators. Money is no object. That's The Palo Alto Way.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Both the Post and the Daily have articles that quote information from the 686 pages detailing the city's administrative investigation.

Daily article at Web Link
"Palo Alto city officials fired Children's Theatre Director Pat Briggs on 14 separate grounds, including theft, acceptance of gifts and violation of multiple city policies, according to city records released Thursday evening."


Posted by Anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm

"Both the Post and the Daily have articles that quote information from the 686 pages detailing the city's administrative investigation. "

Therein lays the root of the injustice. Keep in mind that the administrative investigation was, largely, based on the deeply flawed so-called 'criminal' investigation.

It does not matter how many grounds the City cited for justifying the termination of the Children's Theatre director if there is no basis in fact for making such allegations. See S. Stewarts response to the rationale for termination in this weeks public letters to the City Council (marked July 14.)


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Is anybody suggesting that the outside investigator had any bias?


Posted by Ferdinand II, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Narnia,

> Is anybody suggesting that the outside investigator had any bias?

How could they not have a bias when the person paying them is the same person that shut down the Children's Theater and originated the administrative investigation to achieve what the criminal investigation couldn't.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm


> Is anybody suggesting that the outside investigator had any bias?

"How could they not have a bias when the person paying them is the same person that shut down the Children's Theater and originated the administrative investigation to achieve what the criminal investigation couldn't."

There wasn't a "person" paying the outside investigator as you well know or should know. I believe that the outside investigator makes a living by his reputation of being fair and thorough. In fact, he found differently than the city in one aspect "... Freifeld ..... did not sustain concerns over sales in which surplus costumes were sold to raise money for the Friends." You can't have it both ways, Ferdinand II (no matter how grandly you present yourself). Mr. Freifeld is very credible.

In any case who would you have brought in for an unbiased administrative review?

The bias here is the absurdity of steadfast denial that anything at all improper took place (besides the fact that the forum editor now allows coarse language and improper allegations "All we need at the moment is a bit of salacious sex (we are sure to find some at City Hall) and we will be off to the casting departments. Would Bella Logsi be right for the City Manager part?

In the meantime: Give 'em h..l Pat.")

At the very least the editor could have been a little more subtle so that that the idea that some people are given a lot of leeway wouldn't start to permeate....


Posted by Ferdinand II, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Narnia,

> There wasn't a "person" paying the outside investigator as you well know or should know.

They were payed by the City Manager's Office which is run by the City Manager. Sorry, I suppose I could have made that clearer.

Like your name, mine also has an outside meaning. Ferdinand II started the Spanish Inquisition.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 11, 2008 at 5:17 pm

While there have been posts in support of Ms. Briggs, I have also noticed some that indicated less than ideal relationships and experiences with PACT. That isn't the issue anyway - whether you like someone.


Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

NO CRIME COMMITTED?? More accurately the DA's office determined that they could not sustain a prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact there were several crimes (albeit of a lesser nature than a provable felony) noted in the various charges which are detailed in the City's document. Ms. Briggs answers were at best incomplete and at worst evasive.

Misdemeanor oversights? Requests for reimbursement done twice 126 times? That's stretching the word "oversight" beyond belief. I've not read a single supporter explain that one.

How can so many deny the evidence cited in the administrative investigation? If unable to refute the specific charges, supporters cast doubts on the integrity of the investigator. A typical tactic when arguing from a weak position.


Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm

NO CRIME COMMITTED?? More accurately the DA's office determined that they could not sustain a prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact there were several crimes (albeit of a lesser nature than a provable felony) noted in the various charges which are detailed in the City's document. Ms. Briggs answers were at best incomplete and at worst evasive.

Misdemeanor oversights? Requests for reimbursement done twice 126 times? That's stretching the word "oversight" beyond belief. I've not read a single supporter explain that one.

How can so many deny the evidence cited in the administrative investigation? If unable to refute the specific charges, supporters cast doubts on the integrity of the investigator. A typical tactic when arguing from a weak position.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm

"Like your name, mine also has an outside meaning. Ferdinand II started the Spanish Inquisition"

Oh, you meant Fernando II of Aragón . I thought you were talking about Ferdinand II of the House of habsburg the famous/infamous Austrian one among many famous and infamous Ferdinand II's. You are talking about the Spanish Inquisition, not The Inquisition. It's commonly accepted that the Inquisition started during Pope Paul II with the establishment of the Congregation of the Holly office. Never mind. You want to be a spanish grandee. Why not?
It's all play.
As for Narnia as you know Narnia is a place where magic abounds and good fights evil...

good bye to all. I'll be gone. Wish you all a great summer.



Posted by Ferdinand II, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Carl,

> If unable to refute the specific charges, supporters cast doubts on the integrity of the investigator. A typical tactic when arguing from a weak position.

I'm not questioning the integrity of the investigator. In fact I'm sure they did everything possible to satisfy the requirements of their client.

As did the PAPD.

But the PAPD came up short, and since this thread is about a settlement negotiation with Briggs that would allow her back, it seems the investigator came up short too.


You say: "unable to refute the specific charges".

I say: "unable to prove the specific charges".

And I believe therein is the difference between the PACT supporters and the PACT detractors.

Certainly the DA agrees with my take, and if this negotiated settlement is true, it would seem that the City Attorney also agrees.

"unable to refute the specific charges" - Guilty until proven innocent. Is that really the society you want to live in?




Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Wow! looks like I'm not the only taxpayer who feels that it was right to fire Ms. Briggs. To bad the city doesn't have any B*lls and keeps letting this small vocal group "push them" around.


Posted by naive, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

It's small town politics. They always look after their own.


Posted by JR, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Thank God I don't live in Palo Alto! The woman did this job for some 40 years. It was more than a job to her. So she got lax about book keeping. I'm sure through the years she put her own money in from time to time. It was her life! She didn't do this job to get rich. Please!!!


Posted by Stretch, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Maybe it's too hard to find qualified people to work in PA. Look at the Utilities brouhaha of a few years ago, with people supposedly lying on timecards, etc. - shouldn't they have all been fired? Just bring in some counselors, conduct an investigation....people will forget, until the next outrage happens.


Posted by Jackson, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I have no inside knowledge but picture if you will----

that you are in charge of a large children's theatre.

Picture that your top priority has to do with the kids;
you know..their safety, that they receive great instruction in civics and art and that you help them become solid members of society all while having some fun along the way.

Practically all parents know this instinct.

But underneath that top priority are all sorts of lesser ones, although they are important as well.

Things like making sure you change the oil in your car, making sure that the facility is looked after, making sure all your employees are taken care of, making sure that the shows are as engaging as possible for the audience, making sure all the adult contingents in the community feel respected and listened to-even if they often have conflicting agendas.

Now, picture that you, somehow, are very good at this job.

The programs you offer your community attract more and more kids.

Soon, choices must be made, some of which are very hard.

Do you start to go prolific and give a lot of kids a little, or do you cut off members of the young community to give a few kids a lot?

Perhaps another option is to try and expand your operation simply because the demand and the commitment is there.

An internal decision is essentially made to do as much as you can for as many people as possible, and to hope that once in a while, quality will find its way to accompany the prolificity.

Slowly, this job becomes your life.

The resdience becomes little more than a dormitory.

After all, how do you say no to helping when people tell you you're talented at it, when you love it and when you can pay your rent with it?

The paycheck comes in, which is enough to allow you to concentrate fully on the job with no financial distraction, but much of it sits unspent because of the spartan lifestyle of service required.

Part of the job involves managing the city's money. It starts simple. You get a budget and you stick to it. But later it gets complex. Then it gets impossible.

Seemingly, people get paid to make it more complicated. But that makes sense because if it were free of constant problems, the person running it would work fewer hours and get paid less.

After all, if the city's rat-catcher ever gets them all rounded up, will he not be rewarded with unemployment?

The kids are a joy overall and the rest of the job is good, but the accounting gets to be the sillyest part of the entire job.

One hand that instructs you knows not that its second hand is instructing you in the exact opposite way.

Every year brings new software, new codes, new instructions and soon enough, the need to give so much attention to the accounting begins to eat away at the time that is normally accorded for the children.

You pay someone else to do your income taxes, but this is ten times more elaborate, but it is you expected to do it.

So, you begin to do the accounting in a more hasty manner.

Things get signed before the fine print is read. Some accounting gets shoved and not even looked at for days on end, until a lull can be found in which countless forms can be rushed through in as little time as possible.

Is this proper accounting? No, of course not.

But you can live with it for three reasons...you know that you're not stealing any of it, you know you're staying under budget and you know that it's all going for the kids.

The line blurs. The job has become your life. Some money gets commingled. Some of it is because you have more details to handle than you can remember and some of it is because it just seems more efficient that way from time to time.

Decades roll by.

You begin to realize that someday, you'll be leaving your estate to the theatre. More personal money makes its way into helping the theatre because its quicker than filling out forms and some of it works its way back in.

The thought crosses your mind that you may have not received as much money to spend on the kids as was budgeted because procedures weren't followed but you tell yourself that it will be a wash.

The other thought crosses your mind that maybe too much money was received through some other flaw in the system that you were too busy
to monitor but you feel that is a wash because it will all go to infrastructure
and create a situation where less money will be required from both the City and from donations down the road.

Overall, the theatre is purring, and the money flow seems to be fine, but as your age increases, you become even more devoted to the programs for the children instead of playing political games and devoting any time to ciphering the accounting feeling that any discrepancies will be nominal at best.

You wonder if you did the right thing. You wonder if you did the wrong thing.

Deep down, you just want the to help create the best possible world for others and make expedient decisions to further that, even if they lack procedural integrity.

You wonder if those that criticize you can walk in your shoes.

You wonder if you will be judged as someone who didn't let accounting cut into your devotion to your fellow human beings or if you will be seen as someone who should have drawn the line at serving the community to instead spend an extraordinary amount of time in order to balance books that will have no net result on the quality of the community.

The thought nags at you after over four decades of working.

Should you spend more of your finite time training and re-training the seemingly endless people at City Hall who make the same
rookie mistakes over the decades, or do you just comply minimally
so you can spend as much time on everything else?

Decisions. Decisions.

How much of it should be about the kids and how much of it should be about trying to financially balancing that which can never be balanced?





Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 7:46 am

Why doesn't Pat Briggs retire start drawing her $84,693 pension and return to the Children's Theater as a volunteer? According to payroll records she would also receive a lump sum of $30,126 to sweeten the pot!!

This is a no brainer because right now she is probably sitting at home, separated from the PACT which she obviously loves, and not getting paid.




Posted by anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:19 am

"Why doesn't Pat Briggs retire start drawing her $84,693 pension and return to the Children's Theater as a volunteer? According to payroll records she would also receive a lump sum of $30,126 to sweeten the pot!!" Posted by Just Wondering

You are right about this being a 'no brainer', JW. Ms. Briggs chooses not to retire because, to her, it would be like an admission of guilt. She is not guilty. Instead, she has been victimized by a conspiracy to remove her from office. I, for one, applaud her courage and admire her tenacity. I hope she, and those who support her succeed in overturning the unjustified and undeserved actions perpetrated upon her.


Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:33 am

anti Narnia: Obviously Pat Briggs doesn't need the money. Then she can just sit at home and twiddle her thumbs for the rest of her life. The City have given her an open ended time line to consider her next step. So long as they're not paying her she can remain in limbo forever. The next move is up to Pat Briggs.


Posted by anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:42 am

JW, the next move is to clear her name as much as possible under the circumstances. As Fireman tries to say, albeit inarticulately, it is not a matter of money; its a matter of pride


Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 9:01 am

Ah!! pride; What is that saying: "Pride comes before a fall".


Posted by Owen, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 1:39 pm

better to precede a fall than to serve at the root of all evil.


Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Ferdinand. Unable to prove the specific charges does not mean the charges were not real. Just that they could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words a jury might not convict if some members refused to do so for whatever reason.

And you made no comment or explanation for the 126 double "oversight" billings.


Posted by charles, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Jackson. If it takes such a long time to explain why a person is incompetent to run a business, there must be a problem in making a simple straight forward explanation. Some of your supporting statements are simplistic at best and convoluted at worst. Shades of fireman.


Posted by Sonny, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Take 'em to court Pat They deserve to be exposed for who they are.


Posted by Bye, Bye Briggs, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Why is the city giving in and making a "settlement" with Briggs. Have Morton and Klein worked behind the scenes to get this settlement for their beloved Pat?? Has the pressure form the zealots at the Friends of PACT been so strong that the council and city is caving in to their demands?
Pat deserves to be fires for her actions. It is a disgrace that the city is even considering going back on their decision to fire her.
And what about Curtis? Is the city going to back off and let him get away with his acts of insubordination and financial wrongdoing?
Time to clean house at PACT--get rid of Briggs Curtis. Also time to pull public funding from the PACT. That way if they reinstate Pat and they catch her again , it will be a private matter.


Posted by anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm

It remains to be seen if there is a settlement. Should there be a settlement it won't be because of "pressure form (sic) the zealots at the Friends of PACT." It is because cooler heads are prevailing and realizing the horrible injustice that has been levied againat Pat Briggs. We should all rejoice if the City reconsiders its position if we truly embrace the principals of truth and justice.


Posted by Ferdinand II, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Carl,

> Unable to prove the specific charges does not mean the charges were not real. Just that they could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words a jury might not convict if some members refused to do so for whatever reason.

Agree 100%. That's exactly the point I was trying to get across.

> And you made no comment or explanation for the 126 double "oversight" billings.

What more do I need to say other than the DA wouldn't prosecute on this either.

After an 11 month investigation, where the PAPD threw all possible resources at it, they came up with nothing prosecutable.

Now is Pat Briggs a criminal mastermind who has been embezzling the City for over 4 decades and getting away with it? - No I don't believe that.

Is the PAPD so incompetent they would spend a zillion and almost a year on this investigation knowing they don't have a prosecutable case? No, I don't believe that either.

What I do believe are that other factors are involved, and I'm hoping the CC's investigation of the "investigation" will expose those to the light of day.

As for the "Internal Investigation", it's not just a case where the Judge, Jury and Executioner are one in the same. The Judge, Jury, Executioner and Prosecutor are all one in same. Even with all that, if the article is true, The City is seeking a negotiated settlement that will have Pat come back. That just furthers my opinion that there is something else behind this whole fiasco.


Posted by Katie Christman, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Whew! Am I the only person to note that Pat Briggs, aside from being a truly wonderful person and mentor, would cost the city MORE money ritired than working? And if MONEY were her goal, she could have retired already and have the more money? And still, as someone pointed out, volunteer at the theater? Pat has become, over time, the heartbeat of the theater, and yes, she has knowledge ad infinitum to hand down to the next generation. Mr. Benest is carefully spending time to show his successor 'the ropes' after what, six years? The idea that Pat could have been removed with no chance to do the same is much of what had all those parents up-in-arms! Are you kidding?

Furthermore, as far as any of US know, those receipts, though signed off by Pat Briggs, may have been submitted by any of dozens and more of volunteers who are long gone. They may not even be wrong in the amounts. What would you do if you bought a hundred hot dogs, buns, chips, etc. every week for six weeks, then lost a batch or three of receipts? You'd probably XEROX the first set, from the same place for the same amount of stuff, but the dates would be wrong. Would you FORGE the dates (easy as hell to do on a xerox, as any self-respecting forger knows)? Or would you just stick them in there, thinking it didn't matter, the total amount was right, anyway.

Pat Briggs takes the fall, it was on her patch, under her jurisdiction. Like Reagan for the Iran-Contra (wait, oh, well) or like Bush for (wait wrong again...) Well, like Carl in Jumanji, there's an obscure reference. The boss is responsible, whether he DID it or not. But embezzlement? Please. I don't think any embezzler would get far at the Children's Theatre. He or she wouldn't have that crazed look from being totally dedicated, wouldn't run around making everything work, and would look totally out of place. I wouldn't try it! Disorganized, yes, but part of Brigg's brilliance is to unite a team to work together to get things done...I think we could use more of her type in our City; when you have a Director instead of a committee, one capable of inspiring people to give their best, amazing things happen.

The suppertime theater plays are mostly all sold out, but Wingspread is still the best deal in town...
Seasoned young adult performers, fabulous plays, evening shows, bring your teenagers, bring your kids (check for kid-friendly shows, one year they did Macbeth), heck bring your grandmother, tickets are still eight dollars.

I'll be there with bells on.

See you at the Theater,
Katie


Posted by Theatrelover, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:42 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:50 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jim, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:14 am

If Rich Curtis disobeyed an order from an investigation that was corrupt in order to clear his name (and to eliminate obfuscation that was trickling down from said investigation), would he then not be guilty of "obstruction of injustice"?

Something tells me that bringing him back will save Palo Alto thousands and thousands of settlement money, especially because his his name was unceremoniously dragged through the mud all along the way without any criminal charges being filed against him.

Who knows? Maybe at this point, Curtis would prefer the payout.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:21 am

I agree. Pat deserves a standing ovation.

For those of you that feel she should be punished on some level for the the accounting snafus, I would like to point out that she HAS been enduring a longstanding punishment that is now going on seven months.

In essense, she has been racking up "time served" credits in my book.

In 2006 or 2007, I doubt she could have forseen just how difficult 2008 was going to shape up for her on so many levels and in so many ways.

If you believe in karma, she got hers, WAY TOO MUCH in fact, and now she deserves a lot of great karma in return.

I would venture a guess that some of her best work is ahead of her.





Posted by Jim Curtis, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Jim

Thanks for the input. "obstruction of injustice" . We like it. Wish we had thought of it first.
You must post more often. Best Wishes


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Just perusing the paper...just read the Friday edition of the Daily Post: "The city memo alleges that Briggs deposited the city's money - in the form of travelers' checks - into her own account. It says that in August 2001, Briggs put thousands of dollars in city-funded checks into her personal account and then bought personal travelers' checks on the same day, just before leaving on a trip to Australia and Fiji."
No more taxpaper funding for PACT.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I can't help wondering: If Briggs were a man who had spent his career in the IT department or the public works department – i.e., no focus on the children – and the same charges were brought against him, would he be nominated for sainthood? Or would people say, "He misappropriated public funds and he deserved to be fired."?


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:03 pm

As is often the case, so many above that still feel that Pat is in the wrong, really haven't taken the time to study the case and information provided.

People who worked with Pat and handled receipts, etc. pointed out at City Council meetings, that she was forced to resubmit receipts on numerous occasions because the accounting departments of the City had a tendency to lose things.

If there were problems with the Theatre accounting, it was the City's responsibility to monitor all along and they are simply trying to make Pat the scapegoat. Those who know her and the theatre are doing what good citizens of our community should do; standing up and being heard and forcing the city government to be accountable.

If we as a population had not done so, Pat, Allison and Rich would have been the scapegoats for the over-the-top drama that was set in motion when that pathetic excuse for a city manager trying to take them down with him.

I am grateful that our population has come together as a community to support this wonderful team so that the City is finally doing something (way too late) to make amends.

Until I read this article I'd come to recognize the feeling that while I still love Palo Alto I was ashamed of its government.

This news gives me a small measure of hope for our future.


Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 14, 2008 at 12:39 am

Elizabeth. "People who worked with Pat and handled receipts, etc. pointed out at City Council meetings, that she was forced to resubmit receipts on numerous occasions because the accounting departments of the City had a tendency to lose things.

"If there were problems with the Theatre accounting, it was the City's responsibility to monitor all along and they are simply trying to make Pat the scapegoat."

Accusing the city's accounting dept. of losing more than 100 receipts thus requiring their resubmission is a giant stretch of imagination. If the accounting dept. is that incompetent, they must be doing it to every organization submitting receipts. The number of possible lost receipts boggles the mind.

Katie's statement: "Furthermore, as far as any of US know, those receipts, though signed off by Pat Briggs, may have been submitted by any of dozens and more of volunteers who are long gone." This is the type of argument/explanation that can't be refuted - especially by using the word "may".

Ferdinand II. Whether or not the DA prosecuted for double submission of receipts is not the issue. The point is that the double receipts do exist and the lack of prosecution does not make that go away.



Posted by anti-Narnia, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 5:57 am

Carl says: "the double receipts do exist and the lack of prosecution does not make that go away."

There is an alternate explanation why the double receipts exist, an alternative that is neither criminal nor justifies a disciplinary action resulting in termination.

The fact is, Carl, despite your inability to 'stretch your imagination,' receipts were lost along the way requiring them to be resubmitted. They could have been lost in the inner office mail, or on any of several purchasing or accounting division desks. However it happened they were lost and it was not just a PACT phenomonon. Lost paperwork was frequently experienced by other departments and divisions as well.


Posted by Two sets of receipts?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2008 at 8:01 am

I think space aliens double billed the City. "reductio ad absurdum."


Posted by Benny Shapero, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I myself am a former Palo Alto area resident who now conducts accounting audits in Nevada and I can tell you that existence of double receipts does not constitute what any professional would consider a smoking gun, especially if more than one person was authorized to submit.

As anti-narnia states, there are other possibilities and they all lie outside of a criminal sphere.

In addition, I would like to note that a person gives a different answer twice to the same question weeks apart, it is not
necessarily a lie.

I routinely find different answers to the same questions and I am given that information from people who have no motive to lie, which means that even when an honest person is placed in a persecutorial situation, that two or three different answers is not evidence of intent to deceive.

I'm not professing this woman's innocence as I haven't seen proof of that either, but I am clearly detecting that there ARE people willing to jump to a conclusion on her without a true smoking gun to back their conclusions.

Haste makes waste.

Innocent until proven guilty.


Posted by Diane, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I worked with for PACT for 2.5 years in the front office. I have never in my 30 + working carrer have known more intergity and hard work. I thought I knew what hard work was until I worked at the Children's Theatre. I worked most days 10-12 hours a day and on rare occassions worked 6 days, but Pat, Michael, Alison and Richard worked most weeks 6-7 days a week from 9:00 am until 2 in the morning, with some days, only time for a quick bite to eat. We did not get the perks of other City employees, as "every other Friday off", but it didn't matter because what we did was so valuable. So for those of you who want to Trash talk these loyal, hard working people go ahead, you will anyway. Those of us who know them aren't moved.


Posted by Artie Kaye, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

You go, Diane! Pat Briggs worked her tail off all these years, yet she is maligned, ad absurdum. The long days, weeks months, years, of leading children through their formative years! These kids will never forget their training, by a true, dedicated professional! And, lo, what has been her reward for her life's work? Unfounded suspicion, and being nailed to a cross by the hatred and arrogant "suspicions" of people who aren't privy to the TRUTH! Do you people even WANT the truth? If so, LEARN it! And NOT from an incompetent Police Department, which rushed to judgement, and ignored the facts, ALL the facts!
I, for one, am sickened by those who won't wait for ALL the facts, ALL the TRUTH!
And I pray that our Creator will give them the brains, the ability to learn what a truly wonderful person Pat Briggs is!


Posted by Artie Kaye, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

You go, Diane! Pat Briggs worked her tail off all these years, yet she is maligned, ad absurdum. The long days, weeks months, years, of leading children through their formative years! These kids will never forget their training, by a true, dedicated professional! And, lo, what has been her reward for her life's work? Unfounded suspicion, and being nailed to a cross by the hatred and arrogant "suspicions" of people who aren't privy to the TRUTH! Do you people even WANT the truth? If so, LEARN it! And NOT from an incompetent Police Department, which rushed to judgement, and ignored the facts, ALL the facts!
I, for one, am sickened by those who won't wait for ALL the facts, ALL the TRUTH!
And I pray that our Creator will give them the brains, the ability to learn what a truly wonderful person Pat Briggs is!


Posted by Artie Kaye, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

You go, Diane! Pat Briggs worked her tail off all these years, yet she is maligned, ad absurdum. The long days, weeks months, years, of leading children through their formative years! These kids will never forget their training, by a true, dedicated professional! And, lo, what has been her reward for her life's work? Unfounded suspicion, and being nailed to a cross by the hatred and arrogant "suspicions" of people who aren't privy to the TRUTH! Do you people even WANT the truth? If so, LEARN it! And NOT from an incompetent Police Department, which rushed to judgement, and ignored the facts, ALL the facts!
I, for one, am sickened by those who won't wait for ALL the facts, ALL the TRUTH!
And I pray that our Creator will give them the brains, the ability to learn what a truly wonderful person Pat Briggs is!


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 15 comments | 2,968 views

Allowing Unauthorized Immigrants to Learn and Earn Legally Will Help the Economy
By Steve Levy | 38 comments | 2,649 views

College applications: round three
By Sally Torbey | 26 comments | 1,950 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 18 comments | 1,928 views

PAUSD Leadership Challenges
By Paul Losch | 19 comments | 1,458 views