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After employee's death, Palo Alto fights charges of safety violations

Original post made on Feb 4, 2022

Donatus Okhomina Jr. was Palo Alto's first utility employee to die in the line of duty in more than three decades. The city's appeal of Cal/OSHA's citations continues to drags on after the 2019 accident.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 4, 2022, 6:51 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 4, 2022 at 12:01 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks for this detailed report and keep demanding responses from the city!

Enough with the shameful but predictable stonewalling from the City Manager and the City Attorney. More money for safety "consultants" who'll swear to the findings the client wants won't create good management practices or accountability from PAU.

Shameful the city paid the widow an additional sum to drop further lawsuits while the investigation continues. Even worse is the attorneys' accusation of the deceased of "willful" safety violations! Are they accusing him of willfully committing suicide to avoid their responsibility? Talk about blaming the victim!

The city's lack of transparency on this, on police accountability, the status of the refunds for the millions PAU still owes us etc etc. remains of grave concern. Some REAL oversight would be special.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Finally an in depth, investigative reported piece! This was an avoidable tragedy! Condolences to the family of Okhomina. The PA city again obfuscates responsibility. Behaving as if their new employee was a contract 1099 self employed worker.

GS please investigate & report the real story behind the lack of good, feasible, affordable housing market in town! This tragic story in the above shows me you know how.

Posted by Michele Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 6, 2022 at 8:01 am

Michele Dauber is a registered user.

From reading the story, the city was found to have violated numerous state worker safety rules, contributing to the death of this man. Ed Shikada would have residents and workers believe that everyone is lying or wrong or to blame except him, and that all the changes being supposedly made to safety protocols have nothing to do with this worker being killed, they are just making these changes for no reason. Meanwhile piles of taxpayer dollars are likely being expended on lawyers to fight OSHA and blame the victim. All while our utterly feckless City Council diddles Ed and itself, proclaiming Palo Alto to be the best place to live.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2022 at 8:24 am

resident3 is a registered user.

very sad loss

@online name
"Shameful the city paid the widow an additional sum to drop further lawsuits while the investigation continues."

It's baffling. and thanks Weekly for this in depth investigation.

It isn't clear though who decided to settle with the family while the investigation continues. Who decides in a situation like this to make it apparently only a legal strategy and who makes the call to conclude on a strategy to blame the victim?

Is it Council who made the decision to settle? Would that have been in a closed session?

Posted by Aletheia
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 7, 2022 at 6:07 pm

Aletheia is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2022 at 6:04 am

felix is a registered user.

This is a shameful response by our City.
Thank you Gennady - this is brilliant reporting.

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