Blanca Martinez-Navarro Case: What Happens When L.A. City Officials Come Under Suspicion? They Get a Paid Vacation
Blanca Martinez-Navarro is one of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's gang-reduction staffers. She's also in trouble: Cops said she attacked an officer last weekend at the Conga Room downtown. And so the mayor's office placed her on administrative leave.
What, exactly, does that entail? According to LA Opinion, it really amounts to a paid vacation.
In Martinez-Navarro's case, the paper calculates her salary is between $80,000 and $133,000 a year.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, essentially L.A.'s budget chief, took in $21,000 while on paid leave last year, according to La Opinion. He was accused by the D.A.'s office of drunk driving following a soiree ... for D.A. Steve Cooley.
In a 2008 case, a staffer of Councilman Jose Huizar, Henry Casas, took in about $50,000 during his sixth month leave. He was involved in a domestic violence investigation.
Huizar said it's a touchy situation: Employees can be accused but be innocent, so the city has to be careful about how they treat them.
But Glassell Park activist Tony Butka says it's a good way of keeping problem officials out of the spotlight:
"Some politicians try to take the person away from the newspapers ...," he said.