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Former Comptroller Considers Legal Action Against City

Tom Clarson tells the City Council his wife, Sandra, was unlawfully fired.


Sandra Clarson, who was as Long Beach's comptroller for the past 10 years and warned the prior administration about the cash-flow shortfall that befell the city last year, is considering legal action against the city after she was terminated in January.

Clarson’s husband, Tom, told the City Council at Tuesday’s meeting that his wife was unlawfully fired and denied termination pay that she is owed, but City Manager Jack Schnriman called these and other charges “factually inaccurate,” according to the Long Beach Herald.  

Reading from a prepared statement, Tom Clarson said that his wife learned that she would be let go through the media:     

“While transitioning to the new administration, my wife was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury against one of the council members. The next day she read in the newspaper that she was being fired.”

Last November, city officials scrambled to come up with cash after Sandra Clarson notified then City Manager Charles Theofan in a memo that the city will face a $1.3 million deficit in December, threatening the year-end payroll, and she suggested emergency measures. “Absent of direction on this matter, City of Long Beach employees will not be paid on December 23, 2011,” Clarson wrote.

Her memo also noted that the city faced unbudgeted payouts to a number of retirees, including high-ranking police officers: “At this time, the city’s budget does not have enough for the termination payouts that it is now responsible for.”

In response, the prior administration called an emergency meeting of the City Council, which approved measures to issue a $1.75 million tax-anticipation note to cover payroll and a budget note to authorize the city to borrow $2.5 million to meet its contractual obligations to retirees.

In January, Schnirman and the new Democratic-controlled council tapped Nassau County Budget Director Jeffrey Nogid to be Long Beach’s new comptroller.

Lloyd February 10, 2012 at 09:01 PM
You are so right, laocoon. Clarson was probably a political appointee, like all the rest, and then can expect to be disposed of when her friends get voted out. She played ball with the previous team, and now her services are no longer needed. Someone else's friend or family member can do the same job for the new regime and keep his mouth shut at the same time. Will she be getting a half million dollar golden parachute too?
LBLover February 10, 2012 at 09:16 PM
What is the community development office and what do they do?
paul.d.spellman February 10, 2012 at 09:25 PM
They develop the community, hellllooooooo.
MikeC. February 10, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Sort of like when you guys hired Theofan, eh Jimbo/Mags? To the victor goes the spoils is only bad when the Dems do it is what you appear to be saying. BTW, for an educator you are a lousy proofreader. Look it over before hitting submit.
John Corey February 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM
As a comptroller you are in charge of the money. Remember the governor trying to tap into the state pension fund and Carl Mcall, the comptroller at the time, told him to get lost. Comptroller has a lot of power and responsibility and Sandra was terrible. She is very responsible for the down grade as are Hennessy and Sofield. In the private sector she would have been fired years ago. So get lost and take Hennessy and Sofield with you.
John Corey February 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Jimmy.. There is a freeze. They are just replacing all the dead weight that you and sofield hired. Also, Why don't you mention yourself being hired on the housing board. You should really resign before you screw that up to.
LBLover February 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Paul I don't see any community development going on do you? That's why I asked what they do? I think we need a person who can develop the downtown, boardwalk, rec, and bay area to attract business, buyers, and tourist. Whoever was in that position for the past 10y haven't developed anything.. in my opinion
Jimmy Hennessy February 11, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Its typical, testify against Fagen he day, get fired the next. Get ready for a lot more of this type of political intimidation. Get Lost? Not going to happen....
Lloyd February 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Can Clarson legally file for Unemployment now or was her job not really considered work? Lets call Mike Fagen for the answer.
John Corey February 11, 2012 at 01:03 AM
James you know what is typical... Sofield in a last ditch effort to further screw the City of Long Beach appoints you as Housing Commissioner just when the door to City Hall is about to hit him keester.
Disgusted Homeowner February 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Councilman Fagen Indicted for Stealing $14K in Unemployment Benefits
Disgusted Homeowner February 11, 2012 at 02:16 AM
God bless the man who's got his own!
Disgusted Homeowner February 11, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Paul I don't see any community development going on do you? That's why I asked what they do? I think we need a person who can develop the downtown, boardwalk, rec, and bay area to attract business, buyers, and tourist. Whoever was in that position for the past 10y haven't developed anything.. in my opinion............ If you read the Audit they pilfer grant money Ask Mike to have shruberry sent to your house!
Billy Boy February 11, 2012 at 03:24 AM
You know what stealing is...having 15 minute civil service meetings and screwing the tax payers by taking more than your entitled to and then when you get caught- just say Oh, it's a clerical error. What Jimmy is having a hard time understanding that the old administration used up 7 million dollars of surplus and left the city with contracts to settle. You see Jimmy (I can't believe I have to explain this to you) if you are spending more than you take in- it's not good! It's a bad thing. If you had 10 dollars in your pocket and you go into a store and spend 11 dollars and the guy behind you gives you 2 dollars to help you out, you can't really say wow I'm a great saver I still have a dollar.
Jen February 11, 2012 at 04:26 AM
That $7 million surplus wasn't just "used up". It was used to help all of us homeowners out and not have our taxes raised- and thats exactly what it should be used for. Looking at present day LB and politics- we have a council who promised not to hire and of their friends, put a hiring freeze on the city and still hires 10 of their friends. That is crazy. Then to add to the mix, you have a sitting councilmember actually indicted on 38 counts of grand larceny and stealing from the tax payers? What s this new council doing?????
Tisizele February 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Like 1.3 Million deficit? Who allowed this to transpire? This is Long Beach! Who got paid for not doing there job? It's said when "experienced", "qualified" people pretend to have qualifications and permitted to continue not doing their job correctly for years. These people need to be taken to court for ripping off the city. This message isn't for the people that did their job. Just the ones who intentional robbed the city, just because they could. So sad.
CP February 11, 2012 at 02:30 PM
John Corey, what you got wrong is they are not firing dead wood. They are firing people who do their jobs and do them really well. What they are doing is hiring friends and family and firing people to give the old admin the big FU. And lets not forget the big FU to the tax payers because all the friends and family members are making a lot more money then the people they replaced. These are the same people that are screaming fiscal emergency, so why are people making $40,000 more then the person they replaced?
Bill Callahan February 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Right on Jen : All i know is that 3 years ago my taxes were 12,000 a year and now they are 11,500. If any of you are really truthful and pay attention i am sure you would see the same thing. Just because someone tells you something doesnt mean it is true. surplus, deficite its all smoke and mirrors. My taxes have not gone up in a while which i am happy for because my salary also hasnt gone up. with all this friends and family hiring, lets see where my taxes are in 2 years. That is where my NEXT VOTE AND MY CAMPAIGING WILL BE. its all about the Benjamins. you wana put a sign on my lawn, show me the money. lol. Who the hell would take a job at city hall knowing that at any time you could be thrown into the street that sux. i feel bad for all the people who do not have jobs now because they played for the wrong or right team. There are people who really care about this city not just trying to advance themselves we have to look for those people to lead our city. I love living here and would live no where else. i just dont want to see the city go down the drain. i am happy Mike got the open commish job. i am unhappy joe lost the recreation job he was doing a great job the rec has been run excellent over the past few years. and as someone who has 5 kids i would know. i hope our chidrens recreation does not decline. WAKE UP WE NEED A NEW POOL ALL IN FAVOR SAY I. WE NEED A NEW RECREATION CENTER NOT JUST A BANDAID ON THAT OLD SHITHOUSE WE HAVE NOW
LB TAXPAYA February 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I suspect/know that Ms. Corey was not the cornrstone of the City of Long Beach. The City will live without her services. However, the new admnistration is full of B.S. Hiring another crony doesn't help the city. Is this position even necessary? Are 2/3 of the city's positions necessary? No! What F**kin politicians are really for the citizens? Not these ones!
LB TAXPAYA February 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Sorry, I meant Ms. Clarson!
LBLover February 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
That would have been a nice way of spending the 7.4M they wasted
LBLover February 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Your property value went down that is why your taxes have gone down.
John Corey February 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
CP you are wrong.... They hired a deli owner to run the rec dept. Over the last eight years that dept has been destroyed. The kids football, soccer, lax, programs are awful. The pool is a disgrace. He was ok at making an egg on a roll but a bad choice to run the rec. By the way the ot there is out of control and no one knows how to keep the time sheets so they had to bring back a retired person to do it. Lisa Mulligan and her husband are still employed leftovers from Jimmy and Tommy era. So get lost and take Jimmy and Sandra with you.
Bill Callahan February 12, 2012 at 04:42 AM
lets see we had a actor for a president, a we now have a political activist for a president. so whats wrong with a deli owner for a recreation head.. like i said for someone who has 5 children, thr rec has never had such great well organized programs for the kids. deli owner Joe thank you for making our rec programs better. you will be missed i wish you well in the future
Lloyd February 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM
What does all this have to do wit Sandra Clarson.the former City comptroller? Just out of curiosity....Does anyone know what Sandra did before getting her nice, cushy, bookkeeping job? Was she a meat wrapper at Waldbaums and she just happened to know the right people or was related to them? "To the victor go the spoils".......so they say.
Jasmine February 12, 2012 at 07:28 PM
She was the comptroller for the last 10 years-- originally hired by the dems
Who cares February 12, 2012 at 08:31 PM
So the dems hired a meat packet to be the comptroller. The finances of the city get all messed up and taxes get raised 25% The republicans fix it then it's election time again and the finances are screwed up and the dems win. Interesting.
Datt Matt February 12, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Jasmine – you are only ½ correct. She was originally hired by the dems to work in payroll. When former city comptroller, Alice Schildkraut, quit (yes, she quit) Sandra stepped in to help with the budget and was later named city comptroller by the republicans. Sandra had been the city comptroller since 2005ish.
Candygram for Mongo February 13, 2012 at 05:55 PM
way to go - jump on the "sue the city" bandwagon
Hot topic February 19, 2012 at 02:37 AM
She came from the NYC comptrollers office with over 15 years of experience before coming to long beach. Seems qualified to me.

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