Bad Behavior Assessment: Floy Andrews Mounts Campaign Against Contra Costa County’s ‘Bad Boy’ | East Bay Express

For Floy Andrews, her Master of Science in Bioethics from Columbia University is as important as her 15 years as a lawyer in her quest to become Contra Costa County’s next assessor.

That makes sense, since the appraiser who held the position for the past 28 years, Gus Kramer, has been repeatedly accused of ethical violations, as the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to censor him in 2018. The current five-member board all individually endorsed Andrews in the June 2022 primary.

Kramer has been accused of sexual harassment by employees of the 120-person Assessor’s Office, although he continues to stress that he was “never found guilty” of any of those charges. However, in 2009, cash-strapped Contra Costa County was forced to pay $1 million to settle a case brought by then-assessment department employee Bernice Peoples, accusing Kramer retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint against him.

The 2018 board resolution stated “there was sufficient evidence to prove that Assessor Kramer engaged in the following conduct in 2014 and 2015:

“Kramer frequently visited the Complainant’s office on the first floor… On one occasion, Mr. Kramer told her that he had given a woman a vibrator… as a gift. She thought it was inappropriate and offensive. Mr. Kramer sent her two text messages in 2014 which she said suggested a romantic/sexual interest in her. She viewed the texts as inappropriate and intrusive.

“With respect to the second employee/witness, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr. Kramer made a comment in his presence in 2008 and told a story in his presence in 2013 regarding his social interactions with women whom she considered inappropriate and offensive; and that on one occasion in 2015 he made a comment to her which she said was intended to be sexually suggestive and considered inappropriate, offensive and unwelcome. Kramer sued the county for the censorship.

In 2019, Contra Costa County prosecutors filed a grand jury indictment in Superior Court, seeking Kramer’s removal for alleged “willful or corrupt” misconduct in creating a hostile and abusive work environment.

But all of this is far from Kramer’s only questionable behavior.

In 2011, he filed a tort lawsuit against the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association, alleging he should be able to double deduct, collecting his county pension and county salary at the same time. weather.

In 2019, a state ethics commission fined Kramer for improperly disclosing a loan and failing to file several required financial reports. According to the cover in the San Jose Mercury News, “Between 2005 and 2008, Kramer was listed on at least 18 deeds that show real estate transactions listed as gifts with no transfer taxes paid. This led to a Contra Costa District Attorney’s investigation that ended under a cloud of suspicion.

And yet, Kramer ran unopposed, or against weak opponents, in multiple elections. This time, “Floy has bipartisan support from all five supervisors,” supervisor John Gioia said. “It’s about restoring ethics to the office.”

Andrews, who resided in Richmond for three years, served as vice president, associate general counsel at California’s largest real estate, development and management firm, The Irvine Company, for eight years. In this role, she investigated and managed a wide range of legal and compliance issues related to real estate.

Prior to this position, she spent seven years as a litigator with the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers, which provided her with the extensive experience needed to understand the procedural and substantive issues including deals with the assessor’s office. According to the California State Association of Counties, the assessor “has the responsibility to uncover and appraise all properties in the county annually. The assessor is both a manager of employees and an administrator responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations imposed by the property tax laws.

So this position, which is often misunderstood and goes unnoticed in local elections, is in fact of critical importance to virtually all residents of the country, as appraised property values ​​are reflected in property tax bills. This affects both landlords and tenants, as an increase in the landlord’s property tax will be passed on to tenants. Commercial real estate tenants are affected in the same way.

In May 2021, Andrews was appointed to the Assessments Appeal Board, where she hears complaints from property owners who believe they have been inaccurately assessed. She began to consider introducing herself as an evaluator. “I can bring a culture of respect and dignity to the office,” she said.

“[In a situation like this]employees and members of the public are losing confidence,” Gioia said.

Andrews agreed that the ongoing dramas surrounding Kramer had an impact on his ability to do his job effectively and fairly, and that there had been both a loss of confidence in the assessor’s office and legitimate criticism. with respect to Kramer’s management skills. “Everyone should be able to count on fair and impartial treatment by the assessor’s office,” she said. One of the tenets of his campaign is: “Protect taxpayers with transparency and accountability.”

“And the 120 employees don’t need a leader called upon to create a hostile work environment,” she added.

Kramer, Andrews and Gioia said, likes to take credit for lower taxes, when in fact residential and commercial tax rates are governed by the provisions of Proposition 13. “I have the knowledge and the ability to fairly assess and apply current and applicable California law as required,” Andrews said.

In a typical local primary, like the upcoming June 7 election, voter turnout is low. Andrews’ campaign uses email targeting potential voters, SMS banking and canvassing to get its message across. “Lots of people from Martinez to Walnut Creek are signing up to volunteer,” she said.

In addition to his support of the Board of Supervisors, Andrews’ mentions include State Senator Nancy Skinner, several Contra Costa County mayors and city council members, the Contra Costa County Central Labor Council, and the Local SEIU Local 1021.

It’s possible, Gioia suggested, that the wide range of contested county offices and media coverage surrounding other races, such as sheriff and district attorney, are inspiring more people to vote. Andrews and Gioia agreed that it is fair to point out that the million dollars paid in the lawsuit cited above could have been used, for example, to help fund the struggling West Contra Costa school district, which is currently facing a budget deficit and the threat of another state takeover.

Also, in November, major state and federal races will likely drive up attendance.

“I hope the state of the country inspires people to vote and make their voices heard,” Andrews said. Regarding her own race, she also noted, “Assessments are key to ensuring a fair and consistent tax system. Such a fair and consistent tax system is an essential pillar of a successful democracy.

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