PALM SPRINGS – Seven months after the Palm Springs City Council approved an investigation into Mayor Robert Moon surreptitiously placing a video camera and intercom in City Hall, the formal inquiry continues.
“There are a few loose ends with the inquiry that must be tied up before any report is issued,” Assistant City Attorney Peter Nelson King told Uken Report. “I do not have a time estimate on when the inquiry will be completed.”
Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson from Oakland is handling the inquiry.
Once the firm’s report of the investigation is final and reviewed for any legal and personnel issues, the public will be notified, Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors told Uken Report.
In the midst of the investigation, Moon announced he will not seek re-election in November.
Moon, elected to a four-year term as mayor in November 2015 on the premise of transparency, claimed last year that City Hall has no security so he took it upon himself without asking – or telling anyone – that he was going to use a motion-detection camera and an intercom. The camera, he claims, was to help him detect who was coming into his office during his absence. He claims the intercom was for easier communication with the City Council’s administrative assistant due to logistics.
On the dais and in an eye-to-eye rebuke of the mayor’s antics, Councilmember Lisa Middleton said, “When that camera was installed, whatever the motivation was, it was a statement of a lack of trust in the people who occupy the hallways of City Hall. Not just any hallway, but the hallway where the city manager and the City Council offices are, the hallway that can only be accessed with a key card. It was a statement of a lack of trust in those individuals.”
Elected in November 2017, Middleton said she was certain if Moon had asked to install the camera and intercom he would surely have been told no. The law is incredibly clear in the state of California that recording individuals without their permission is not permitted, Middleton said.
Middleton continued without missing a beat. No one spoke; no one tried to interrupt her.
Moon said when he discovered on June 19 that the city manager and city attorney were looking into the devices, he made a brief explanation at the July 20 City Council meeting.
“I said if anyone was made uncomfortable that I was sorry, and I had to remove those devices right away.”
Moon, short on contrition, also said that if someone had told him they were uncomfortable, he would have immediately removed the devices.
“But instead of taking that route, it appears that for some reason, which I can’t answer, you’ve decided to make this into a criminal case,” Moon said. “There was no intention there at any time to do anything wrong. It was just a convenience item. So, if you’re going to charge me with state crimes, I guess you can move ahead. I don’t know. It’s up to you.”
“Investigate away and have fun,” Moon said sarcastically.
Today, the public awaits the findings of the forensic investigation.