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Police Officers Association files claim against city of Lodi

Group alleges outside business is conflict of interest, files $1M claim

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Dean Gualco

Sierra Brucia

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Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:43 am, Wed Jan 30, 2013.

The Police Officers Association of Lodi has filed a claim against the city, saying concessions officers agreed to during the past two years are invalid because the lead negotiators for the union and city had a business together.

The union filed a claim for an amount to exceed $1 million, saying the relationship voids the five different concession agreements the unions signed starting from February 2009 to June 2010.

The union alleges Human Resources Director Dean Gualco and Lodi Police Sgt. Sierra Brucia, who was promoted last month, started Brucia-Gualco Consulting Company to work as labor consultants.

The union states in the claim that the two started the business in 2008 while they were negotiating contracts and concessions for the city.

“Neither party disclosed their private, business relationship,” the claim states.

Gualco started working for the city in 2007 and has negotiated contracts and concession agreements with all of the city’s unions. Brucia is no longer negotiating contracts for the association because he is now mid-management. Gualco and Brucia did not respond to calls for comment.

Current union president Paul Blandford said the union’s lawyer suggested they file the claim. He is not sure if the officers will pursue a lawsuit.

“All I can say is that as the investigation unravels, if things weren’t done right, then they were not done right. I’ll just let the chips fall where they may,” Blandford said.

The claim states that the business relationship results in “concealed breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud,” and “breach of fiduciary duty.”

City officials are pursuing an independent investigation of the allegations, city spokesman Jeff Hood said. The city plans to hire a company that specializes in employee investigations.

Officials said they were surprised to find out about the claim when it was filed last Wednesday.

“I have not had time to fully consider the union’s factual and legal contentions,” City Manager Rad Bartlam stated in a prepared statement.

Bartlam also pointed to the original 2008 contract that was also signed by Brucia and Gualco.

“What does that say of the union’s 2008 contract signed by the same two people and the 20 percent pay raise our officers received that year? If I were in the police officers union, I might start worrying about having to pay that money back,” Bartlam said.

The union found out about the business when a member was searching the Internet for Gualco’s name earlier this month. There is a website with the business name listed but when clicking on the link, it does not go to the site.

Gualco is required to file a statement of economic interests, and the business is not listed on the form. There also is no record of the business with the Secretary of State.

According to the Lodi’s rules of personnel administration, employees are allowed to have outside employment but it cannot interfere with their city job.

“A City employee shall not engage in any employment, activity or enterprise for compensation which is inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with, or adverse to his/her duties as a City employee or with the duties, functions or responsibilities of such a person’s Department Director or the department in which employed,” the rules state.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:15 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    I see none of you good old boys and their fanbase want to express your opinion on any of these real issues that bring to light the real corruption of Lodi's elite, yet you accuse me and others of being conspiracy theorists?

  • Doug Chaney posted at 1:20 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232


  • Doug Chaney posted at 1:05 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Oh, and the third and final review on Mr. Gualco's book is from T. Fink from, you'll never guess where, livable, lovable, Lodi, CA.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 12:33 pm on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    The review under that, Jay, is from C. Brucia, Placerville, CA. Go figure! There should be immediate action taken against these two demanding an explanation, at the least, if not an internel investigation of officer Brucia by LPD. I'd hope officer Brucia wasn't one of those LPD officers that signed that no confidence letter causing the downfall of Chief Gary Benincasa just last year.

  • Jay Samone posted at 10:37 am on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Sorry I got so irritated, I forgot to finish my thoughts.......S. Brucia in the review on amazon calls himself a "business owner" and is from New York City......Pfffft.

  • Jay Samone posted at 10:35 am on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    AND talk about self-promotion - Brucia commented on his book promoting through amazon.....ugh. What a bunch of d-bags.


  • Jay Samone posted at 10:33 am on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    I did a little digging of my own and found Mr. Gualco to be a very active writer. I wonder how he has time to put out so many books when he has a full time job. I also found this little gem in his latest book:


    I also found information on a seemingly non-existent Consulting company he owned as of 2010, named Torgun consulting and the links to the new company have been recently removed. If you google search Gualco-Sierra, you'll see a few sentences about their qualifications and what they do.

    This really angers me. Sometimes I really hate people.

  • Jay Samone posted at 10:21 am on Wed, May 18, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Labor consultants? Just what exactly is Brucia knowledgeable to consult on, other than police work? Who are they "consulting" for? I want to see their contracts and who they are "consulting" for.

    This is a direct conflict of interest of serious proportions and a direct violation of any union agreement and employment as well, considering they "failed" to report their conflict of interest nearly FOUR YEARS AGO. These two gentleman should be FIRED for this, no ifs, ands or buts, and at the very least.

    As far as the union filing a suit for "concessions", then they need to start over and think about that hefty raise they all got back then. You can't just cherry pick which part of the contract you're angry over - you either chuck the whole thing, start over and repay the raise, or you get over it, get those buffoons FIRED and move on.

  • roy bitz posted at 9:28 pm on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    Imagine what a 20% pay raise means to the pension plan of our public safety personnel----retire after 30 years of service at 90% of your highest annual salary. This 20% amounts a lot more than a simple salary increase.
    A 20% increase is not won through negotiation. A 20% increase in pay is a gift!.
    This all makes my hair hurt!!!

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:50 pm on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    I hope these two gentlemen have been paying their federal and state income taxes on their earnings with their consulting services. The city of Lodi should be very concerned with Mr. Gualco and the fact that he's the major player in many other contract negotiations that to me have seemed to have had outcomes opposite of what the expectations were. The red flag went up with the 20% raise in 2008 when the economy warranted a cutback at best. Just more of the same corruptive practices used by the management and council of livable,lovable Lodi.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:26 pm on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    So what is preventing the city from suing the union...if Lodi Police Sgt. Sierra was involved shouldn't the city be able to claim they were wronged... in fact if Josh is right and a 20% pay increase was negotiated, I think the tax payer was bilked. Maybe the city should feel fortunate the union brought this to light and counter sue.

  • Robert Chapman posted at 2:47 pm on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    Apparently LPD have more concerns for their wallets than the City they are sworn to protect.. Get real, a $1M lawsuit? Just WHO was "wronged" that would make this money justified? Wait, maybe if they should somehow WIN this lawsuit, the City can use money out of the police budget to make payment. That would mean no new equiptment, layoffs, etc... Sounds like a good trade off to me.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:51 am on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Josh, just the corrupted city of Lodi, conspiracy theories and all. I do definitely agree with you on this one, though.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 10:01 am on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    And why in the world would anyone be getting a 20% raise in 2008?

  • Josh Morgan posted at 9:59 am on Tue, May 17, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    "What does that say of the union’s 2008 contract signed by the same two people and the 20 percent pay raise our officers received that year? If I were in the police officers union, I might start worrying about having to pay that money back,” Bartlam said.

    I would think that door swings both ways.



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