Herrera mum on Rippey-Tourk back payments
By Brent Begin, Bay City News
February 15, 2007, 3:30 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco City Attorney Dennis
Herrera announced today his opposition to the public release of
detailed information related to sick pay given to Mayor Gavin
Newsom's former appointments secretary, Ruby Rippey-Tourk.
In a statement, Herrera promised to investigate whether payments
to Rippey-Tourk were acceptable, including a "retroactive
payment for leave made at the end of her term of service."
Rippey-Tourk, the wife of former Newsom campaign advisor Alex
Tourk, recently became a prominent figure after the mayor admitted
to an affair with her when she worked at City Hall. The admission
followed Tourk's resignation.
"A City employee's receipt of paid leave is subject to confidentiality
laws, including laws relating to medical privacy," the statement
read. "The city attorney has consistently advised that disclosure
by the city of the reasons a city employee receives paid leave
or the nature of that leave -- including the disclosure of the
employee's private medical and personnel information -- is prohibited."
And while the city attorney's office pledged not to release those
records, Herrera did pledge to assure that all payments were "done
properly under City laws and procedures."
A spokesman for the city attorney's said there would be no further
comment on the issue until the investigation is resolved. Rippey-Tourk
resigned from the appointments secretary position in the spring
Text of the City Attorney statement follows:
City Attorney Dennis Herrera recently
became aware of questions involving City compensation for
paid leave given to former mayoral appointments secretary Ruby
Rippey-Tourk, including a retroactive payment for leave made at
the end of her term of service.
A City employee's receipt of paid leave is subject to confidentiality
laws, including laws relating to medical privacy. The City Attorney
has consistently advised that disclosure by the City of the reasons
a City employee receives paid leave or the nature of that leave
-- including the disclosure of the employee's private medical
and personnel information -- is prohibited.
With the full cooperation of the City officials involved, the
City Attorney has already begun the process of reviewing the paid
leave to Ms. Rippey-Tourk to assure that it was done properly
under City laws and procedures, and will refrain from any further
statement on the matter until after the review is concluded.
The City Attorney also intends to work with the Office of the
Mayor, the City Controller, the Director of Public Health and
the Director of Human Resources to review their policies and procedures
on paid leave to assure that paid leave is administered fairly
for all City employees and in compliance with applicable legal