By Steven T. Jones
The Bay Guardian has learned that Ruby Rippey-Tourk, who left her job as Mayor Gavin Newsom's appointments secretary last year after having a secret affair with the mayor, received $21,755 in paid leave last year for 534 hours of work that she didn't do. That amounts to about 13.5 weeks of paid time off, well more than the 10 days vacation time and 13 days of sick leave to which she was entitled. There are provisions in city law whereby other employees may donate some of their vacation and sick time to fellow employees who go out on some form of medical leave, and Rippey-Tourk reportedly left her city job sometime before last May to enter treatment for substance abuse, although city officials may not comment on why an employee took leave for privacy reasons. But the arrangement raises questions about whether Newsom forced Rippey-Tourk from her job and/or pressured employees to give up their paid time off to help buy her silence, questions that Newsom and his administration have refused to address. In fact, they have never answered any questions about the affair or Newsom's own substance problems from any media outlet. Newsom ignored Guardian questions on the subject earlier today and his spokesperson Jennifer Petrucione told us, "The mayor has spoken on this issue and he has said what's he's going to say." The City Attorney's Office has put out a statement on the matter, saying they can't comment on the details for privacy reasons but, "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."