CMPD Restructuring Plan Announced+ Budget Info
In a press release today (text of which is included below) Costa Mesa Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell announced the plans for the reorganization of the Costa Mesa Police Department that City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch will present to the City Council at the Study Session next Tuesday, June 14th in council chambers beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Although links to the plan were attached to the press release, the Study Session Staff Report was also released today and it's much easier to navigate through. You will find that report HERE. There are links to the various elements mentioned in the press release, as well.
COSTA MESA, CALIF.—City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch released today a preliminary
organizational restructuring plan for the Costa Mesa Police Department to City Council members for their review. The plan would save the City $1.35 million annually while maintaining comparable levels of service hours.
The proposal—which includes 23 recommendations—would add 10 additional sworn reserve officers (7,382 hours annually), two K-9 units to patrol, four helicopter pilots to ground-based duties, two park rangers, a crime scene specialist and four support jobs. In exchange, positions for 12 sworn officers and one non-sworn commander would be eliminated, likely through attrition.
The reorganization of the police department was prompted by recent budget deficits that have forced the City to spend more than $33.5 million of its reserves in the past four fiscal years. The police department expenses—at 35%—represent the largest share of the general fund. “Through months of study and analysis, we’ve found a way to reorganize the police department that significantly reduces expenses but gives residents and businesses a similar level of service hours,” Hatch said. “A key to the plan is the additional sworn reserve officers. We are fortunate that our community has many retired police officers in their 50s with a wealth of experience who still want to serve.”
The reorganization would also create a regional Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) teamand fold the telecommunications department (9-1-1 center) into the police department (92% of the 9-1-1 call volume is for police services). A police lieutenant would replace a civilian manager of the telecommunications department.
The net reduction to the police department would be the equivalent of four full-time positions.
Other suggestions include outsourcing of animal control services, expanding the police department’s volunteer program, implementing a succession plan for department personnel and reviewing the department’s traffic bureau.
Under the plan, the number of sworn police officers would be 131, with five of those positions funded by a federal grant the City has already received for $1.8 million over three years. The analysis and initial recommendations for the police restructuring was part of a three-and-a-half-month-long study by Management Partners, a consulting company that used Mike Messina, the former police chief in Brea, for the report. Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley also provided analysis and recommendations for consideration. The reports are attached, along with details on the fiscal impact.
Hatch will give a presentation of the proposed organizational restructuring at the City Council Study Session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers.
WILL THEY FOLLOW GOOD ADVICE OR...?
The Study Session is going to be very interesting because we're going to find out once and for all whether this city council will take the advice of the professionals in the field - their hand-picked CEO, Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley and the consulting firm to whom they paid tens of thousands of dollars for their assessment and recommendations for the most cost effective and efficient Police Department - or if they will ignore all or major portions of the recommendations and follow their preconceived opinions about staffing levels.
HATCH PRESENTS A BALANCED BUDGET
Also on the agenda is one more pass at the 2011-2012 budget. The staff report, HERE, shows in detail how Hatch has managed to present a balanced budget for the council to consider. The changes that accomplish that objective include those he is recommending for the restructuring of the Police Department. Any modifications the council makes to that plan will certainly alter Hatch's balanced budget.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER - GONE
Among the positions proposed to be deleted in this pass are an Animal Control Officer. This particular position was salvaged last year after a tremendous outcry by members of the public. I doubt a similar outcry this year will be effective - these guys just don't care.
OUTSPOKEN LARRY - GONE
Also to be eliminated is the civilian Emergency Medical Services Coordinator position. This is the job held by the outspoken Larry Grihalva, who you may recall stepped to the speaker's podium several months ago to educate the council. I'm assuming the deletion of his job is merely a coincidence - or is it? You'll recall that I've told you over and over again that this council DOES NOT LIKE an opposing opinion. This may be the consequence of being outspoken - or not.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS MANAGER SLOT - GONE
Another job sacrificed to the Police Reorg/Balanced Budget is that of the Telecommunication Manager. That organization will be assigned to the Police Department and a new Lieutenant position will be filled to manage that function.
COUNCIL WON'T BE SATISFIED WITH A BALANCED BUDGET
Again, it will be interesting to see if this city council will set aside dogma and do what is right for the city when it comes to the budget. Quite honestly, I don't think they will be satisfied with a balanced budget. I think they're going to want to throw a mountain of cash into the Reserves and will sacrifice bodies to do it. I really do expect them to direct Hatch to return on June 21st with a new, revised budget proposal that will give them at least $1 million to put in the cookie jar. That will mean, in all likelihood, another eight staffers will be lost. Since Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer is intent on having a 125 sworn member police department, that's where six of those bodies will come from.
POLITICS OVER PUBLIC SAFETY
I'm left, once again, with concern for the future of our city and for the safety of its residents. With the slashing of the Police Department staff and the dissolution of the ABLE program the residents and visitors to our city will never be safer than they are as you read this. This city council, with its blind allegiance to the GOP party line, seems more than willing to place every one of us at risk to advance their political agendas and futures.
DISTRUST, ANGER, GRUDGES AND FEAR
We are operating today in an environment where the city council apparently distrusts its appointed CEO, its Interim Police Chief and the city staff in general. We're in a time where at least a few members of the city council are angry at the staff and seem more than willing to make the public pay for the grudge they hold. I've written in the recent past that they have created a hostile work environment, but it's gone way, way past that definition now. No, the actions they're taking are turning an efficient, competent, motivated workforce into a group of people looking over their collective shoulders all the time. Gone are the days when a simple request could get them all leaning into the harness at the same time, pulling hard for the good of the city. Now they expect to feel the whip across their haunches and are spooked at the slightest sound. I suspect they'd be happy for something as simple as hostility about now.
TUESDAY WE FIND OUT
Tuesday's Study Session - which I expect to be another long one - will give us a clear idea of just how extreme this council is going to be. It ain't gonna be pretty...