Costa Mesa Rolls Out The Big Guns
CITY HIRES LABOR GUN-SLINGER
In a press release issued this morning, Costa Mesa Interim Communications Director, Bill Lobdell, announced that the City of Costa Mesa has hired a professional labor negotiator to deal with the City's six bargaining units. The complete text of that press release follows:
Costa Mesa, California - The City of Costa Mesa has hired a negotiator to lead labor talks with its employee associations, City Chief Executive Office Tom Hatch announced today. In recent years, Costa Mesa’s chief negotiator had been the City’s administrative services director.
Richard Kreisler, a partner with the Los Angeles-based Liebert Cassidy Whitmore law firm, spent the first 14 years of his 35-year career representing police and fire associations. For the past two decades, he’s worked with public agencies on a wide variety of public safety issues, including labor negotiations. He will charge the City $300 per hour.
“The employee contracts represent, by far, the largest expense in the City’s budget, and hiring a professional negotiator to help us during these challenging times is a cost-effective investment for the Costa Mesa taxpayer,” said City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch.
Per the City’s Council direction, Hatch has asked the six employee associations representing City employees to renegotiate their existing contracts to help Costa Mesa financially withstand the economic downturn that’s adversely affecting local governments.
And the City is currently negotiating with the Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn., which agreed last October to have its members contribute 5% of their CalPERS-eligible pay to their own pensions for one year. This contribution is set to expire next month.
If you click on that link to Richard Kreisler's name you'll find a very impressive list of credentials, including MANY assignments as chief labor negotiator for several municipalities.
MOTIVES ARE CLEAR
As each day passes it becomes more clear that this current city council, led by the carpetbagging opportunist, Jim Righeimer and his non-elected bully buddy, Steve Mensinger, is serious about emasculating the employee bargaining units and are willing to pay $300 per hour to a hired gun to do it.
FEEL-GOOD SMOKE SCREENS
Don't get me wrong here. I really like the new tools being used to provide positive information to us. But no matter what kind of feel-good news this regime presents in the Costa Mesa Minute, with timely important news each morning, and on the CEO E-Briefing, complete with Michael Josephson "Character Counts" words of wisdom, the true colors of this council show through in their actions. We've seen Righeimer frequently praise the city employees on one hand, then do whatever he can to get rid of most of them.
HOW WILL EMPLOYEES RESPOND?
I'm going to be very interested in seeing just what kind of response this evoke from the bargaining units. I doubt seriously that they will meekly roll over and open their contracts. I know that many of them feel that would be a huge tactical error, one that would allow this administration to gut the contracts. The hiring of Kreisler only seems to affirm that apprehension.
AND ON AND ON...
And the drama continues....