Does Costa Mesa Share Anaheim's Dilemma?
A tip of the old hat to Chris Prevatt over at The LiberalOC blog, who addresses an interesting subject that is being faced by the City of Anaheim - one that has potential impacts here in Costa Mesa. In his piece today titled "What's The Matter With Anaheim?", HERE, he expands on an excellent investigative piece written yesterday by Adam Elmahrek at the Voice of OC yesterday, HERE, concerning potential, and probable, conflicts of interest within the Anaheim Planning Department. It seems a contract plan check supervisor had been routing significant volumes of work to his actual employer, plan check consulting firm Charles Abbott Associates.
DO WE HAVE A PROBLEM?
I don't know if such a situation exists in Costa Mesa, but we have so many contractors now working at City Hall in so many departments and wearing so many different hats and so many members of the regular senior staff that would ordinarily be overseeing their activities have departed, that it seems like the kind of malfeasance referenced in Anaheim could easily occur in our city.
WHO'S WATCHING THE CONTRACTORS?
I find myself wondering just what kind of checks and balances are in place in Costa Mesa to keep this kind of stuff from happening. Are those few senior managers left reviewing the work of contract employees carefully? Some of the contractors came aboard with no-bid arrangements, apparently based on previous associations with members of the senior staff. We assume there are friendships involved there, so just how much "supervision" will senior managers be giving to "friends"?
ELEANOR EGAN'S INQUIRY
Resident and former city employee Eleanor Egan recently pointed out a discrepancy in the contract of one of our current cadre of contractors at two city council meetings, and asked CEO Tom Hatch for clarification. It's unclear whether she ever received a response, but it dealt with this very kind of situation.
JOKE'S NO LONGER FUNNY...
I joked many months ago that, in it's haste to flush out all the pension-bearing employees, our current city council majority's idea of the perfect city staff would be Hatch and a half-dozen contract administrators. It seemed funny at the time, but now it certainly seems like we're on a road to that destination, so any holes in the oversight procedures for contract employees need to be patched up immediately before we get ourselves into the kind of situation Anaheim finds itself in today. According to Prevatt, their city council will apparently address this issue in the very last item on the agenda for their meeting tonight. It's titled, "Discuss the existing policies and procedures governing the City's contracting and purchasing authority"
NOW IS THE TIME...
I think it's important for this subject to be dealt with immediately in Costa Mesa, since we are now beginning to see responses to the outsourcing RFPs being returned and will soon be undergoing evaluation for possible implementation. If we don't get a handle on just how all these contracting companies will be managed right now, the city could lose lots of money by inadvertent or intentional bad acts by contractors.