Hatch "Clarifies" His Memo
Shortly after lunch today Costa Mesa City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch sent out the following message to all employees:
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 1:19 PM
Subject: Speaking at City Council Meetings
So, I guess that means that employees MAY stand before the council at meetings and ask political questions, but not in uniform and not while on duty. That means Helen Nenadal, President of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association, will have to change her work shirt with city logo if she plans to address the council on "political issues".
NO ANSWER TO MY MEMO
Hatch has still not replied to my memo to him on the 11th in which I asked him several questions, including the one he just answered. Remaining unanswered are:
1) What is the penalty if an employee refuses to sign the form?
2) What is the penalty if an employee is observed violating the guidelines?
3) As "guidelines", does he believe his memo has the power of "rules"?
4) Was answered above
5) Does the list of "guidelines" apply to council members, too, since they are city employees?
6) How does he plan to enforce the "guidelines". For example, his prohibition on the use of the City's wireless network. How will that work? Will he have a cadre of roving monitors prowling the corridors of City Hall, peeking over partitions and through windows to observe employee activities?
7) How will he enforce his prohibition on employees speaking to each other during work hours? Will he use that same cadre of monitors?
8) How does he square his prohibition on employees expressing views on, for example, Jim Righeimer's Charter - which he cites as a misuse of public funds (the staff time) - when VERY significant resources have been spent, and are being spent, to promote it?
DON'T REALLY EXPECT TO HEAR FROM HIM
I don't really expect to hear from him on these issues, which is pretty disappointing. I'm a 39-year resident and taxpayer - one of the few who actually pays attention to what's going on in the city - so I kind of thought he might respond. I guess not. Perhaps, if he did so he would be actually violating his own rules. He is, after all, an employee and my memo to him had a very definite "political element" to it. If that's the case, I guess we can't expect him to discuss anything about Jim Righeimer's Charter or anything else political until after the election, right?
NO WORD FROM THE OCEA
Also unknown is the reaction to Hatch's "clarification" from the Orange County Employees Association. We do know they were NOT happy with the original memo. I guess we'll hear about that soon enough.