Legal Costs, Pension Overseers, Fireworks And More
Following the holiday Monday, on Tuesday, February 19th, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold their next regular council meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. You can read the agenda HERE. This one is full of fun stuff, so let's get right to it, shall we?
LOADED CONSENT CALENDAR
There are 13 items on the Consent Calendar - those that are presumed to be of routine nature so might be voted on in one big lump without individual discussion. Mayor Jim Righeimer has been none-too-subtle in his preference that none are pulled by council members - apparently an attempt to keep meetings short. Despite his insistence, I suspect some of these might be yanked for individual consideration. Oh, yes, two of the items - numbers 6 and 9 - were removed at the last minute. They apparently dealt with a request to purchase more police cars and motorcycles, but the CMPD found better deals, so the items were removed for consideration at a future meeting.
Items 3 and 4 are Warrants # 2459, HERE, and #2460, HERE. Each have some interesting entries. #2459, for example, shows that we paid our contract legal firm, Jones and Mayer, $105,795.27 and Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth $15,400.31 and pension expert Joe Nation $7,000. #2460 shows we paid Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth another $34,579.10 and Norman A. Traub $6,980.75 for "HR Legal Services". Incidentally, the spreadsheet that is supposed to keep us informed about how the legal fees are spent throughout the year has not been updated for a couple months. The last entries are for November of last year.
IN-CAR DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDING
Item 8, HERE, is for the expenditure of $321,203.87 for in-car digital video recording systems CMPD vehicles.
FREEBIES ARE BACK
Item 10 is the resolution for the distribution of tickets and/or passes that was removed from an earlier council meeting agenda. You can read all the fascinating details about how CEO Tom Hatch will be the keeper of the tickets and how they may and may not be distributed HERE.
COSTA MESA COUNTRY CLUB PERFORMANCE AUDIT
Item 11 is the request by Recreation Manager Bob Knapp for authorization to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a performance audit of the Costa Mesa Country Club, HERE. The estimate is that this audit will cost from $25,000 - $50,000. While this certainly may be a valid management tool, I wonder what's actually behind it? If I were the folks running that operation today I might be just a little nervous, since this could be a precursor to tossing them aside and bringing in a crony to run things later. Just sayin'...
WORKER'S COMP. CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION
Item 12 is the recommendation by staff to award a contract for Third Party Worker's Compensation Claims Administration to a new vendor, AdminSure, Inc., HERE. The staff report indicates a cost savings of around $16,000 per year.
OUTSIDE LABOR NEGOTIATOR
The final item on the Consent Calendar, #13, is the naming of Richard M. Kreisler as the principal negotiator in labor contract negotiations with the Costa Mesa City Employee's Association (CMCEA), along with Assistant CEO Rick Francis as the City's representative. This is part of Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger's COIN scheme. You can read the brief staff report HERE.
SUCCESSOR AGENCY BUSINESS
The council will then change hats temporarily and perform as the "Successor Agency" to the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency and consider three items. They are the six-month budget - 7/1/13 - 12/31/13 - in the amount of a nice, round $125,000, HERE; the review and approval of Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule for 7/1/13 - 12/31/13, HERE, and and update from Successor Agency Staff on Dissolution Act Matters, HERE. They will then change hats again and function as the City Council.
APPOINTMENT OF PLANNING COMMISSIONERS - AGAIN
Under Old Business, the only item on the agenda is the Appointment of Planning Commissioners, HERE. This should be interesting, to say the least. After all the hoopla and delay following the mistake of trying to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of commissioner Ed Salcedo the council decided to fill, or re-fill, all three commission vacancies. There are fifteen (15) candidates from which the council will select three - 2 for 4-year terms and one for the remaining 2 years of Salcedo's term.
COSTA MESA UNITED FUNDING
We will finally arrive at the New Business segment of the meeting and, following a General Plan screening item for a 236-unit residential apartment project on Baker Street, will address Item #2, the resolution of support with Costa Mesa United and a funding commitment for capital improvements of sports facilities at Costa Mesa and Estancia High Schools, HERE. The City has already budgeted $100,000 this year and committed a similar amount for five years.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES
Then comes a series of issues that we would probably have seen on the Consent Calendar in the past dealing with significant upgrades in computer-related items. #3 is the establishment of the Information Technology Replacement Fund, a loan between the General Fund and the Equipment Replacement Fund and a budget authorization for Information Technology Infrastructure Upgrades in the amount of $1,734,728, HERE. That's a lot of money, but it's necessary to upgrade our antiquated IT infrastructure.
Item #4 is the purchase of computer networking equipment city-wide in the amount of $287,228.07, HERE.
Item #5 is a support agreement with Hewlett Packard for $127,342.78, HERE.
Item #6 is the renewal of the Oracle/Peoplesoft Support Services contract for $196,091.50, HERE.
Anyone who has watched the staff try to function with the computer systems currently in place understand the need for this massive improvement expenditure. There's nearly $2.5 million involved in the above four items - about the amount we received when the A.B.L.E. helicopter program was folded up.
PENSION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Item #7 on the New Business agenda is another of Mensinger's schemes - the establishment of a committee to evaluate annual pension oversight issues, HERE. I've read the staff report and find myself wondering just why this committee is necessary? In fact, it seems to me that it's going to be an impediment to timely resolution of labor negotiations because one of the duties imagined by Mensinger is to, "Review negotiated pension and compensation packages as it pertains to each employee bargaining unit." It seems to me that the COIN process, if it includes this new wrinkle, dooms every negotiation to a long, long protracted activity. It looks to me like Mensinger is creating another committee for which he can dole out positions to his buddies - very much like the re-constituted Financial Advisory Committee.
Finally, the last item on the agenda - New Business #8 - may be the most inflammatory. Sorry, just couldn't resist the pun. This one is another of Mensinger's schemes - the request for amendments to Council Policy 400-2 - regulations governing fireworks, HERE. In these amendments Mensinger apparently is trying to reduce the total number of permits for fireworks stands from 40 to 25, even though 38 permits were issued last year. What's that all about? This year July 4th is on a Thursday. The ordinance says fireworks sales may commence on June 30th at 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. through July 3rd and 9:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m on July 4th. And, the discharge of safe and sane fireworks shall be limited to July 2nd through July 4th from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day. Why authorize 3 days of chaos in our city? Three days of nervous pets and overtime for firefighting personnel! One day - July 4th - is plenty! This whole thing just reeks of Mensinger's attempt to dredge funds from the public for his youth sports programs without proper consideration of the safety and sanctity of the public at large.
IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG NIGHT
OK, it's going to be a long night. I'm thinkin' a 1:00 a.m. stop time is what we'll see - through bleary eyes.