JUDGE REJECTS AMENDED COMPLAINT...
The Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which represents the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (CMCEA) in its lawsuit against the lawsuit filed against the City of Costa Mesa for what they contend were illegal layoff notices sent to more than half the CMCEA membership over two years ago, has announced a new phase in that lawsuit.
...LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR AMENDMENT
According to a press release issued today, the full text of which is below, the current judge handling the lawsuit, Judge Luis A. Rodriguez
, issued a qualified rejection of an amended complaint filed by the CMCEA, but also allowed the employees to amend their complaint. The ruling also vacated the January, 2014 trial date and established a Case Management Conference in December.
TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE
Costa Mesa enters new phase of outsourcing litigation
As one of the first actions marking a new phase in the litigation
between Costa Mesa employees and the City of Costa Mesa since the City
withdrew layoff notices to more than 200 employees earlier this year, a
Superior Court judge this afternoon issued a qualified rejection of an
amended complaint filed by the Costa Mesa City Employees Association.
Judge Luis A. Rodriguez also allowed the Employees leave to amend their
complaint to allege additional facts about the City’s outsourcing plans
that have occurred over the past several months.
action marks a new phase of the ongoing litigation, as the Court
decides how to address the outsourcing issues in the wake of the City
rescinding pink slips for more than half of its employees.
Costa Mesa City Council majority in March 2011 first issued more than
200 pink slips to employees as part of their desire to privatize City
services. In June 2012, Superior Court Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann
issued a preliminary injunction blocking the City from outsourcing to
the private sector.
City appealed that decision, and in August 2012, the Fourth District
Court of Appeals rejected the City’s request in a lengthy opinion, which
the Court later published.
City rescinded the pink slips earlier this year, so CMCEA agreed to
dissolve the preliminary injunction. CMCEA filed and amended its
complaint to reflect the changing circumstances and articulate the City
Council’s ongoing efforts to outsource City services.
for CMCEA will now prepare and file an amended complaint consistent
with the Court’s order and comments from the bench. CMCEA will continue
to protect the legal rights of its members and require the City through
the Court to comply with the restraints on outsourcing municipal
services confirmed in last year’s Court of Appeal decision.
The Court also vacated the January 2014 trial date and set a Case Management Conference for Dec. 11, 2014.
Some will recall that the Jim Righeimer-led city council violated their own council policy when they issued invalid layoff notices to more than 200 employees two and a half years ago - a move that was punctuated by the unfortunate suicide of young Costa Mesa maintenance worker, Huy Pham, who leaped to his death from the roof of City Hall.
RELATIONSHIP HAS FURTHER DETERIORATED
This event was to become the bellwether of things to come in Costa Mesa, where the relationship between the elected leaders and the city employees has - as unimaginable as it might seem - gone downhill since then. Recently the mayor and mayor pro tem has sued the members of the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association, accusing them of placing them - the elected officials - in such a fragile mental condition that they have had to seek medical attention and have suffered loss of income. And yet, they continue to show up and inflict further damage to the city in their fragile condition.
LOSS OF VALUABLE EXPERTISE
I have no idea how the lawsuit will turn out, but the employees continue to fight for their rights against an administration that has created a toxic workplace for most employees to the extent that we have seen many seeking jobs in other municipalities rather than remain in our city.
UNABLE TO MEET SERVICE DEMANDS
This bogus plan is finally coming home to roost, though. City CEO Tom Hatch announced a $7 million budget surplus at the last council meeting, then followed up by also announcing that the city is unable to provide the level of service expected by the residents and necessary to keep the business of the city running properly, so an increased recruitment effort to fill the 44 authorized, open vacancies will be undertaken immediately. We presume that includes the many vacancies in the police ranks, although the hiring process for those positions can take a year or longer.
The current elected leadership of our city - specifically Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger - have demonstrated over and over again that they are incompetent to manage our city. Their priorities are clearly out of line with wishes and needs of the residents. They place filling potholes well ahead of providing a safe city for residents, visitors and businesses - and crow about it, too boot.
FAILURE AND BANKRUPTCY
They have created an environment where corruption can thrive and rules designed to protect our precious municipal assets are routinely ignored. These men pontificated about running our city like a business, but apparently neglected to tell us they meant failed businesses. They are responsible for racking up millions of dollars in legal fees to defend their actions - all straight from city coffers. They seem on course to saddle our city with municipal bankruptcy - going so far as to have one of their hand-picked committees receive a municipal bankruptcy workshop - to fulfill their goals of busting employee organizations. They have demonstrated, by their actions, a cavalier disregard for the well-being and reputation of this city - placing it a distant second to their personal political goals.
WAKE UP, VOTERS!
One can only hope that a slumbering electorate will finally be shaken awake and begin paying attention to the damage these men are doing to our city and make the changes in the voting booth necessary to restore this city to it's position as a city to be admired for its accomplishments, not ridiculed by neighboring leaders.
Labels: CMCEA, Huy Pham, Jim Righeimer, Judge Luis A. Rodriguez, OCEA, Steve Mensinger, Tom Hatch