Monday, October 12, 2015

Transparency Is A Double-Edged Sword

Well, kind of lost in the shuffle this weekend is the fact that Governor Jerry Brown, in a last minute flurry with many other bills last Friday, signed into law Senate Bill 331, the Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act (CRONE).  We've briefly mentioned this before.

This act, described by many detractors as an attempt by unions to get back at jurisdictions that have adopted the Civic Openness In Negotiations process (COIN) by imposing a similar deliberative process over most big-ticket government contracts.  You can read about this act HERE.  I won't attempt to give you links to all the negative comments - just click HERE and sift through them yourself.

Now it is law and the jurisdictions affected by it are ONLY those who have adopted COIN - like Costa Mesa, Beverly Hills, the County of Orange and a few more.

So, to those folks who govern those jurisdictions - like our Board of Supervisors and the elected leaders of Costa Mesa and the other cities involved - please remember how you got into this predicament.  You can feel free to write directly to our mayor, Steve Mensinger, the father of COIN and the man who has thumped his chest about it since he first fertilized the egg that became COIN in Costa Mesa.  Please, write to him to tell him how much you appreciate his handiwork, because without COIN there would be no CRONE.

Some of you will recall that many community activists encouraged the city to adopt a similar rule for government contracts a couple years ago when COIN was being hatched, basically citing that "what's good for the goose is good for the gander", and that if the presumed-transparency derived from COIN in labor negotiations is something we desire, then similar transparency in government contracts seemed to be important to consider.  We need only look as far back as our now-notorious 60th Anniversary Celebration debacle - where cost-overruns ran into the tens of thousands of dollars - to see the value of such a program.  But those requests fell on deaf ears.  In fact, certain high-ranking members of our city government chided those who suggested it.  Uh, huh... well, here we are today with a state-wide law that focuses directly on those utilizing COIN.

This is the kind of stuff that happens when a person who is not all that smart is being guided by those with strong anti-employee biases.  I don't for one second think Mensinger conjured up COIN on his own - he was just chosen to deliver this mess to a council with an unbreakable majority - a guaranteed pass.  It is this kind of lock-step mentality that generates initiative petitions all over town - people just don't trust their elected leaders to do the right thing.  Well, as the saying goes, "Karma's a bitch!"

Now, as long as COIN is the law in those jurisdictions, the deliberative - slow - process described in in the CRONE legislation will have to be enforced.  That leads us to a question....  Since it applies ONLY to jurisdictions where COIN is the law, I presume those jurisdictions could escape CRONE by simply wiping COIN off the books, right?  I suspect some of those jurisdictions involved might just decide to do that, rather than be forced into a "transparency" situation that might make them more than a little uneasy.  We'll find out soon enough.

And, what do you call a contractor whose presentations fall under this new law?  A "CRONEY"?  Seems just about perfect, don't you think?

A friend observed the similarity in sounding out the name of this new law - CRONE - and the intestinal disease, Crohn's Disease.  He snarkily observed that both are a pain in the gut and both will likely result in a whole lot of effluent being expelled from the alimentary canals - of the humans and the governments.  He may be correct.  It's going to be very interesting to watch this new drama play out.  I suspect we may have just found a new way to enhance the retirement fund of our contract attorney's at Jones & Mayer.  There may be a whole lot of legal stuff going on with CRONE.

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Blogger Joe said...

Be kind to Stevie. Of course he wrote COIN all by himself, just like his last Daily Pilot piece, and many of the plays attributed to "Shakespeare."

10/12/2015 08:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Steve will put his name on what will benefit him politically because - choose one
* you don't understand how politics works
* everyone does it
* it's Wendy's fault
* it's better than what was there before

Yet, he's reluctant to put his name on the DG path. Go figure!

10/12/2015 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I hope there is openness in all the contracts with or without this legislation. Since Rig believes in calling out liars by name, here's one. Righeimer said at a council meeting a few weeks ago, that they are in negotiations with the CMFD and that "they want everything". Actually, that is a lie. There are no negotiations going on and we are approaching a year and a half.

I would really like to see what has been happening to our money. As Mensinger said, there is money flowing into the city like water through a fire hose (his words). So, where is it? We have low reserves, our self-insured fund is in the hole, fireside fund? What a joke.

People deserve to question and know what's going on in this city. These councilmen act like Czars, but they are not.

10/12/2015 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Poor Steve,

The self righteous claims of "transparency" backfired.
Now complete transparency is required!
The council guys can't have that.

10/12/2015 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

COIN, a genius plan to screw over employees and the city. When the pink slips didn't work, when charter one and and two FAILED, miserably, bring in another plan COIN, only to have state legislation invoked, to contain it...
pure chaos at very corner of poor, little CM.

10/13/2015 11:06:00 AM  

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