Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Council To Hear OCFA Proposal Today

Just a little reminder that the Costa Mesa City Council, at its study session at 4:30 this afternoon, will hear from representatives of the Orange County Fire Authority about their proposal to take over fire and emergency medical services for the city.

I have no idea what kind of a turnout they expect, but Conference Room 1A is a pretty small venue. The last study session had to be shifted to the council chambers due to the size of the crowd.

There are so
me pretty large holes in this proposal that will need to be addressed. Among them is the extent and cost of "repairs" necessary for every fire station in the city before the transition can take place. Some of those may be necessary and some may simply be frills - I don't know.


While I understand the interest in this proposal - paid for by the Costa Mesa Firefighte
rs Association - but I'm very uneasy about it. We currently have no senior leadership in the Costa Mesa Fire Department. We are without a Fire Chief, a Deputy Fire Chief and a Fire Marshall, each of which would certainly be deeply involved in ANY consideration of this nature. Those leadership vacancies, and the pace at which the new council seems determined to move on "change", makes me very uncomfortable for the future of this city.

At the last council meeting Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer waved a copy of the proposal around from the dais, saying "We didn't ask for this, they did!", referring to the firefighters. Firefighters association President Tim Vasin stood and reminded Righeimer that the reason they offered to pay for this proposal is that there are very few resources available to any city that's interested in having an assessment of their fire operations done. The proposal can be used as a consultant report and provide guidance to the city in any possible re-structuring of the organization. That would be an excellent idea if we had senior leadership in place - but we don't.

However, I doubt very seriously that Righeimer and his buddies are concerned about that. Their goal is to get rid of the pension obligation being carried by ALL employees, including the firefighters. Shifting that burden to the county organization would be just fine with them - we'd just have to write a check to the county for services like he does for his gardener and be done with it.

This proposal doesn't seem to be a particularly good deal for the firefighters. Most, if not all, will have to take a cut in pay and their contributions for medical and retirement will be greater - maybe more than 10%. It's likely that every member of the organization will have a net decrease in their paychecks approaching 20%.

This proposal is for 20 years, with the first and only "opt out" benchmark coming at 10 years. So, if the decision is made to move forward with this it will lock the city into this contract for at least a decade. It's unlikely any of the current council will still be on the dais by that time, although it looks like Gary Monahan is determined to stay up there forever.

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Anonymous Barry P. said...

According to the figures for firefighters on the City's website, if you cut our firefighter's salary 20%, the average firefighter would still make 3 times as much as the average Costa Mesa resident! Yes, 3 times as much!

3/08/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

One thing that's a fact is once it's gone, it's gone forever.
The start-up cost of re-forming a new dept from scratch would be so prohibative that it can not happen. The idea that there is a way out (or back) after 10 or 20 years is in reality not true.
Something to keep in mind about this proposal is that it's the 'new customer' price and OCFA is looking at the 'long picture'. That means that once CMFD is gone and this initial contract comes up for renewal down the road, you are over a barrel and literally... bent over with no choice but to take it.
At that point you'll get the basic county coverage for what ever they say it's going to cost and you'll have little say about it.
Their position at that time will be, if you don't like it... start your own dept.

3/08/2011 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Barry P., so what?! Even if your numbers are true, those "Average Costa Mesa" numbers include day laborers, fry cooks, gardeners, etc. Do you REALLY want to have minimum wage workers responding to an emergency at your house? Give me a break! Start thinking for yourself and quit drinking that Kool-Aid the Righeimer and Mensinger are handing you with a flex straw!

3/08/2011 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Life is good said...

Mr. West, a few weeks ago you accused Mr. Righeimer of trying to steer the city toward bankruptcy. Now you criticize him for trying to cut compensation to help avoid it. The only conclusion that anyone can draw from this is that it will not matter what Righeimer advocates, you will oppose it. Where are YOUR ideas?

3/08/2011 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous mike said...

Decisions have been made and minds made up... the public can say whatever they want at this point, the steamroller is not going to stop.

3/08/2011 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Barry... you just don't have a clue do you. The 'average" includes every unskilled and semi skilled job out there. Public safety employees are educated, trained and motivated professionals. While I'm sure you could step into many of those "average" jobs out there and do that work, I am also sure that you could not step up and be a Police Officer or a Firefighter that was worth a damn even if you were physically capable.
The fact that you think that it will be a good idea to have people in these positions of responsibility being paid at a absolute minimum, shows that you are either very ignorant or very disingenuous.

3/08/2011 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensayted Public Employee

The Evidence:

3/08/2011 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Ease up said...

almostdone: You don't help your case with your bitter, snarky remarks.

3/08/2011 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous here we go again... said...

Hey Geoff-
Not sure if this has already been posted regarding the councils infatuation with outsourcing, but didn't we do that with the city attorney's office. How's that working out by the way? It was sold as a cost savings, was it? I'm fairly confident that it hasn't been. Is the current council going to have selective memory about how that's worked out?

3/08/2011 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Recall Riggy and Mensinger said...

Barry, you are flat out liar. AND BECOMING A WASTE OF TIME. You make crap up just to hear yourself speak.
Here are salary facts from census:
NOTICE THAT OVER 25% OF ORANGE COUNTY MAKES 75K TO 125K, AND 14% OF ORANGE COUNTY MAKE OVER $125K. ( costa mesa avg salary is slightly less and avg about $75k)

Household Income
Costa Mesa O C Calif

$30,000 to $34,999 6.22% 5.17% 5.75%
$35,000 to $39,999 6.42% 5.10% 5.38%
$40,000 to $44,999 5.31% 4.99% 5.18%
$45,000 to $49,999 5.46% 4.57% 4.61%
$50,000 to $59,999 9.51% 8.92% 8.55%
$60,000 t $74,999 13.02% 11.73% 10.58
$75,000 t $99,999 12.46% 13.95% 11.52
$100,000 to $124,999 6.46% 8.97% 6.78%
$125,000 to $149,999 3.80% 4.95% 3.58%
$150,000 to $199,999 3.14% 4.74% 3.35%
$200,000 or more 2.62% 4.82% 3.56%

FACTS: avg Firefighter base pay is $85-90k. (OCFA base is closer to $80k) So again, facts show Barry is an idiot. FIREFIGHTERS ARE AVG AT BEST IN ORANGE COUNTY. but since you admitted that you flipped hamburgers til 67 and don't have a pot to piss in. You blame everyone else for your failures.

3/08/2011 09:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Train Wreck said...

Barry P. you are trully an IDOT. Your numbers are what ever u make up. Did you not stand in the right line and couldnt be a Cop or Fire man??? Get your numbers straight you lucky your stupid comments get posted.

3/09/2011 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous The Truth said...

Life is good..... Check out the article from McClatchy Washington Bureau. Posted March 06,2011 Why employee pensions aren't bankrupting states....The truth is written and this will shed more light and take the air out of the pension issue,,,,,

3/09/2011 09:16:00 PM  

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