Thursday, March 31, 2011

Geoff & Steve - Conjoined Twins

Last weekend, frustrated by recent events in Costa Mesa - the low-point of which was the St. Patrick's Day suicide by Huy Pham on the day he had been called in to work to receive a 6-month layoff notice along with more than 200 of his peers - I sat down and wrote a long - too long - commentary and sent it off to the Daily Pilot editors for their consideration. I received word later that they planned to publish it on Wednesday. You can read it HERE.

I did not know that non-elected city councilman Steve Mensinger had su
bmitted a commentary with what amounted to an opposing view at about the same time. I was advised by the editors of the Daily Pilot that mine would appear Wednesday in print and Mensinger's would appear Thursday and that they would be paired in the online editions, which is just what happened. You can read Mensinger's piece HERE.

When I read Mensinger's contribution I found myself wondering if he had actually written it, or did recently-hired PR consultant Bill Lobdell create it for him as part of his assignment to "create a communication structure that will make Costa Mesa the most transparent government in the nation"? I've read some of Mensinger's work in the past and this one was much more polished, even though not without gaffes. For example, he referred to "RFPs" as "Reports for Proposal". I'd expect a guy who, although an appointee to both the planning commission and the city council, to know that acronym is for "Requests for Proposals". However, history has demonstrated that "close is good enough" for him and his cronies.

Both of our commentar
ies have spun the old Daily Pilot hit counter like slot machines gone berserk. At this writing each has well over 50 comments posted although in the case of my commentary, a dozen of those comments are by one lunatic so in love with his "skill" that he just kept blathering on and on, serially posting drivel that meant nothing at all.

I really don't have a problem with being conjoined with Mensinger's commentary - I think it's good for the community to have a chance to view and consider opposing views of the same issue in real time.

Since the tragedy on St. Patrick'
s Day, when Mayor Gary Monahan was appropriately criticized for not showing up at City Hall to evaluate the situation and to console staffers, the media attention on Costa Mesa has been white-hot. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer has been omnipresent on local and national television and on the radio in a campaign reminiscent of Allan Mansoor's "anti-illegal alien" media blitz a few years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if the same strategists planned both campaigns. Some of that attention has painted this issue as a "unions vs. politicians" event, the perception of which was exacerbated by Orange County Employee Association President Nick Beradino's display of cell phone photos of Monahan in his kilt, having a rousing good time while the folks at City Hall were in shock.

And that was further e
xacerbated by a professionally-created video ad, using clips of Monahan and the bogus press conference called the day after the tragedy, being distributed locally on cable TV this week. The media has, once again, covered this like a blanket and have tried to find the group responsible for its creation - a group called "Repair Costa Mesa". The ad is available on the group's web site, HERE.

About that "group"... I used quotation marks because it is my understanding that this a group of residents from neighborhoods all over the city who were
concerned about the method and pace of the changes the current city council were trying to impose on the city and wanted to "do something" about it. The only names associated with the group that have been made public are former mayor Sandra Genis and outspoken activist Greg Ridge. Former Fountain Valley councilman Gus Ayer's name was connected to the video by a union representative, but he has adamantly denied any involvement in its production or distribution. It is my understanding that the launch of the video ad was made by Ridge, operating on his own without consultation nor approval by the rest of the group. The media and members of the opposition are frothing to get the names of the others in the group.

In my opinion,
the ad - while powerful and accurate in the presentation - was a bad idea. Clearly, there has been a huge backlash - not only by those you might expect to hear from in the Monahan/Righeimer/Mensinger camp, but by members of the broader community, as well. Enthusiasm apparently dulls memories, because this is similar to the backlash that occurred when the Costa Mesa Police Association began hauling the anti-Righeimer ad trailer around town last fall.


Don't get me wrong. I think Monahan made a couple huge mistakes two weeks ago. First,
when he chose to stay at his pub pulling beer taps and celebrating what he told a television crew was, "the biggest day of my life" instead of going to City Hall to evaluate the situation and console the staff - as any good mayor would have done - and second, when he approved and participated in the press conference-that-wasn't-a-press conference the next day. That one could have, and should have, simply been done with a press release. Instead, they gathered a small gaggle of "credentialed media" in a cramped, hastily-created press room in a conference room on the 5th floor of City Hall and had CEO Tom Hatch read a prepared statement. The four council members in attendance then filed out before the cameras, ignoring the requests and demands of the media members for comments.

In attendance at that press conference was new PR guy, Bill Lobdell, so one must assume he had some part of this fiasco. Perhaps this was a way of setting the low water mark for transparency - a spot from which things can only get better. I guess we'll see.


As I watch the current elected leaders push their agenda, bully the staff, manipulate
the "facts" to accommodate their dogma and ignore the advice of their professional staff as they go about destroying our city, I cannot help but think of my friend, Bruce Garlich. Tomorrow, at 2:00 at Pacific View Memorial Park, many of his friends and family will meet at a memorial service to remember our friend and to offer words about his selfless volunteerism and true leadership in our community. I will miss my friend's wise counsel and compassion and find myself wondering what his views would have been about what is happening in his city today. Rest in Peace, my friend.

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Blogger Mike Brumbaugh said...

Geoff, I agree with you on your comments against running the "Repair Costa Mesa" ad. We all agree this city is in need of fixing and so much time is being wasted on negative result driven campaigns. I am not saying the group is wrong to take a stand but lets work to unite the citizens to pursue positive solutions. I don't know the answer but now is the time to stand together and slow things down so we can figure a direction that will hold us together not tear us apart even more.

3/31/2011 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Michael S., perfectly put!

3/31/2011 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous checkyoursix said...

how dare righeimer take advantage of the crisis !? unions would never stoop so low

3/31/2011 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

6, never said they wouldn't or didn't... it's politics at it's worst on both sides.

3/31/2011 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

I agree that it's time to stop the political polarization and personal attacks. It's time to focus on the issues and the facts. Here's one:

In the mid-year budget report submitted to the City Council by the Finance Department in January, it was reported that revenues exceeded projections by $6.6 million dollars. Yet, in today's Daily Pilot, Councilmember Mensinger states, "...revenues for this fiscal year...have been less than projected...."

I can see only two possible explanations for this apparent conflict of information: either Councilmember Mensinger is lying to us, or he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Either way, I can't help but think the "budget crisis" is only a smokescreen for a larger agenda, and both the budget and the truth are irrelevant.

3/31/2011 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ttularc said...

Everyone on here knows that our "budget" is what the City thinks it will bring in, right? Services are cut out of the budget at the expense of other services. Everyone on here saying we are "on budget" may or may not be correct, but our current budget doesn't fund some necessary things. If a few services are outsourced and the city can spend that money on residents it is a good thing.

3/31/2011 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

ttularc, your theory is fine except that's not what is really happening here. If you paid attention during the election and since you saw the agenda - pension reform. In our case, the city has not asked the bargaining units to visit that issue. Instead, Righeimer is taking the relatively easy out and simply getting rid of those folks with pensions. It doesn't take a skilled manager to do that, nor a skilled negotiator - all it takes is a majority and the will to fire several hundred people and not worry about the short or long-term repercussions. We've already seen some of the short-term effects and the long-term impact is equally scary.

3/31/2011 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous ttularc said...

I'm not so sure the council members are being too hasty. The fact that there has to be a six month layoff notification says alot about who has been "winning" at the bargaining table. If the current city staff can do the same job for the same pay as a private company they will retain their jobs - if that isn't the case then we will all know that Righeimer is beating to a different drummer and have reason to be upset. All I know is that the things I grew up doing in Costa Mesa (after school program, basketball) are gone. I was hoping my kids would get to enjoy all the services that I had growing up, but they won't get to.

3/31/2011 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

ttularc, if they were sincere about seeking cost effective outsourcing why would they include on their list two units that just had an assessment done which demonstrated that the two groups, graffiti removal and street sweeping, are more cost effective than outside firms? The fact that they were even on the list demonstrates that Righeimer and Monahan - the council sub-committee that created it - don't really care about "facts". You are correct to be concerned... I've lived here going on 38 years and I'm VERY concerned about the future of this city.

They preach that we need more "young couples with kids". Well, what young couple with kids is going to move here when public safety and the youth sports and activities you mentioned have been cut?

3/31/2011 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I generally agree with you that the "repaircostamesa" campaign so far seems flawed.

I guess the good news is that anyone conscious in the last 2 weeks now knows what Monahan did on 3/17/11, and what Riggy and Menssy are up to. A start.

Now an abundance of TRUTH like what you write in this blog and the DP article is needed to counter the outright lies by the Three Stooges.

3/31/2011 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

I'm a 'young couple' with kids, and these clowns don't speak to me - and they're my 'neighbors' in Mesa Verde... well, at least my kids are young, anyway... honestly, if I thought I could sell my house and at least break even, I'd consider it, and I was born and raised here and have been here the better part of my 44+ years. It's sad, because once the services go in the toilet, not too many young couples are going to want to live here. On the other hand, houses might be a lot cheaper since it will be such a crappy place to call home, so they might be able to afford it.

3/31/2011 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous WakeUPCoastMesa said...

Recall please, that the third former City Attorney's last act was to say NO to the concept of layoff notices prior to an opportunity to do a proper due diligence of alternatives and cost of contracting and quality of service. The new latest City Attorney who is with the same law firm as the former one, said oaky doodle to virtually the same question. By the way, best recollection of the prior booted honest lawyers: #1 City Attorney was Scheer, #2 was Wood. And, after the November election the last and best City Manager Allan Roeder "decided" to retire. Now we have the new Council approved C.E.O. who can't say NO either. Was Mayor Monahan one of the two members of the Committee of Two who approved and recommended "The draconian Plan"? I am not a City employee nor member of a union. Just my opinions.

3/31/2011 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Mr. West, here you go again. You agree with Michael S. that so much time is being wasted on negativity, yet your blog is full of negativity and sometimes personal remarks or insinuations about Righeimer and Mensinger.

You did the same thing a week or two ago when you lamented the lack of community involvement in the issues but slammed the CMTA for organizing to express their views.

That's one point. The other is with regard to Lobdell. We are known by the company we keep. If you sense that he scrubbed Mensinger's column, it could easily be so. That fact should also be revealed as a matter of transparency, which is what the city is striving for. But last year, Lobdell chose to closely align himself with one of the slimiest con men in recent American history, Barry Minkow, who, by the way, just pled guilty to more felony charges. My expectations for the city's PR are low because PR people by their very nature, are not predisposed to telling the whole truth. That's why they are also called "spin doctors."

3/31/2011 08:01:00 PM  
Anonymous OC Progressive said...

As Mayor Pro Tem Righeimer has promoted himself all over the media, he has repeated a number of statements that appear suspect. One is his repeated claim that "CalPERS projects that pensions will increase from 15 million to 25 million in five years"

CalPERS never projected any such thing.

Instead Mr. Righeimer is relying on a staff PowerPoint that still lacks any real documentation, despite multiple verbal, written, and email requests by a number of individuals.

I read every document the city provide, then wrote about it in depth here

Mr. Mensinger's comments are also dubious when he says "revenues for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, have been less than projected" . How can that be when the voters passed an increase in the hotel tax in November, and sales, property, and motor vehicle fees are all coming in above budget? At the February study session, the PowerPoint slide number 5 showed this year's projections coming in 5 million above projections.

If these claims are exaggerated, and there really is no pension crisis or budget crisis, then what was the rush to leap into pink slips and hundreds of thousands of expenditures on overpriced attornies and consultants?

3/31/2011 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ttularc said...

Obviously I don't have the answers and I am not sure what numbers to believe but the whole "the budget gap is made up" argument is somewhat misleading because services that I see as vital to a thriving community are left out or diminished. I am sure outsourcing some departments will save the city money, and some should stay in house if they are more cost effective or even if keeping them in house at a premium makes sense for some reason. Honestly it is surprising that graffiti removal and streetsweeping can be done more cost effectively by the City. I do think giving out the pink slips at this point is warranted only because if it take six months to figure out if savings can be acheived it will take another six months to enact any change. Also, from my point of view, a 6 month layoff notice is more than generous.

3/31/2011 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Pot Stirrer, I must correct one thing you posted here. Every employee has addressed the pension issue at the bargaining table. City employees pay the full share of the cost of their pensions and the cops and firefighters now pay over 50% of the employee contribution toward the cost of their pensions. The cops contributions alone will save $4 million over the next four years. The problem is this council is already wanting to spend some of that savings, and that is partially how Mensinger is distorting and misleading the public regarding this alleged "deficit" for next fiscal year.

3/31/2011 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous 401k said...

The city should not pay one dime of the employee contribution to any pension. With hundreds laid off and services cut to the bone, paying any portion of the employee contribution is obscene.

The city should not be in the pension business. Get out of calpers, start a 401(k) and let social security pick up the slack. that is what the public does.

3/31/2011 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

OC Progressive, I'm not surprised. He's a bad businessman and clearly not a fiscal conservative. He cares more about ideology than common sense. It's no wonder he had so many financial difficulties for so many years.

I want a council that is open and honest. Ever since Righeimer got elected we have lost openness and honesty. They are trying to push this agenda through before people realize what happened.

Unfortunately the word is already out, if you are a good police officer, don't work in Costa Mesa. If you are a good fire fighter, don't work in Costa Mesa. If you are a good civil servant, don't work in Costa Mesa.

What's even worse is that the word is out for criminals too. Fewer cops, no police helicopter, slower response times, and an incompetent council lead by the anti-public safety Righeimer. We now welcome illegal immigrants, gangs, bank robbers, rapists, and others.

If Righeimer isn't recalled soon, this city will be a shell of it's former self.

3/31/2011 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous uniclare said...

I am just very concerned about Greg Ridge and his cronies acting in secrecy. What are they hiding?

For a vocal advocate of transparency, Greg Ridge shouldn't be using the same sleazy tactics that he decries in others.

4/01/2011 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Governor Brown's proposed pension reforms would prohibit any government agency from picking up any part of the employees' share of pension costs. This will roll back the decisions made by many local governments, who negotiated to pick up the employees' share of costs instead of increasing wages.

Costa Mesa uses a survey to pay the average total compensation of other local cities. This has served them very well, meaning they don't lose their best employees to other local cities just because the pay is substantially lower.

Unfortunately, after watching the behavior of the current Council, dozens of employees are applying to other cities. This is a dangerous phenomenon for public safety, since Costa Mesa's Fire Department is already stretched thin after significant cuts, and police face the likelihood that Costa Mesa will become a "training department", hiring the recruits other agencies don't want, then losing them after they have two to three years of training.

4/01/2011 06:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

OC Progressive, I agree with everything you said, specifically CMPD becoming a training ground for other cities. Just so we are all clear, it costs about $100,000 to hire and train a recruit police officer before they ever hit the street. Do the math, 22 cops laid off x $100,000 per cop. That is an investment in other cities police departments.

Also, the reason cities agreed to pick up the employee contribution was because it was ZERO for a long time. In fact, every city paid ZERO (no employee or city contribution) for a long time. Costa Mesa paid nothing towards the cost of cops pensions from 1989 to 2002 because of strength of the return on investments. Do you think they save any of that money? Of course they didn't. The cops realize that mistake can't be corrected at this time. However, the city has continued to ignore suggestions/requests for ways to enhance revenue or save money. The city took control of $16 million when they switched the cops to the PERS 3@50 from the city 3@50 in 2001 or 2002. Any guess how much of that $16 million they saved? Exactly. How much should the cops sacrifice under such circumstances? At what point would anyone say enough is enough?

The employees, cops and firefighters have met EVERY single concession demand from the city since 2009 saving millions of dollars up to this point with millions more in savings to come. What does the city do? You guessed it, they proposed more spending. Hardly fiscal conservatism.

The city spent well over $500,000 attempting, unsuccessfully, to buy the fairgrounds. They wasted over $500,000 when they let cops contract expire last year without coming to an agreement. The cops made proposals 3 months in advance of the expiration in anticipation of this, but the city ignored them. This council has already committed to over $239,000 in new spending during the first few months of this year. Can we all see now why the employees, cops and firefighters are weary of any further concessions when the council will obviously continue to recklessly spend money? Mensinger is fond of the OCGOP catch phrase "spending problem". It would appear this council has exactly that since they think it is a good idea to have new spending during this time.

4/01/2011 07:02:00 AM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

OC Progressive speaks the truth.
Wages for public safety have been managed by simply paying the average of the surrounding like cities in OC. Not union thugery. Not the highest, not the lowest but the average of what the competition pays. That attracts and keeps quality people in an important job.
When you become a "undesirable" employer like Costa Mesa has instantly become, you take what you can get. While there will never be a problem filling the uniforms, it will become a problem when they start screwing up and the law suits begin.
A neighboring city just gave a open recruitment for police officers. Nearly 10% of the Costa Mesa PD was there.
These other cities are not to be held accountable for accepting these highly trained and experienced officers. It's not their responsibility to support Costa Mesa when it's being run by screw-ups.

4/01/2011 07:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Allow me to provide another example of how the city is and has been mismanaged. CMPD currently assigns 3 officers full time to South Coast Plaza duty. They handle in custody theft suspects, reports, alarms, etc. at SCPL. The city pays the ENTIRE cost of those officers. If the total compensation (this councils favorite scare tactic) is $150,000 per officer, then the total cost to taxpayers is $450,000 for police officers on private property.

Compare and contrast this to Anaheim PD. Anaheim PD assigns several officers (I do not know the exact number) to the Downtown Disney detail. Several of the shifts are covered by officers outside the detail working overtime only. Disney pays the ENTIRE cost of these officers on their private property. This is written into the contract between the city and Disney. BTW, Anaheim has a 15% TOT for hotels, including those in their resort area.

If there are no longer any "sacred cows" (I cant remember which councilperson said this), then why is SCPL not being made to pay the full cost of the officers assigned there? I thought my Republican friends were not fond of taxpayer subsidies. They are apparently ok with those for private companies, such as those at SCPL. Removing those officers from SCPL detail or having SCPL pay the full cost would provide an immediate savings to the city of at least $450,000. Yes, removing those officers would lower service to someone. SCPL businesses would have to wait longer for those in custody for theft, or for reports or alarm calls, etc, as they would be forced to wait in line for service like the rest of us. Any chance this council would lower service to Republican friendly businesses? Exactly.

4/01/2011 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Wyatt Earp, that quotation was attributed to our mayor, Gary Monahan.

Interesting thesis...

4/01/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous OC Progressive said...


Just curious. Was the idea of letting scplaza fund its own police costs one of the hundreds of cost saving and revenue generating ideas submitted to the City that wer ignored?

4/01/2011 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Nice work if you can get it! said...

Max, your "don't work in Costa Mesa" line exposes the flawed mentality of the entitled government worker. Good cities all over the country are facing the exact same problems as CM and the 50 United States have as much as $5 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities. Anyone who uses that rationale to look for government work is going to be unemployed for a very long time.

4/01/2011 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Hey "Nice Work"... Costa Mesa won't have any problem getting people to work those PD jobs. Just not the ones that can work for somebody else. Hell, they can find people who will strap on a gun and badge that will do it for minimum wage just so they can get out there and kick you in the ass because they think it's fun.
The point that people like you just refuse to understand is Costa Mesa hasn't paid more than any body else for their employees. When they pay less they will get less. That doesn't have anything to do with public employment. That's the free market you keep talking about. Private industry knows they get what they pay for. It's the obvious difference between In N Out Burger and McDonalds. Some can do just fine with minimum. The ones that can't... pay.

4/01/2011 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Nice Work, I'm not sure why a cop would work in Costa Mesa for less pay or benefits than surrounding cities. Maybe if they lived here and had ties to this city. Otherwise, it's just like any other city.

Plus, there is the whole low moral issue. No one likes working for a city with a city council like ours.

Most complaints of former council people were centered around an issue here or there. ie. Some people were for ICE enforcement and some people were against it. What's going on right now is entirely different. Righeimer is carelessly and recklessly selling the soul of our city. Imagine a city as bland as Irvine with a bunch of greedy dirtbags abusing city contracts, offering worse service, and creating an environment of low moral across all city jobs.

It's not too late to recall the incompetent Riggy who's only lived here for four years and his unelected friend Mensinger. We deserve better. We deserve a council that will balance the budget, cut spending when necessary, not lie about the numbers on the charts they come up with, and not worsen the already low moral.

4/01/2011 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

A recall is definitely in order. However nothing can really be done until Riggy and Mensy have been in office 6 months. I say get the paperwork in order now and submit the day it is legal to.

4/02/2011 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous WakeUPCoastMesa said...

Rodger that Max. However, in my opinion, omitting Mayor Monahan from a recall slate is a mistake. He and Righeimer were the "committee of two" creators and purveyors of 'The Plan'. Righeimer unleashed the real Monahan who has always portrayed the "I'm for the little guy" smooth talking politician exterior that fooled so many people. Every Council member except Wendy is justly eligible for recall, especially the three "sacred cows", in their own minds, Council thugs. Mayor Monahan wants no "sacred cows" therefore he and the others should be the first to go. They are about to destroy the fabric of exceptional services to this community and its families. NEVER FORGET.

4/02/2011 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice work if you can get it! said...

Max: Your point about "No one likes working for a city with a city council like ours" is precisely the entitlement mentality that government workers have to get over in order for them to deal with their new normal. There isn't a single reader of this blog who hasn't worked for a boss they did not like or who is self-employed and has a good customer they don't like. That's life in the private sector: Welcome to our world. So if you or anyone else doesn't "like" our city council, move on - we don't want you and your bad attitude here while you take the tax dollars we sweat to earn. You and almostdone any another government worker can tell me until doomsday that our pending new compensation won't attract the people we need or want but guess what: I'm willing to take that chance and so are a lot of Costa Mesans. The days of "retiring" (which really means a ticket to double-dipping) at 50 or 55 with most of your pay are over, not just here but in almost every desirable city in the country. The sooner y'all get your head around that, the better off you'll be, cuz my fellow CM citizens and I are already there. It's not a Righeimer thing, it's not a Mensinger thing or any other people thing - you're just using them as bogeymen to have a convenient target and play victim. This is a money thing. So unless you can come up with a way to pay for the ticket on the generous compensation train you've ridden for decades, please stop whining and get back to work.

4/02/2011 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

"Nice Work".....You make it sound as if you are speaking for ALL Costa Mesans and that those who are speaking against what is going on are just a few liberals and all of the city employees. Let's make this clear. Righeimer recieved ONLY 12997 votes. 39% of the polls. That is it and really I am not convinced that very many of those voters knew just who exactly they voted for. But we can pretend they did. Now there are about 61% of the voters who DID NOT vote for him. So lay out your b.s. all you want but you speak for a very small minority of the community. The majority of the community is quite ticked off by what is going on and at those who are doing all sorts of sneaky, dirty things to make it happen. I have heard from many that council has been slammed with complaints of their choices and behaviors and they just brush them under the rug. You are standing up for, and it has been said time and time again, guys who have FAILED in the business arena. They couldn't manage money then and they can't do it now.
THEY are the ones using the employees as their scapegoats and nonsense rhetoric. Tell me why anyone should listen to what the councilMEN have to say when one barely made into council by the skin of his teeth and the other's only chance of getting in was by riding in on his buddy's coat tails.

In my opinion you and those losers have nothing but diarrhea of the really should take something for that.

4/02/2011 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Nice work if you can get it, what you are curiously leaving out of your public vs private comparison is the cost to either when employees either don't pan out or leave for greener pastures. A company or city still bears a cost to hire, train and employee people, even in "righty tighty, lefty loosey" labor jobs. Take cops for example, it is generally agreed in law enforcement the cost to hire (6-12 month background), train (academy and field) and ultimately employ an officer is a minimum of $100,000. Officers are generally don't hit their stride until they have about 5 years on. This is where they have learned from "rookie" mistakes, investigations are more complete, liability is lessened, etc. Would it make any business sense to pay such low wages that an officer with any time on would look elsewhere because other agencies pay significantly more money? Of course if would not as the cost to continue this process would soon be overwhelming. Besides, does Google, Microsoft or anyone other company want to see it's talent go to the competition.

I know what you are thinking. We are not in competition with Irvine. Think about that for a minute. My answer is sure we are. I want motivated, hard working officers in my city that want to make a difference. I do not want officers with one foot out the door to another agency that treat Costa Mesa as they agency that paid for their training and experience that can now be taken elsewhere to benefit another community.

CMPD has generally avoided such issues up to this point due in large part to the fact they paid no less than the average for the surrounding cities (HB/NB/SA/IRV/OCSD). The cops knew they would never be paid the most in the county as Irvine and the Sheriff's consistently are, but they also knew they could never be paid the lowest. This provides genuine reasons to remain use the training, knowledge and experience to benefit this community. Take that away and their is no reason to stay. The knowledge and experience can and will benefit another community paid for by the City of Costa Mesa.

4/02/2011 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous nonpublicworker said...

The people who work for residents of this city are rated by the residents for doing a good or better job by a 81% to 18% majority. 59% of residents are opposed to outSOURcing as against 34% who do.Who appointed you King to speak for the people? The two Poll questions were well and properly drafted (see Daily Pilot, Saturday April 2, 2011). The tally was even broken down by ideology of each respondent. The Poll has more professionalism, consideration and transparency then anything seen from the new City Council. Some in the private sector have always looked down on public service jobs since those who do them give up the chance for the "gold ring" offered by the private sector jobs. Except those few who decided that getting elected to a public office can afford an opportunity to "operate" a gold mine. IT becomes the "nice work if you can get it". """"""""" My opinion.

4/02/2011 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Nice work if you can get it! said...

Drum roll is: Bill Lobdell

Quit demonizing the employees and get out of Costa Mesa.

4/02/2011 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Nice work if you can get it! said...

Drum Roll is : Bill Lobdell

Take your job and shove it Bill!!

4/02/2011 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Years ago, police and fire depts here were paid substancially lower then their counterparts in Los Angeles county. Cities like Long Beach were happy to take trained and experienced officers and skip the expense and trouble of a new guy getting up to speed.
As Orange County developed and the need for more professional services became important, the dept heads and city managers had to do what was necessary to attract and retain good people.
The cities were not only in competition with LA but also their neighbors in OC and the salaries and benefits today are a result of that.
It was all about getting and keeping good people for the job.

Now we have Costa Mesa going backwards and anybody who thinks that the quality of the officers available to replace those who leave and the service they provide won't suffer, just doesn't know anything about it.

The fact is though... the council doesn't care. They hope there are difficulties because the answer to that is the Sheriffs Dept. That's what they really want to do and just can't bite off that big of a chunk yet with everything else going on.
If they're still around in a year or two, you'll be reading about that here too.
I suspect the liability issue that will be a result of a justifiable suit against the PD will be their argument for that. And it that point they won't be wrong.

4/02/2011 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Nice work if,

Well, Google attracts some of the most talented employees around in pretty much every field imaginable. Is it because they pay less and give them fewer benefits than competing tech companies? Nope.

I'm not sure why a contractor who pays less salary and offers fewer benefits is going to attract a better employee than a city that offers less salary and fewer benefits.

I don't work for the city of Costa Mesa by the way. However, when I chose the current job I'm at, it had nothing to do with whether or not it was a private company, corporation, or government agency. I chose this particular job because it was best for myself at the time.

Mr. Nice Work, your views of how to successfully run a city or a corporation are medieval if you think giving employees less somehow makes them work harder.

I'm headed to In n Out burger right now. Their employees get paid more and treated better than any other fast food place I know of. And guess what, it shows.

4/02/2011 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Nice work if you can get it! said...

Concerned for Cm, Wyatt Earp and everyone else who has had the sweet public employee life for too many years: I'm tired of trying to get you to understand that those days are OVER. GONE. Get it through your heads that no matter what you say, your world is being rocked, big time. You have a choice. though. You can either push water uphill by trying to turn back the clock, or you can accept your fate - the new normal - or find another career. In other words, you can do what the rest of us in the private sector have been doing for decades. This is my last post on this subject. Good-bye.

4/02/2011 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

I can't imagine anyone wanting to work in "Nice Work's" demented vision of a great city government or corporation.

4/03/2011 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous for real said...

I went to highschool with a girl who just got hired as a cop for a city in LA. While in highschool she was suspended multiple times for drinking alcohol in class, fighting, and other behavior issues. She got in several fights in college. She lies to everyone she meets about all aspects of her life; where she went to college, her background etc. She was booted out of LAPD academy for cheating on a writen test one week before she was supposed to graduate. (it is hard to get booted from that academy) She has cheated her way through OCSA- when not cheating she was unable to critically think her way through simple academy scenarios like how to handle a misdemeanor not committed in her presence. She has failed multiple background checks for Orange County Agencies and she has been picked up by a desperate LA agency that did an abreviated background. This agency has a reputation for hiring officers that no other agency will hire. Any officer who is decent leaves within five years to a different agency. The other officers are thugs who have so many bad traits and incidents under their belts they cannot be hired by any other agency anywhere. I have no doubt this female officer will be the same. She will be a risk management nightmare between her lying, loose morals, continued alcohol abuse, and fighting mentality. She will cost her department a lot of money in claims, lawyers, etc. Costa Mesa's reputation has changed from a place where cops wanted to work to a place to avoid- in fact a laughing stock. That means only people who can't get hired elsewhere will apply. Those who are decent will leave asap after probation is over to Newport, Irvine, or even Santa Ana, (cities that continually hire) the leftover hires will have issues like this female. There's nothing like a lying, fighting, useless cop to make you proud of your community right? I prefer the officers we have now, and the department that can still fire officers/employees who do the wrong thing, instead of sweeping them under the rug like other departments do. At least there is still honor at CMPD, for now.

4/03/2011 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous What County is this? said...

My opinion. For Real got it Right! Lets see. Costa Mesa, abruptly under questionable circumstances dumped its in-house City Attorney, the result of which cost the City nearly one million dollars. At that time, one of our current Council members said would supposedly save money by contracting out the legal department to a private law firm plus have higher levels of service (to whom?). Bid low to start with and promise whatever to get the contract and then what? Little oversight by anyone independent and capable of knowing what to look for, more claims that get paid off for too much money plus more litigation due to questionable legal advice and judgement? It does provide the Council majority to arbitrarily, no explanation, and no transparency instantly change the current contract City Attorney if that person displeases them for saying NO to one that says YES. COOL! Presently, there is no permanent Police Chief, Finance Director or Fire Chief. Just ducky. We are a City not G.M. or a Cable Company. We are in America. Not Iran or China. Here, leaders are supposed to listen to and serve the PEOPLE. Not themselves. In the wrong hands: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, so it is said. In the case of Costa Mesa I believe and hope that it is not a set-up for corruption but rather misplaced IDEOLOGY run AMUCK!

4/03/2011 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

The majority of comments here seem to focus on the CMPD. Remember this city coun-sell is on a morale crashing mission to destroy the entire city and ALL city employees. So just as the CMPD won't be able to keep or attract high quality personnel, the same goes for every function of local government. The building inspectors, engineers, office support, dispatchers, planners, code enforcement, jailers and every other worker the city counts on to run efficiently and safely.
I wonder if mensinger would like his beloved Estancia football team to be run this way? they could hire inexperienced and unmotivated coaches and trainers that no other team wanted. they could buy used third rate helmets and pads. Who wants to play on that team ?

4/03/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous What Country is this? said...

A really different GOP? Residents of Costa Mesa. You will like it once we do it and then you'll see. Right out of the old playbook: Adversity is an Opportunity. We know best so just shut up and wait for the results whatever that turns out to be. After which Humpty Dumpty and all his men couldn't put Costa Mesa back again.

4/03/2011 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous ProudAmerican said...

The Progressive branch of the GOP who appear to have decided what to do and just need to wait out the six month employee notice requirement, and pretend to research the decision already decided and make it final so that we, the public, will be able to read about it and like it or not we got it. How cool is that?
Humpty Dumpty Riggheimer and Kings men Mensinger and Monahan could't put Costa Mesa back together again. Nor could anyone else after the it's dismantled. Your will love contractors with an attitude like our City leaders, and County services who are already spread to thin. (My opinions).

4/03/2011 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous My Opinion said...

Mayor Monahan, Councilmen Righeimer and Mensinger.

4/03/2011 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous well actually said...

Feral you are right and your estancia teams sounds very similar to the bad news bears, without the happy ending... or maybe with if you go to the massage parlours at Fair Dr. and Harbor. Happy hunting men.

4/03/2011 06:54:00 PM  

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