Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mickadeit's View Of Billy Folsom

By now many of you who are regular readers of Frank Mickadeit's column in the Orange County Register have seen his most recent essay on Costa Mesa fleet mechanic Billy Folsom. If you've not read it you can do so HERE. I occasionally take issue with Mickadeit's presentation on some of his subjects, but this time he got it right.

Folsom, a city employee for three decades, has long been a strong voice
for his peers and since the chaos of the outsourcing and budget-related issues have become white-hot in our city beginning earlier this year he has become one of the most visible, and vocal, spokespersons for the employee's side of the issues. He also has a clear grasp of the larger issues at play, so takes those into account as he presents his views. In every case of his public pronouncements, whether speaking to the City Council or to members of the media, his comments are calm, reasoned and articulate.

On St. Patrick's Day this year, that dark day when 213 employee's received their 6-month outsourcing layoff notices and Huy Pham leaped to his death from the roof of City Hall, Folsom was one of those employees who received his notice. Following the Pham tragedy he was omnipresent at City Hall, calming and consoling fellow employees and speaking with members of the media. At a time when he could have used his access to this bully pulpit to fan the flames of discontent he chose, instead, to speak calmly and clearly as he presented the employee view of this tragedy.


Most recently he was the first speaker to the City Council in "public comments" at the meeting of May 17, 2011. You can see his three minute presentation by clicking HERE. I was at that meeting and was very impressed with Folsom's presentation, but was very disappointed by the apparent lack of attention given to him by members of the City Council.

Thanks to Frank Mickadeit for his accurate presentation of Billy Folsom in his column. I'm confident Folsom will continue to be a voice of reason during these very difficult times.

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Anonymous Kelly Reynolds said...

Geoff- Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, this will help shed some light on the plight of the employees. Does the public know the serious consequences the lay-off notices, Huy Pham's death and GOP nonsense has done to the over-all morale and health of the employees? Many employees have hired attorneys and are waiting for this to play out; nevertheless, due to health concerns, saftey concerns and morale these individuals are sinking fast.

5/26/2011 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks... I suspect they know what they've done but just don't care. From their actions on the dais it's easy to see that their focus is not what's best for the city, but what's best for them and their inflated egos.

5/26/2011 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Interesting take from Folsom. Note, Newport Beach is already moving forward with outsourcing his job over there. Where is that story? Kelly, what are the attorneys for? Do the employees have some legal right to lifetime employment? Why are they any different than the rest of us who go through layoffs on a daily basis? If you ask the average person on the street (as I have) they will tell you that public employees should be paid and treated just the same as private employees. No better, no worse. That means true "at will employment" I can be laid of tomorrow with no notice. Why are you complaining about 6 months? I'd kill for 6 months notice. Most Americans would. For Folsom to continue to politicize this and connect the death of Pham to outsourcing is despicable. Catering to the lowest common denominator seems to be Folsom's strong suit. Too bad. John Moorlach also had a great op ed piece in the Register that I didn't see posted here. Change is always difficult, but it is coming. Clearly, the majority of Costa Mesa residents want financial reform in this City and will support our Council in getting there. The tide has turned.

5/26/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

Kelly Reynolds, Capo Unified has laid off 376 employees. Layoff notices are the norm now, not the exception.

5/26/2011 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Brad Shefmire said...

Long-haired, tattooed, flannel-wearin, harley-ridin, hard working, straight talking City Employee...........suit-wearin, backroom dealing, slick talkin, golf-course home owning, bankers hours politician.

Straight-talker guy get's my vote of confidence!

5/26/2011 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous bra shefmire said...

yeh Barb....."Clear" as mud

5/26/2011 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

I wish Folsom was on our council. I don't like big government neo-cons like Righeimer that care more about their own political career than our city. Folsom sounds like he would put Costa Mesa first.

I want pension reform and salaries trimmed until city revenues are up but I don't want Righeimer or his dirty tricks! Righeimer just doesn't understand our city.

5/26/2011 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Barb, do you also support public employees sharing in the income of the city meaning when the city has a windfall tax year the employees get raises/bonuses based on that? Every single private employee I know is given raises and bonuses, often more the 50% of base salary, when their company has a good year. Why? Those companies that are successful know they must keep employees happy for fear of losing them to another company where they can and will make that company profitable. So, do you support that? That would be equal treatment of public vs. private employees.

5/26/2011 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

I am sorry but what in the world is wrong with fighting for your job? If you had the opportunity to fight wouldn't you? Or would you just let it be taken out from under you?
These guys "calling the shots" are just like those big business people who fire those below them for no other reason but their own gain be it financial, political, or just because knocking people down makes them feel good.

And, just a side note, to hold Moorlach up on some sort of pedestal is just poor taste on your part as well.

5/26/2011 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, good article. Thanks Billy for being the voice of many.

5/26/2011 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Wyatt Earp said:

"Every single private employee I know is given raises and bonuses, often more the 50% of base salary, when their company has a good year."

Wyatt, I don't know what employment market you circulate in, but I can tell you as a small business manager and employee, me and my peers are not seeing anything of the sort.

Geoff, Billy is a good guy and speaks from the heart. Nice of Frank to meet with him and provide another facet to this story.

My conversations with our elected leaders has always included my opinion that we need to make sure we are getting the best value for the taxpayer. Also, that they need to do the research and provide clear facts to the citizens of Costa Mesa on how they are getting the best value for us.

5/26/2011 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Billy is Not the Messiah said...

Billy Folsom is a really nice guy, from what I hear. However, I can't help but wonder if he is a Costa Mesa homeowner and taxpayer. Only a landlord can tell you if a tenant pays property taxes. My rentals operate in the red so I know for a fact that my tenants pay nothing toward my property taxes.

Huy Pham has been praised as a wonderful employee, a man with all kinds of future plans, a loving family, and lots of friends. He was not laid off, only notified of the possibility he could be laid off in six months. I can't help but wonder how he died. I don't recall any kind of public police report, if there was one. There were no witnesses on the roof, no suicide note and no cause to commit suicide. Rumor has it that he removed his shoes before jumping, but that kind of information is readily available on the Internet. Don't these facts warrant a full police investigation? I hate to see this man's life swept under the carpet. Every human life is very, very precious. And, keep in mind that Billy Folsom is no psychiatrist. His opinion is every bit as immaterial as mine. However, common sense should tell you that normal people do not jump off roofs for any cause.

The only message I received from Billy's verbalizations is that he doesn't want to get laid off, or take a pay cut. Well, neither does anybody else. People all over the country are getting laid off right now so our city employees better get a grip. Layoffs are a part of life. If somebody can do a job cheaper in this sick economy, they deserve the job. All of the city employees should be willing to take deep wage cuts in order to save their jobs. If they are unwilling to do that, they deserve to be laid off. Taxpayers don't need friends in city hall, they need employees.

Billy Folsom's thinking will only further decrease our fragile property values. Turning Costa Mesa into a shanty town is not the direction the majority of taxpayers want to go. Our city council is entrusted to maintain the value of our homes and businesses, and that is what they are trying to do. However, I can't help but wonder how much Billy has financially invested in this town. He sounds far more like a union thug than a responsible citizen.

5/26/2011 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Revenue producer said...

I say we give the motorcycle cops bonuses for every ticket they write. I bet they can increase their output by a factor of 10. There are stop signs everywhere in the city; especially near Mesa Verde. I hope this new "business-like" practice doesn't upset the council or residents since after all this is what they wanted, to be run like a business.

5/26/2011 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger bwilcox said...

Billy Folsom you need to run for City Council. People do listen to you. X the crooks!

5/26/2011 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Weinberger said...

AS an employee we realize and acknowledge financial difficulties in today’s economies. Most long-term employees have lived with that realization for several years. We have taken pay-cuts, did without of a cost of living raise for several years, contributed to our PERS (which most cities don’t require) and voted to take 120 unpaid furlough days last year to help balance the budget last fiscal year. The employees have taken proactive steps to encourage job security by working with the City Council to ensure the financial crisis would not impact the City detrimentally. However; constant bullying, demonizing and criticizing a public entity and its employees has to stop. I witness on a daily basis city services being diminished due to lack of city personnel. The personnel who are working are happy to have a job and are doing their jobs with a good attitude and respect to citizens. Can you please offer the same in return? Do me a favor and visit City Hall, look around, say hello to employees and report back your findings. You will agree the City of Costa Mesa has the best employees this city has to offer.

5/26/2011 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

At Tuesday's meeting about the budget did make a number of muddy areas a bit more clear; that CM's financial problems are not going away soon and will not be an easy fix.

CM has been outsourcing many of the City's services (successfully) for years. The reason most don't understand why they have been so successful is that you seldom hear when things are going smooth, just when the s^*& hits the fan.

The sense of entitlement from OUR employees does bother me a bit. We need to remember that the Employee Association has their agenda just as the Fab4 and the OCGOP have theirs.

Once this City's citizens get rid of BOTH outside influences, maybe we would be able to get this "Whose is BIGGGER" under control; we would then be able to get back to healing our wounds.

5/26/2011 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous where there are crooks there's crime said...

Revenue producer, the cops used radar on placentcia between wilson and adams for yeaars. Then about 3 4 years ago they stopped. HMM ahh HMM and some of the other planning comishs went home that way and still do. People still drive 60 on the s curve. But no cops. I wonder if riggy got out of his car there. Maybe the football players and coaches leaving got tickets. Lost revenue at the cost of public safety

5/26/2011 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Granny said...


Should we assume that all of the city employees are loaded on cocaine? Maybe that's what makes them so happy.

Social security recipients haven't had even so much as a cost of living increase for several years. They can't afford to buy cocaine.

So what?

5/26/2011 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billy Folsom for City Council!!

5/26/2011 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous All Republicans Cheat on their wives said...

To Granny-

Your comments are very disrespectful. Should I assume all Republicans cheat on their wives with the maid and while using taxpayers money? We have families, children and careers and I find your comment repulsive. But, I guess as a cheating wife you must feel immune.

5/26/2011 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except now we find out Huy was high on blow..........

Man some people are willing to exploit anything.

How did he break his leg anyway?

5/26/2011 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Anonymous, one must assume he was in the habit of jumping.

5/26/2011 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Lets start the drug testing from the top down.....starting with Rohrbacher.....then cast more stones...


5/26/2011 08:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Barbie said...

Funny how the comments come out against drugs- Doesn't the mayor own a bar and get drunk every night and then drive home? Hmmm.. but I guess it's okay... cause he's the mayor..

5/26/2011 09:45:00 PM  

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