Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Budget Meeting Schedule Released


Late this afternoon Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell issued a Press Release with the following information related to future budget-related meetings scheduled this month. The following is that schedule, plus my observations.

Six meetings in June scheduled to address City’s 2011-2012 budget

This month, the City of Costa Mesa will hold five public meetings and a question-and-answer session with City employees that will focus on the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The City has already held several meetings in May that focused on various aspects of the 2011-2012 budget. Citizens can view the presentations on the city’s website.

The meeting schedule for June is below. Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall and will broadcast live on CMTV and the Internet. The meetings can also be watched via streaming video anytime on the city website.

* June 7, 2011, City Council meeting, 6 p.m. City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch will provide an update on the 2011-2012 budget along with any other relevant information. Although not directly related to the 2011-2012 budget process, an update on the Request for Proposal (RFP), or outsourcing, process will be provided.

* June 14, 2011, City Council study session, 4:30 p.m. City directors will give an overview of their department’s goals for 2011-2012 and be available for questions. City CEO Tom Hatch will present an organizational restructuring plan for the Costa Mesa Police Department. He also will make his final recommendations for the 2011-2012 budget.

* June 16, 2011, budget question-and-answer session with City employees, time and place to be determined. CEO Hatch and Budget and Research Officer Bobby Young will provide a budget overview and answer budget questions from City employees. The meeting is expected to last 90 minutes.

* June 16, 2011, budget question-and-answer session with the public, 6 p.m. City Hall conference room 1A. In an informal setting, CEO Tom Hatch and finance staff will answer budget questions from the public. The meeting is expected to last two hours.

* June 21, 2011, City Council meeting, 6 p.m. This date is reserved for resolving any outstanding issues arising from the two months of public meetings about the budget. The City Council may vote to adopt the 2011-2012 budget.

* June 28, 2011, special City Council meeting, 6 p.m. (if necessary) This date is reserved for resolving any final issues. The City Council may vote to adopt the 2011-2012 budget.


I must observe that this series of meetings, combined with those in May, are unprecedented in the history of this city. In years past only a very few residents took the time to attend the few study sessions that were held and even fewer attended the public question and answer session. Last year 12 attended, but in the immediate three previous years only three or four of us took advantage of the opportunity.

In my view, this has been a mixed blessing because, while all the previous meetings this cycle have been well-attended, it has been because so many jobs are on the line. In some ways this is like watching a train wreck occur before your eyes. You don't want to watch the carnage, but can't take your eyes off it.

Personally, I'm continuing to hope that the four men on the city council will push political dogma aside and do what is really right for the future of this city. I continue to hope that they, and the bargaining units, will find a way to come together and resolve what is clearly a disaster unfolding. I hope, knowing just how unlikely this is to happen, particularly in light of the comments made by Jim Righeimer at Tuesday's Study Session. When he called for the staff to just give him the head count so we can get on with it - meaning how many bodies must we sacrifice so he can pretend he's solving the "pension crisis" in our city - it made me shudder.

In two weeks we will know if this council will approve a balanced budget without the use of Fund Balance, as assured by CEO Tom Hatch. As I type this the budget is just under $1 million short of making that goal. I'm not quite sure what kind of a rabbit Hatch intends to pull out of his hat, but I fear it might be in the form of a dozen employees. That would be a real shame.

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Anonymous OCLonghair said...

What a wonderful time to be alive.

Geoff, in a conversation I had last week the issue of auditing payroll came up. I was suggested that most CEOs do this so to protect themselves from the prior CEO's watch. Has this been done?

I would be a hoot to see how many checks are being sent out or auto deposited (or both) to persons not employed, retired, to a spouse... ect.

I think that over the next 3 pay periods our trusted employees should be made to pick up their check in person and sign a document (with proof of ID and City badge)... just thinking.

If there were any improprieties Mr Hatch would be a hero and save his bacon in one smart accounting move.

6/01/2011 09:15:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

His shoes were taken off to send a message, eh no, they were on.
They are spending millions to remodel city hall while laying off workers, eh no, no remodel going on.
Oh! We intercepted emails and know what council is saying, eh no, the emails were forwarded
Wait, Mensinger painted Hatch's office and did not file a form 700 reporting the gift he gave, eh no, our mistake, form 700 are filed by the recipients of gifts; but here's something: Brown Act violation by ad hoc group, gotcha now, eh no, no violation, we didn't read all through the Brown act before we accused, our bad; but for sure Leece pays her portion of pension costs, she claimed as much at Feet to Fire right? Oh, eh, our bad again, Leece does not even know about her own pension payments much less employees; but here is one for you .....(to be continued)

6/02/2011 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Lobdell's "interim" status is up on June 18. It will be interesting to see whether this "leadership" makes him a full-time employee (my guess) or chooses to do the right thing and spend his $150K salary on a cop or two.

6/02/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

I, for one, LOVE all of these informational sessions on the budget. Lots of opportunities for the union folks and blog haters to provide some ideas for fixing the budget. Haven't heard any yet. Guys, there's still time! Take all this hate and put it into something positive with some ideas.

6/02/2011 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous More bit the dust said...

I feel bad for the City of Costa Mesa's like watching the Titantic slowly go down. city employees continue to leave so far 9 police officer with experience are leaving or gone now. Another well respected City Employee today. Fire department has lost an Employee who runs all the public programs such as CERT...leaving...2 Communications Officers who handled 9-1-1 are leaving soon...others are currently testing or in backgrounds......Life or Death emergencies are on the line for the Costa Mesa residence....what kind of experience will answer your emergencies and what kind of experience will they officer have who responds? This City is no more than a training ground...a place for those with shady back grounds and discipline problems will take a job here in this city ,,,,the City will have no choice but to hire less desirable ...why because no one else will work here and be treated like garbage by some City Council members and a CEO who does what he is told for his pension package and money.....this all equals the next few years that is where the City is Headed to be the dumping grounds for garbage......

6/02/2011 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bob, how much does the Police public information officer make in salary/benefits? What about the fire PIO? The City has none. We hire a contract guy (Lobdell) to do a job someone should have been doing for years, and he gets attacked.

I'm going to look on the City's website now, but I BET you $5 that Bill Lobdell makes way less than the Police and Fire PIO. If you want to get rid of Lobdell, get rid of the police and fire PIO. Seems only fair!!!

6/02/2011 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Phil, the police and fire PIO are not full-tme positions. That job is a collateral duty handled by a senior member of each department in addition to their regularly assigned duties. In other words, the city in getting their bang for the buck, because they actually do some other work when there isn't some need for PIO work.

Nice try though. Again, another red herring.

6/02/2011 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Ken, tell me the other duties of the Police and Fire PIO's. Do they fight fires, or patrol the streets? NO. It's a desk job. They push paper and collect a big six figure salary. They're WAY worse than Lobdell.

Trim the fat at City Hall--start cutting the desk jockeys in police and fire that collect outrageous salaries! Keep our patrol cops and fireFIGHTERS

6/02/2011 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Phil: Whether Lobdell stays or goes is not the point. The point is that the whole "interim" thing was a scam from day one. (As a former business partner to ex-con flim-flam artist Barry Minkow, Lobdell knows about scams) The goal from day one was to hire him full time but this "leadership" knew that hiring him at $150K while laying off and outsourcing others would be a PR nightmare. So, they are easing him in. I predicted this on this blog when he was hired and have a $50 donation to the Boys & Girls Club ready if I am wrong.

But let's talk about the position. You say he's needed, I say he is not. The city got along just fine without him or that position for years. It is only because the current "leadership" continues to bungle its way through this fiscal mismanagement that they need someone to tell us the difference between what they are saying and what they really meant.

But if the scam is going to go through, let's hire someone who is stable; who does not change jobs or careers every six months and who doesn't have the baggage of being a business partner with Minkow.

I'll take more cops, not more bureaucrats, thank you very much.

6/02/2011 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Lobdell is a BLOWHOLE said...

Thanks Bob for your comment. The other comments make me laugh. When your home is on fire, or your spouse is having a heart attack, or your house being robbed I want a qualified, experienced Fire or Policeman. I could care less if they make more money than I do- I want that city service! You want a $3K a week blow-hole... then that is Lobdell..

6/02/2011 04:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Phil, clearly there is no pleasing you. Add a position to the city coffers (Lobdell) and that's ok. One guy, one job, apparently that's the model of efficiency for you. Does Lobdell fulfill any other role, or is it just the one dimensional job of "mouthpiece"?

However, you have other employees who fill multi-roles, and you want to complain? The fact that they "push papers" as their primary job is your problem? They are what is known as "supervisors" or "management". They pick up the PIO duties on the side. Yes, they at time are in the field supervising patrol officers, or at a fire scene supervising firefighters.

You strike me as the type of guy who would complain because they weren't using a new rope to hang you. Not happy unless you are complaining or trying to make everyone see the world through your bitter, myopic point of view.

6/02/2011 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous SHIELD said...

Geoff maybe you should offer a sub-blog featuring anger management techniques.

6/02/2011 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous spin full circle =truth said...

When Toyota recalls a couple million cars for something they knows is wrong, they hire a spinmaster, when a politician naps with his nanny or can't define the word "is". They hire a spinner. The fab 4 need a spinner doctor to protect themselves from chest bumping, laughing leprecauns and dui accosting behavior so far. Stay tunned while the invisible man doesn't do Costa mesa, Film at 11.

6/02/2011 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Enlighten the ignorant said...

For Phil:

I cant speak to the Fire Dept's PIO, but at the PD the PIO is a collateral assignment for the Administrative Services Lieutenant, with a Sgt. cross trained to also serve in this capacity on an as needed basis when the LT is not available.

This is only one duty of many for these gentlemen. So you know you're getting the most bang for your buck, here are some of the duties of those two men (may not be all inclusive this is from the top of my head)...PIO, Budget, Testing/Research, Watch Commander duties, scheduling, Volunteer Program, Reserve Officer Program,K9program, FTO program, backup range officer, coordinating/developing/scheduling Advanced Officer Training...and Im sure the list could go on.

You see many many PD employees have collateral duties...Field Training Officer, SWAT, Hostage Negotiator, Bike Patrol, Computer Voice Stress Analyzer Operator, various community, gang, business liasion officers, instructors for various facets of training- Arrest & Control, Firearms, Rifle, Building Searches and on and on...Im sure its quite similar for Fire. The vast majority of these do not result in additional pay (only FTO does) but are extra responsibility. Its whats needed and done every day to get the job done by your committed public employees-none of which make the $3k a week Lobdell does to "Tweet". Whereas a city employee can and is utilized to be a jack of all trades, good luck getting a private contractor to do multiple tasks that are not and cannot be clearly spelled out in a contract. So tell me again how well the outsourcing is going to work?

6/03/2011 08:05:00 AM  

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