Monday, June 20, 2011

Hatch Fires Back At Staveley - New Interim Chief Hired

Within hours of Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley's abrupt resignation CEO Tom Hatch had fired back at the allegations made by Staveley as he departed and hired another interim chief to replace him. Interim, and recently renewed, Communications Director Bill Lobdell released the following Press Release shortly before the close of business this afternoon.

Costa Mesa CEO Tom Hatch 'shocked and saddened' by interim police chief's resignation letter over proposed 3.5% budget cut; new interim chief hired.

The following is a statement from Costa Mesa Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch:

I am shocked and saddened by the unprofessional resignation letter sent today by interim Police Chief Steve Staveley to our police department.

I know that Mr. Staveley is angry at some of the changes being proposed for the police department, but this reckless parting shot does not help our organization or the community. Since his incautious and potentially libelous words have the capacity to do harm to our community, I’ve responded personally below to his allegations.

But first, I wanted to underscore that Costa Mesa will be fine—we are debating a 3.5% cut in our police department budget. We will remain safe.

And knowing the differences that stood between Mr. Staveley and myself, I had been interviewing for a replacement interim police chief while the search concluded for a permanent police chief. Today I hired Dennis Kies, former La Habra police chief, for the interim position. He has 35 years of law enforcement experience and will provide a steady hand.

Within the next couple of weeks, I expect to hire a permanent police chief. The finalists for the position are all top members of the law enforcement community and bring with them many innovative—and some old-fashioned—ideas for policing in the 21st century.

We will get through this challenging period and, with the help of our police chief and the fine men and women of our police department, we will continue to make Costa Mesa a safe city that scores high marks from residents, the business community and visitors.

As for the individual allegations:

Mr. Staveley’s base contention is that the budget crisis in Costa Mesa doesn’t exist. This just isn’t true—and anyone who follows the news knows that cities across California, from San Diego to San Francisco and beyond, are struggling with how to bridge large budget gaps created by drops in revenue and steeply rising pension costs. Like Costa Mesa, many cities have had to propose cuts in public safety—and I’m sure many more municipalities will follow. The money just isn’t there at this time.

Costa Mesa’s financial numbers are simple and alarming. Our City has used more than $33 million of its reserves since 2008 and, within the next several years, faces the prospect of using 25% of its budget just to cover pension costs. In recent years, we’ve eliminated more than 140 positions and cut some of our services to the bone—and still have spent significantly more money than we’ve taken in.

Costa Mesa is in a financial crisis.

For next fiscal year, we are asking the police department to cut just 3.5% from its budget. I’ve tried as much as possible to keep budget cuts away from public safety. We, along with a respected consultant, have developed a plan to maintain the same level of patrol hours while increasing the number of non-sworn personnel for support. In some areas, the level of service won’t be the same for residents and the business community, but unfortunately, this is what we can afford. And I feel strongly that a 3.5% cut—about $1.35 million for the next fiscal year—in the police department budget during these times is reasonable and our community will remain safe. I live here with my wife and daughters. I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize their safety.

Mr. Staveley is correct that I’m asking non-sworn personnel to work five days a week. For the City, it’s more productive, for the most part, to have a five-day a week schedule for its employees—similar to the private sector. I don’t think most people outside of government would have a problem with this. Many of our employees work five days a week now without complaint. I haven’t asked sworn personnel to work five days a week.

If Mr. Staveley has any evidence that anyone on the council is corrupt, he should have come forward with any evidence immediately. If he doesn’t have any evidence, his allegations are simply libelous and I assume intended to inflame the police department and the community. I’ve never seen any council member do anything that was corrupt or against the law. If I did, I would report that council member to the authorities immediately.

Mr. Staveley says Costa Mesa is heading toward being the next Bell. In fact, we are the anti-Bell. In my nearly four months as CEO, I can say that I’ve seen no City that has worked harder and make tougher budget decisions to make sure its finances got back on track. And in the process, we’ve done it with a transparency that’s been second-to-none.


So, although the City is about to hire a new, hopefully permanent, police chief we will now have yet another new, interim chief running the show. This leaves me more than a little uneasy about the conditions in the Police Department, where morale is already running at an all-time low. I won't be surprised to hear speakers address this with the city council at the meeting tomorrow, Tuesday.

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Anonymous Ted Baxter said...


6/20/2011 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Well I guess we now know where Hatch's loyalty's lie. He knows there is no fiscal crisis, but continues to spew the party line. I guess his paycheck is more important than ethics. Gee Hatch why don't you give up your pension?

6/20/2011 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Cheech said...

Nice comeback William.

6/20/2011 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

I have a legitimate question and I'm interested in all answers.

If Mr. Staveley was not going to carry out the wishes of the majority of the Council Members, why did the majority and Mr. Hatch hire him in the first place? Even on an interim basis, it would seem that the majority of the Council Members would want "one of their own." If I am missing something, please let me know.

Thank you!

6/20/2011 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Now we know why Lobdell wasn't returning calls.....he was busy writing....

6/20/2011 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

That is a great question. I guess they thought he was on board with their scheme. It took him three months to understand what was at stake. Police officers are a tight knit group. I wonder what kind of Chief they will hire on a permanent basis? We will see if he is a money guy or an ethics guy. Will the new Chief get 3% at 50?

6/20/2011 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Another interesting bit of info. Staveley also was police dhief in La Habra where the new interim chief comes from.

6/20/2011 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

3.5% huh, Must have forgot about ABLE.
Staveleys letter was the most transparent voice I have seen from any city official.
When the help did Lobdell get re-signed, how long and how much?
"F" the CC, Im tired of these democratic party symbols!!!
So the FNG, is he just going to lube up with astro glide and do what the CC tells him to?
Sorry Geoff for the potty mouth, Im not happy with these fools at all!

6/20/2011 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

Thank you Mr. Hatch for the letter. There is nothing in there to argue with. Stavely has a short fuse and his corruption charges are insane. This council, this budget, and you are under a microscope by people out to get you. If they had something they would have the AG all over it. As for you who think there is no budget crisis you are totally out of touch with reality. You are the type that thinks because you have checks in your checkbook you must have money in the bank. We blew through 30 million in reserves trying to avoid cuts and the day of reckoning has arrived. Nice exit letter Stavely, who wrote it Jennifer Muir? And get your signs out of the public right of way you guys, what a waste of money and addition of blight.

6/20/2011 07:01:00 PM  
Anonymous the devil went down to georgia said...

Wow Hatch today you truly sold your soul. Everyone should pray for you but it won't help, you just bought your ticket straight to the gates (that aren't pearly white). I don't even know how you can look your wife and children in the eye because they too now know for sure you have zero integrity and are a shell of a man.

6/20/2011 07:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Bell Boys in Costa MEsa said...

All I keep hearing is the whispers
Bell equals Costa Mesa. The City Council get paid a bit more than what the paperwork shows.. follow the paper trail.. follow the papertrail.. Don't we have any crack detectives? Whispers..

6/20/2011 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Karma is a what? said...

You can run from Karma....but you cant hide!
Tom, those can't be your words...

Staveley has more integrity than the entire CC....

Remember the children's story "The King Who Wasn't Wearing any Clothes? Staveley told the truth and the Kool Aide drinkers refuse to believe him.....

When presented with a balanced budget, Riggy moved the goal....There need to be changes, but not Draconian cuts...

Stay tuned!

6/20/2011 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

"The War of the Memos", played out live at "A Bubbling Cauldron".

Geoff needs a break.......Nice that you can sit back and just cut and paste.

You know you'll be up till dawn writing tomorrow nights meeting.

Enjoy the reprieve.

With all this bad press , I'm just waiting for the next "victimization" ploy.

6/20/2011 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

It's nice to say "only a 3.5% budget reduction." But that's just total dollars. Look at how it's being done: by a 12% reduction in the budgeted number of sworn Police Officers - from 149 to 131 (that includes 5 temporary, grant-funded officers). A 12% cut means 1 in 8 sworn officers being cut from the budget!

Not to mention dissolution of ABLE altogether. (To be fair, we'll get almost an hour of helicopter support each day from Huntington Beach. So that's only an 80% cut in helicopter coverage from the current coverage, which is already 50% less than it was last year, due to previous budget cuts.)

It's obvious Chief Staveley was concerned about a lot more than a "3.5%" budget cut. It's about how that cut is being accomplished, and how the City is being run.

The Chief said the City Manager was "ORDERED" to put staff on a 5/8 plan. Since this was never, to my knowledge, on a Council agenda, either there was a Brown Act violation or one or two Council members are calling shots behind the scenes. Either way, it's somewhere between illegal and unethical. Somebody appears to think he owns this City and, unfortunately, it's starting to look like it's true.

6/20/2011 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger feral390 said...

Wow...on Saturday there was a real nice picnic, people were happy and Sunday was a real nice fathers day and then BAM ! it's Monday welcome to the Costa Mesa political circus, the ride that never ends and they won't let you off. What is it like to live in a normal city?

6/20/2011 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Chest Bumper said...

WOW, was this response really written by CEO Hatch or Communications whatnot Mr. Lobdell? I seriously doubt that Mr. Hatch wrote this response. It looks very similar to the "fact check" writing that has been going on lately. Seriously.....

6/20/2011 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chest Bumper said...

Gericault, I could not AGREE with you more. This response was not written by Mr. Hatch. How unaware could the residents be! This was in NO way written by Mr. Hatch, nor is this how he truly feels. Mensi was riding the elevator up and down today trying to do damage control and this is a result of their efforts.

6/20/2011 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chest Bumper said...

What will be the latest made up attack against a council member? Quick, better think about it because it needs to happen before the council meeting tomorrow. First an alleged brick through the window, then an alleged painting of vehicle and storage container, what will it be today and to whom?

6/20/2011 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chest Bumper said...

@unionquiltersforleece, don't worry about the signs causing blight. That will be the least of your worries in the near future.

Jennifer Muir writing Stavely's letter? NOT, how about Lobdell writing Mr. Hatch's "letter". That would be more accurate.

6/20/2011 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous wholetthedogsout said...

Gericault: you have MORE victims? is your list endless? please add taxpayers to the victim list.

6/20/2011 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Betty said...

I am a long time Costa Mesa resident and taxpayer. I am a registered Democrat. I consider myself to be your "average voter". I have tremendous respect for the majority of our city council members. I have never been sorry I voted for them. You need to remember that it was Wendy Leece's vote that caused our financial crisis (and yes, ............. there most definitely is one Mr. Stavely!). Thank you Wendy.

All I can say is bye-bye Mr. Stavely. You obviously lack the foresight, the understanding and the business acumen to recognize a pending financial disaster. Your ignorance is appalling and you should not be in charge of any city department, let alone our police department.

6/20/2011 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Original Max said...

Betty, it's sad to hear you are a Democrat. However, it's even worse to hear such an ignorant statement. What vote could you possibly be referring to? Leece is one of the more fiscally responsible members of our council.

6/21/2011 12:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Original Max said...

Mike H., Righeimer and crew can't control the opinions of every officer. Plus, they would probably get in trouble if someone got them on tape for having a litmus test. What are they gonna do? Ask them if they are on board for getting rid of more officers even though they know it's not the right thing to do? Righeimer and crew would have to risk getting caught in a scandal like that and most good cops would out them right away.

6/21/2011 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger NICK - USMC said...

Cheif Steve Staveley, you will be missed. The city "council" majority should be ashamed to have put you in the position to make the wise choice of resigning.

The citizens of Costa Mesa deserve an ethical and qualified city council who has the city's best interest in mind. Unfortunately, all they have is a male-majority of failures caught up in their own group-think momentum.

With such a poor display of ethics, so early in their political expirimentation, any political aspirations they may have had, will soon dissapear as quickly as the human infrastructure at Costa Mesa. The National GOP has used you like a circus show, and will soon abandon you like you have abandoned us.

Any of you, who at some point, questioned whether or not you were as committed as they were to their cause, should take this opportunity to bow out now with some dignity. Your courage will be rewarded in the future; and the rewards for those with morals will far outweight the empty promises made to you by this group of baphoons. If you leave now, you can use Costa Mesa's story in your future leadership seminars... If you stay, I will use your names and your story in mine.

Good luck to you, Costa Mesa.

I am leaving on my own terms.

6/21/2011 12:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Lord have mercy on your soul said...

Betty you are a democrat as much as Righeimer is a good businessman. Don't pretend to be one, own up to the fact that this is a 100% republican mess in Costa Mesa. Cheers. I honestly have never been happier to have never voted OCGOP. Praise Jesus, I nailed those votes! By the way, my word verification is "blesit," a coincidence I think not.

6/21/2011 06:15:00 AM  
Anonymous You Go Greg said...

oh oh. Gericult is off his meds again. Should mean trouble at tonight’s meeting. When Council votes to approve the budget he will stampede like he does with the horse folks. The best part will be when he finally realizes that residents support the Council action, and will not Recall. That will be a special time when all the wackos realize their numbers are thin. Also, I say the City Council send Greg Ridge, Sandy Genis, Katrina Foley and the OCEA all the bills for the illegal signs and signs placed without property owner’s permission. Almost as much fun as watching the Recall go down in flames. It will only make the Council stronger to mobilize a base and allow for other actions to be taken. Love your strategy. Keep it up. Please?

6/21/2011 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

You guys give me way too much credit.....but I must be doing something right to have you all so interested in what I'm "up" to.
Sad thing far I haven't done anything...this is all the councils doing.
I just sit back and watch the next fiasco right after the other.
In this horse race so far...... the horse stumbled in the gate, threw a shoe, got lame , bucked off the jockey, and the starting gun hasn't even gone off yet.

Can't wait to see the RFP's. Your business savvy brilliant council members are doing a bang up job...

Now about that Fiscal emergency Colin McCarthy's been peddling...Righeimer started this mess quoting a $25 million dollar deficit, which went down to $15 million, then $10, then $5, $3.....then the budget was balanced,... then he requested $2.9 million in additional's the summary of the independant audit

If you think I'm off my meds it's only because I'm not drinking that"spiked" Kool Aid they serve at Skosh's........

6/21/2011 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Greg Toland said...

We should not listen to any law enforcement professionals regarding what is "safe". What makes them think they know anything about law enforcement?

It's all about dollar$ and $ense.

The current council knows that balancing the budget is the most important thing, not any public safety needs.

When crime goes way up it doesn't matter because we'll have millions of dollars to solve any problems.

My citizens auxiliary police is more than capable of handling any threats. I still stand by my idea of building 250 300 ft high look out towers all over the city to make up for the loss of ABLE. No need to waste hourly money with HB. We can staff the towers with college students.

Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association is definitely on board with this idea.

Kudos to the council. Righeimer = Donald Trump.

6/21/2011 12:40:00 PM  

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