Thursday, July 21, 2011

Costa Mesa To Investigate Combining Services With Others

Recently renewed Costa Mesa Interim Communication Director, Bill Lobdell, issued the following Press Release just after noon today:

City to explore joint services with Newport, Huntington

COSTA MESA, CALIF. - The neighboring cities of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach will formally explore the viability of combining five municipal services to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

After preliminary discussions, officials with the three cities have decided to study five areas as potential candidates for shared services: Police Special Weapons and tactics (SWAT) services; lifeguard services; jail services; animal control services; and police and fire dispatch services.

To facilitate an in-depth analysis of the impact of shared services, Management Partners, Inc. has been contracted to prepare a study. Each city will pay a third of the $81,675 fee ($27,225 will be Costa Mesa's share).

The overall goal of the report will be to assess the intial and long-term costs and savings for shared municipal services, along with the implementation and service-level needs.

The study will start within the next few weeks and is scheduled to be completed within five months.

From my view, these studies make some sense. In these troubled fiscal times we cannot ignore potential opportunities to combine certain public safety-related functions if it can be done without any drop in service levels and can save the cities tax dollars.

It's interesting that the consultant chosen, Management Partners, Inc., is the same outfit Costa Mesa contracted with to do the restructuring evaluation of the Costa Mesa Police Department a few months ago. After spending thousands of dollars on the study, done by an organization with decades of experience under it's collective belt, the micro-managing element of the City Council rejected their recommendations and arbitrarily "picked a number" for the staffing level of the department. It was that scenario that caused former Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley - a legend in California law enforcement - to depart, leaving in his wake a scathing memo that pointed out the deficiencies of this council.

I can tell you from very recent first-hand personal experience that the residents and visitors to our city are not going to be served well by the reduced staffing levels. We are going to have an under-staffed police department that will, necessarily, be forced to work more overtime hours to meet the crime-fighting demands in our city. They will be exhausted by the continued extended schedules and, sadly, will likely begin to make mistakes because of the stress and pressure of those extended hours.

Does this move violate the terms of the Preliminary Injunction recently imposed by Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann in the outsourcing case between the City and the CMCEA? It seems like it might. If so, and the City decides to proceed with this study, are there legal consequences?

We can only hope that there are no serious incidents as a result of this short-staffing situation.

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Anonymous lumpy said...

I hope the study looks hard at our lifeguarding situation. We may be able to save a dollar or two by combining.

7/21/2011 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger feral390 said...

I don't know why any other city would want to involve themselves in the current mess our council has created. If I lived in HB or Newport I would be very, very skeptical.

7/21/2011 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous petheds said...

Feral, most people are very skeptical.

7/21/2011 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

lumpy - ha ! very good, +1. :)

Yeah, I don't think HB and NB will go along with having their folks pay for the dearth of our services, cause that's exactly what it will look like when pitched to them. They will feel like they are picking up the slack, and we are getting a free ride, een if we split the costs. It's all about perception. And the same safety concerns about response time and overall service levels will come up during those city council meetings.

7/21/2011 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Insert Baywatch theme song here said...

What does Costa Mesa need lifeguards for? I thought we already proved the city isn't drowning in debt?

7/21/2011 05:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Pentagon Hexagram said...

Interesting that this was announced without having been approved by any of the three City Councils.

And why on earth would any other city want to do business with Costa Mesa now as interim managers try to maintain departments that are losing employees left and right.

7/21/2011 08:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Are these three cities in some sort of collusion with each other? It seems like Newport Beach and Huntington Beach like it as they want to keep their employees and not lay them off per the OC Register. It looks like Costa Mesa would probably get the short end of this. Newport and Huntington would protect their city's interest first and Costa Mesa would get what is left over. What if there is a natural disaster? No other city is going to leave their constituents hanging to go help Costa Mesa.

7/21/2011 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

D Mae... during most disaster (Katrina) it is the citizens that help each other, government just screws things up.

390... both HB and NPBch are having as much difficulty as CM... they just don't put in on the TV. I have a business in NPBch and regularly attend their meetings. They have the same problems; they just handle them with dignity and respect.

7/22/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Actually.......HB is doing much worse and currently looking at a, last I heard, $9 mil deficit. That would be old info(3-4 months old), I'm sure they've made a lot of adjustments.
Newport is good, but they are currently building a couple hundred mil + new cicvic center floated on bonds.
Costa Mesa has no budget deficit, and until recently had the top tier on both public safety and services. Newports roads are 1% better, but HB's are 6% worse.Would we be investing a lot more to bring HB up to par?
This all plays up to Righeimers ," destroy all service employees," but will it really help us in the long run or just mitgate problems out over a larger radius.
Once again .......the cost of studies and negotiations will be formidable. They need to clean up the mess they've already made here before they can reasonably explore this with other cities.But then again , Righeimer's policies are like a cancer, they spread........would be interesting to see how other councils go about dealing with it.

7/22/2011 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Think About It said...

Daisy Mae, that's exactly why Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach should merge into one big city. They could call it New Mesa Beach and make everybody happy! :-) :-)

7/22/2011 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Longtime HB Taxpayer said...

Hmmm....I wonder if Der Rigsheister knows that the City of HB assesses .01500/1000 of a homeowner's real property's value for their employees PERS. I paid $12.82 for my rental townhome's 2010/11 tax assessment towards the City of HB employees retirements. They collect millions of dollars for PERS funding every year, even in "superfunded' years!

So should Riggy be aligning himself, oops I mean the City of Costa Mesa, while he's promoting CM as "ground zero for public employee pension reform" with a city that actively collects taxes to fund their public employees pension acccounts?

7/22/2011 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Doubtful said...

The cities have had successful joint ventures before. ABLE and NMUSD are two successful ventures. One survives the other gone, the victim of big egos and little minds. Does anyone really thing the NB Council is stupid enough to enter into another try at combining services after ABLE had to be discontinued in Newport because of CM's stupidity. Actually, I think the new word we learned fits the situation better: recticality.

7/22/2011 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Sanderson said...

I think we should have a BBQ so we can all meet each other. I promise not to make it a bad time for anyone. I just want to see who hiding behind the names on these posts and get to know those who are not afraid to reveal themselves.All that is, save the idiot who wrote about Riggy's child. That whacko is better off crawling back into his/her cave.
With the above exception, whether I agree with them or not, I respect their right to express themselves. I'll bet lunch that one or two people show up wearing name tags showing they are most of the negative authors we read here all the time.
We'll serve Mexican food so Millard won't show up.

7/23/2011 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Picnic Gal said...

Dan Sanderson: I love it!! We can pass out recall papers at the same time. Maybe we can have games too, like a chest bumping contest, a tiny Irishman toss, pin the tail on the Piggy, if Martin shows up, he can judge a tortilla decorating contest..
Fun times when we all need it.
Good idea.

7/23/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

"THINK About"...

How about "Hunting Port Mesa"? ;)

7/23/2011 10:09:00 AM  

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