Sunday, April 01, 2012

OK, Back To Business...

You know the only real problem about taking a nice, short mini-vacation? It's when you return and find that what you wandered away from a few days ago has only gotten worse in your absence. No matter how much fun you have when you're gone, no matter how much joy and love you share with your soul-mate as you celebrate her birthday, when you get back the same old steaming pile of manure you left behind is still there and it's only gotten more pungent. Welcome back to me...

I returned to find that not only is City Clerk Julie Folcik still on administrative leave, b
ut that the City has apparently decided to handle personnel matters in the public press. Yep, contrary to every accepted personnel practice of which I'm aware - keeping in mind that I'm an old Personnel guy myself - they've decided to paint her as an incompetent at best and, perhaps, as some kind of a conspirator at worst and are doing so by providing correspondence to the local media. And, they've done so with lightning speed - much faster than their own policies prescribe. Every time in the past when they've rushed something it's returned to bite them on their posteriors... I'm thinking that may happen this time, too.

When you combine these actions with those earlier in the month when Folcik - represented by Jones Day as the plaintiff in the "missed deadline" lawsuit against Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar of Voters - was first portrayed as a harried, loyal worker who just made a "clerical error", then later painted as some kind of villain who, in the words of CEO Tom Hatch, had committed a "significant professional failure" and was escorted out of the building, you'll get some idea why many of us are wondering just what the heck is going on at City Hall.

Prior to this event I doubt if you could find a single person who would have described Folcik as anything but a cheerful, diligent, intelligent, industrious, organized and loyal city employee. She and the staff she supervised always seemed to do their very best to fulfill requests and/or demands made of them. They worked early and late, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning when the City Council failed to get their work done on time. (She's shown here with new Acting Deputy City Clerk Christine Cordon)


People keep saying that there's more to this situation than we know. OK, if that's the case, tell us. What we do know is that late in the afternoon of March 9th - the date that the resolutions necessary to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the ballot and to request the consolidation with the state-wide primary were due at the Registrar of Voters office - Contract City Attorney Tom Duarte was scampering around getting his "impartial analysis" finished and the folks who wrote the arguments for and against the Charter were also at City Hall trying to beat the deadline, too. In fact, some of those documents were date stamped at 5:00 p.m. - the close of the business day. We don't know if Duarte, in his role as City Attorney, was overseeing the preparation and submission of the necessary documents or not. We do know that he was there, though.

We do know that the City Council had a special council meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at which Jones Day was officially hired to work on the Charter litigation - two weeks after they began. And we also know, because they "reported out" of the closed session, that the City is
going to appeal Judge Miller's ruling on the Charter. You can watch the entire nine (9) minutes of the open session - during which our part-time, part-time Mayor Eric Bever slammed the door on Wendy Leece as she tried to present her reasons for not supporting the hiring of Jones Day - and the "report out" segment HERE. The very next day Folcik was escorted out of the building.

Speaking of Jones Day, at the council meeting next Tuesday, April 3, 2012, there will be a Warrant, #2413, HERE, which shows that we paid that law firm $114,697.75 in January. Added to the previous total of $390,701.00 and you'll see that they have devoured more than a half million dollars so far. And that doesn't count the February CMCEA bills, which should be huge, nor any of the time spend on the Charter issue.


You will also recall that Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer threw a hissy fit and refused to vote to shift funds f
rom the General Fund to the Self Insurance Fund - the pot from which litigation bills are paid - at the last regular council meeting on March 20th. That means that, potentially, Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young wouldn't be able to pay Jones Day's bills. What sweet irony! However, Tuesday that same issue will be presented to the council again, HERE. We wonder if Righeimer will, once again, cut off his nose to spite his face. Hopefully former mayor Gary Monahan will decide to grace us with his presence this time around so that authorization has a chance of passing. We know that Righeimer had problems in his business life in the past in which he took nine years to pay off some creditors. Funny habit, isn't it?

And, as an aside, with the Warrants being presented Tuesday, our legal fees for this fiscal year continue to rise like a rocket to the moon - now exceeding $1.3 million. The non-litigation costs alone exceed a half million! It seems our "fiscal conservative" councilmen are that in name only.


You can read the agenda for Tuesday's meeting HERE. In addition to a do-over of the mid-year budget review, the Costa Mesa Housing Authority - constituted
when the Redevelopment Agency was folded up in February - will meet to adopt amendments to the bylaws. It's about time! They're going to cover some pretty basic stuff - like officers, compensation, etc.


I suspect, though, that the scheduled meeting will be the least interesting thing that happens next week. I suspect we may hear about that "investigation" Hatch mentioned and it will come as no surprise if Julie Folcik is fired - a sacrificial lamb on the alter of Jim Righeimer's ego. That will not only be a shame, but it may also be a crime.


And, by the way... much as I would have liked to, I just couldn't come up with an April Fool's Day entry. I kept hoping that when I woke up today this whole mess would have been one huge joke - but it's not...

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Anonymous sadie1 said...

I think the Riggy crew is on a serious downturn due to their own foolish decisions. Looking forward to November!

4/01/2012 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Observation said...

Performance has been an issue for a while. Minutes have been late and incorrect. Minutes reflect Haters comments well. Supporting comments were missing.

Great smile, always well dressed.

4/02/2012 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I recall the discussions about the minutes - usually by Eric Bever, which was ironic because he missed so many of the meetings. Part of the problem, as I recall the discussions, was that the council members kept changing the target - how they wanted the minutes to be presented.

4/02/2012 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous CM Whine-Press said...

Observation said...
"Performance has been an issue for a while. Minutes have been late and incorrect. Minutes reflect Haters comments well. Supporting comments were missing.
Great smile, always well dressed."

Does the "other blogger" suffer from OCD in that he just CAN'T stop flooding this blog instead of his own? "Hater" is a middle school expression, but one of his trademarks. Didn't CMFD, who he regularly disparages, recently have to remove his tongue from Riggy's boot..

4/02/2012 05:34:00 AM  
Anonymous We said...

We feel main part of problem in minutes was that council haters were given dozens of words in the minutes while council itself was shorted. This was brought up over and over.
It really was a significant professional failure on the Clerk's part wasn't it? How can you argue that? If it would have been ruled by the judge to get on ballot, fallout would have been less but it would have come anyway. How can you miss such a huge item, the talk of the town? But Foley and Stephens took care of clerk's last chance saying she blew it. Now they say council blew it? Typical lawyers.
Council should have had an eye out on all those who had something to lose if charter passed (such as unions). Of course they would be expected to cause all the disruption possible but I
We think council did not realize that sabotage is not far behind when one feels threatened.
We (hi Robin)feel clerk messed up and we think the City is acting appropriately. We (hi Robin)have heard the Pilot got the emails from a public records request so we don't think the City is at fault for complying. We thank you for your time. we

4/02/2012 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

If Julie Folcik is such a great employee how come Katrina Foley, employee Billy Folsom and John Stephens were so quick to attack her in Court last week trying to stop the City from fixing Julie's mistake? Didn't this group cost her job? What am I missing? The legal fees incurred were to help Julie get out of this mess. The extremists rushing into court only hurt her.

4/02/2012 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous just wondering... said...

This could have been something as simple as Julie having to get the proper signature on the pages before submission. You know how hard that can be when our mayor is essentially absent most of the time.

Its just a thought...

4/02/2012 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Check it out said...

I thought the Register and Pilot got the correspondence from the Registrar's office, not the City.

4/02/2012 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Will the real Costa Mesans ... said...

Geoff, don't you worry about Julie, there is a job waiting in union ville.

There, they take care of their own.

4/02/2012 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

"Supporting comments were missing." - it's hard to write down something that's never said :)

4/02/2012 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

In this instance the City's efficiency has really increased dramatically.
During the "Stink Eye" and "DUI" investigations, we waited weeks and months, come to think of it, what was the internal Huy Pham investigations results or was that just used to squash a lawsuit from the family?
Now when they want to attack someone, the stuff hits the Daily Pilot within hours........
I'm so proud of them, they are getting so good at this "transparency" thingy.
Costa Mesa, a city where young families will want to move......away from.

4/02/2012 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Other Mike said...

Barry, spare me. I'm sure the city entering into litigation over he missed deadline was purely altruistic in nature, right? They were merely trying to fix her mess? The fix would have been to let it be and put it on in November? If Folcik loses her job so be it. I don't like seeing the personnel investigation playing out inthe media. It's improper and is a "significant professional failure" on Hatch's part.

I love how you paint Folsom as an "employee". He is also a resident. It's also funny that you paint them as "extremists". Nothing extreme about upholding a point of law, especially when there are cases on point on this very issue.

4/02/2012 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous on the ropes said...

If this charter was such a big deal, lasting mankind a lifetime, an earth stopping improvement for costa mesa. Maybe they should have left a little time to spare. Most decisions made with such haste are lacking in proper consideration anyway.
Maybe the bully was running around the 5th floor and people were hiding so they lost precious time.
This could also be devine intervention on our collective behalf. Costa Mesa needs the help.
Riggy's "to do/bucket list" for costa mesa is not over.

4/02/2012 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

What a twisted world the Cauldron lives in:

1. City Clerk screws up by filing paperwork late.

2. City lawyers try to fix screw-up and save her job by filing legal action.

3. Haters file legal briefs attacking the clerk and silencing the right of the people to vote,


It is the City Council's fault somehow?


Maybe the Cauldron can blame Righeimer for the recent earthquake in Mexico, or maybe Righeimer is to blame for the Cauldron not winning the lottery. Anything in goes in your world, I guess.

4/02/2012 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...


What are you two smokin'???

4/02/2012 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous CM Whine-Press said...

just wondering wrote:
What are you two smokin'???"

Righeimer's old socks. Barry/Phil aka CM's 'other' blogger, heard this would make him invisible to people of color.

4/02/2012 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

What's with the word haters being thrown around ? If a idea is dumb and is going to affect me negativity, why would I support it ? It's not "hating", it's voicing an opinion against a dumb idea. Hating is calling some guys shoes ugly or what not, not trying to be a voice of reason against horrible city destroying ideas.

4/02/2012 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

The biggest irony in the use of "haters" to describe folks with opinions that differ from theirs is that the guy form Mesa North - the guy I've referred to as Costa Mesa's racist laureate - is the one who uses "haters" to describe anyone who disagrees with him. That's probably why so many of the readers here assume that Phil and Barry are him dressed in drag. Personally, I don't think he lowers himself to write here - he is a member of MENSA, after all - and a Marine, to boot.

4/02/2012 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Betrayed said...

Julie was always very well dressed and sadly....trusting......

I suspect the acting city clerk had a lot to do with her departure. All will come out in the end.

VERY VERY sad and frustrating.

Watch your back friends. You just don't know who your friends are anymore.

4/02/2012 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I don't for a second believe that Christine Cordon, now Acting Deputy City Clerk, had anything to do with this problem and certainly not intentionally, as is implied in that last comment.

4/02/2012 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

To Phil/NorthsidePhil/checkyour6/etc:

If you follow the Daily Pilot comments on the City Clerk story, you can skip this comment. Of course, you can skip it for any number of reasons, but I am going to compliment you!

I know you are a very logical person(s), even though you try to hide it in your comments here and in the Daily Pilot online version.

One dead giveaway is your outstanding ability to
* take 2 + 2 equals 4,
* turn it into 2 + 4 DOESN’T EQUAL 2, YOU DUMMY!
* then chastise the 2 + 2 commenter for being such a dimbulb.

This falls under the heading of “Straw Man Argument.” From Wikipedia: “A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

Debaters certainly are free to use this fallacy in their attempts to persuade, but the judges mark them down for it.

4/02/2012 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Hey Pot Stirrer, oh, didn't know that, kinda puts everything in context with his postings, good to know thank you. :) My major beef with the haters thing is it doesn't allow for dissenting opinions. Because I'm not liking what you are doing, my opinion is automatically disqualified ? So when your folks were telling you not to put a fork in the electrical socket, they were hating your inventiveness and creativity ?? Frankly the hater charge is used the majority of the time to prop up and legitimize selfish behavior, which I think we can all use a little bet less of.

And Tom - nail on the head with the strawman arguement. In fact you can take the majority of the OCGOP text and it reads as bad rhetorical tricks 101.

4/02/2012 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Bell Ringer said...

Let's set the story straight: City Manager Tom, Attorney Duarte are to blame for the Charter fiasco along with Julie. Yes, a mistake was made; however, all three should be held responsible. If Julie loses her job the only morally correct duty of the City Council is to fire Tom and Duarte. The City Clerk's office personnel performs their jobs exceptionally well considering the stress and angst they are given on a daily basis. Christine, Chris and Debbie are doing their best at the worst of times. Walk a mile in their shoes before you pass judgement.

4/02/2012 06:53:00 PM  

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