Friday, March 08, 2013

Setting CMPD Pay Numbers Straight

As you know, at the last Costa Mesa City Council meeting Mayor Jovial Jim Righeimer, during one of his stream of consciousness mini-rants, told us that the Costa Mesa Police Department is the "highest paid" - a statement that rocked those of us who actually follow this stuff.  Why?  Because it's not true, and it represents his willingness to disregard facts and present fabrications from his lofty perch on the "big chair" that are politically self-serving.

In my observations following Jovial Jim's fabrication I said that the CMPD is paid near the middle of the pack in Orange County.  That was a gut feeling based on information from the not-too-distant past.  When you've got a gut the size of mine you pay attention!

In response to this issue I was sent the results of a very recent - January, 2013 - salary survey from a very credible organization that covers three police positions - Police Officer, Police Sergeant and Police Lieutenant - for 21 local cities.  It provides data like number of staff members used in the survey; effective date of the salary levels; high and low salary numbers and additional "compensation" - amounts applied for Health, Dental, Vision and other health-related dollars, like the CMPD Cafe plan.  It totals those up into a column titled "Total Comp", which represents the total monthly pay.  It does NOT reflect any pension numbers.  It seems unlikely that the recent retirements of senior officers, nor the recent promotions, were taken into account.  Nor was the Orange County Sheriff's Department included in this survey.

Since our elected "leaders" have made such a big deal about total compensation on these issues in the past, let me give you a taste of the results.

Police Officer
Total Comp for the cities listed averages $8,271.  Costa Mesa's number is $8,563.  That places them 8th of 21 cities, slightly above the middle.  Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Orange and Fullerton were ranked ahead of Costa Mesa.

Police Sergeant
Total Comp for cities listed was $10,306.  Costa Mesa's number is $10,301.  That places them 11th - smack dab in the middle of the pack.  The ten cities ranked higher are Tustin, Orange, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Fountain Valley, Cypress and Anaheim.

Police Lieutenant
Total Comp for this group is $12,397.  Only 18 cities reported data.  Costa Mesa's number is $12,469.  That puts them in 12th place - well below the middle.  The eleven cities ranked higher are Brea, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Orange and Santa Ana.

Another important factor to consider is that members of the CMPD have not received a raise since 8/31/2008.  Sixteen of the 21 cities reporting data have had increases since that date.  The results show that our brave men and women of the CMPD are far from the "highest paid".

So, what do we do with this information?  Well, for one, we can use it to validate our mayor's penchant to play fast and loose with facts to serve his political purposes.  What else is he making up when he pontificates from the dais?  If he doesn't have the information he should just zip his lips until he does.  It's just one more example of the adversarial relationship he has cultivated with the CMPD and it certainly doesn't serve the community well.

Before retiring I made a pretty darn good living recruiting folks, both as an employee of local companies and, for more than two decades, as a recruiting consultant.  While pay is only part of the equation, I understand how difficult it is to recruit excellent employees when your compensation package is not competitive.  Considering the atmosphere between Righeimer and the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association, I see nothing that leads me to believe the contract negotiations next year will be anything but rancorous.

It seems to me that Righeimer and his associates are willing to settle for mediocrity by creating a hostile work environment and hiring hardball negotiators to beat the city employees into submission.  Personally, I'm not willing to settle for mediocrity.  I feel we deserve to have a compensation plan that is, at least, competitive.  I don't think we need to pay the highest salaries, but we sure shouldn't be paying the least.  We should be paying somewhere in the top 25% of all Orange County cities.

So, we watch and wait to see what the next fabricated "fact" comes out of Righeimer's mouth...

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Blogger kwahlf said...

Thank you for presenting the facts, Geoff.
We certainly need it when Righeimer makes up his own.

3/08/2013 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous New Position said...

With whoppers like this, Das Riggy should forget about Board of Supervisors and just go right to TV and revive the old Jon Lovitz character!

3/08/2013 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous 10-23 said...

If you think people left in large numbers in the past couple years.....stay by!

Also,,,,seek the truth about trying to fill those that will leave with QUALITY applicants.

It's gonna be a disaster.

3/08/2013 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Green Horizon said...

He says stuff like that because he is planning on shafting the PD when their contract is up and he wants people to think they're greedy, overpaid thugs. They've already shown that just repeating a lie is a sucessful tactic because most people never hear the truth. You'll hear that lie over and over again.... Just watch.
He's going to create a condition where staffing PD with quality people is going to become a major problem, and how the dept is going to deal with is yet to be seen.
Before it's over... the sheriffs dept will become a consideration.
Just wait.... it's going to get ugly.

3/08/2013 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous not smart moves by pd associtation said...

the pd should have thought it out before having a pi follow riggy home. there are consequences for these things. the pd should stay out of politics or expect payback. i think they are a pretty good org and that riggy would not decline paying them will except they pulled that dang trailer around the year he was elected and then the pi. amimosity is sure to follow such actions.

3/08/2013 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Truth Be Told said...

Costa Mesa police officers are overpaid to start with. Don't give them another dime!

People with Masters and Doctorate degrees make far less than our CM cops.

3/08/2013 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Well, Riggy is and has been a liar. What else is new?

3/08/2013 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Truth Be Told, why don't you go out on a ride along sometime and see what our police deal with every day? Sometimes people spend their lives in school, obtain degrees, but not all of them even know to make a living. So? It's apples and oranges. Our police deserve every dime of what they make and then some.

3/08/2013 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Truth Be Told-
"Costa Mesa police officers are overpaid"

Truth? Ha!
You wouldn't last one day doing what our police officers do 24/7.
They deserve every bit of their pay and then some.

Who are you going to call when you suspect there's a prowler outside your house- Righeimer?
Who stood watch outside the councilmens' houses on March 17, 2011? Righeimer had no problem with our PD that night while they watched over him and his family.
Enough with this damn war on our PD!

3/08/2013 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous All hail the great mis-leader said...

So, not smart ..., you're saying your friend Riggy is petty and vindictive as well as a liar?

3/08/2013 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

I'm increasingly perplexed by the right wing of our city council consistently attacking our community police force. I get their motives. They hate unions, cops have an association , ergo they hate cops. What is asinine, is that our cops aren't the highest paid. I met a twenty five year veteran, bilingual, with a masters degree, who was taking home after his pension and medical deductions about $85k a year. His wife doesn't work because they have three boys and his type of schedule makes it hard to have two spouses working. It takes 60k a year in Orange County to just house yourself in a two bedroom apartment. This officer has a three bedroom home in another inland city, where he raises his family, he's trying to send one of his sons to college right now. He is just "getting by", after 25 years. He's making less than a manager at In-n-Out. Righeimer wants to lead the jihad in this "middle class " race to the bottom, sadly, he's taking our entire city down with him. We are the ones that will be stuck with the dire consequences.

3/09/2013 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous VR said...

@Truth be told, the officers haven't asked "for another dime."who cares about an unemployable academic? There are officers on your PD with masters and doctorates. So what?

3/09/2013 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous just the facts sir said...

Gericult. Have you actually seen the pay report? The scenario you describe is not based in fact.

3/09/2013 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Make CM great again. said...

Not smart moves by PD. If what you say is true then it's very sad and Righeimer has no business being in politics. He should resign immediately if his motives are revenge. The citizens of Costa Mesa deserve better leadership than someone motivated by revenge.

As to the pay of PD and Fire, I would pay them much more if we could. What these men and women do and see daily they should be paid much more.

Unfortunately our revenues need to be balanced with many other services and our hands are tied as to how much we can pay for all services.

Our huge problem is the future costs of our pensions. As much as I support PD and Fire we simply cannot afford to pay 30 to 50 percent of the entire budget toward pension costs... unless we get some huge revenue injections.

The PI situation shows how pathetic this situation has become. Just that it happened is pathetic (not blaming our PD) and the way Righeimer and his crew mislead and used that pathetic incident to create more hate and anger toward our PD.

Both sides need to stop the rhetoric and let's try to come to good resolutions that are good for all of us which would be good for the emtire city.

3/09/2013 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Revenge being served said...

Revenge - ever since Righeimer lost 2 bids for elections in Fountain Valley back in the 1990's he has been on a revenge mission.

JR blames unions for his losses. So much so he co-authored a bill with his brother-in law Bucher, and went before congress back in the late 1990's. The bill was an attempt to make employees pay their unions or association dues directly to the union or associations instead of the more convenient way of allowing it to be deducted from their paychecks.

Righeimer's scheme at revenge against the union for his losses didn't work and the chair of the congressional committee at one point even asked Righemeir if he just makes this stuff up?

But the revenge continues to this day the attack on employee associations.

It should be noted that employees have many deductions directly from their paychecks, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, PersCosts, flex benefits, disability and the list goes on. So I have no problem whatsoever with Payroll deducting their associations dues too!

3/09/2013 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Truthout said...

The dismantling of ABLE was also an element of Righeimer's revenge. He should pray that his family will never face a crisis waiting on a stretched-too-thin HB helicopter.

3/09/2013 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

To PR,
Please write to me separately at the email address on my home page.

3/09/2013 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...'s pretty scary when even Righeimer supporters admit he is driven by revenge.

3/10/2013 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous barb otch said...

our helicopter program is gone? well then the crime rate will skyrocket. and why are there policehelicopters in cm airspace as i write?

3/10/2013 11:14:00 AM  

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