Friday, June 14, 2013

Did Righeimer Violate The Brown Act?

Let me preface what I'm about to write by stating that I think Costa Mesa Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch is a great guy and has done a good job since replacing Allan Roeder a little more than two years ago - particularly under the circumstances under which he's had to operate.  Not only should he be getting a raise per the terms of his contract, HERE, but he should be paid hazardous duty pay retroactively from the day he took the job!

Late Thursday afternoon the Daily Pilot ran a commentary by Mayor Jim Righeimer (with some help from in-house spinmeister, Bill Lobdell) titled, "Tom Hatch is again leading by example".  You can read it HERE.  In that piece Righeimer tells us that Tuesday his council will vote on whether to give Hatch a "modest raise" for the excellent job he's done over the past two years.  He also tells us that it's Hatch's "first pay increase" since taking over the job early in 2011.  He also said, "it's well-earned and overdue".  I guess so - he should have had a raise last year by the terms of his contract.

Then he goes on to list for us what Hatch will gain and give up in this process, none of which has been discussed in any kind of an open session.  All these conversations have taken place in closed sessions and, by divulging them to the public now, Righeimer may have violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, HERE, which is designed to create transparency in government and establishes some very inflexible rules about divulging confidential information.  Section 54963 (a) of the Brown Act states, "A person may not disclose confidential information that has been acquired by being present in a closed session authorized by Section 54956.7, 54956.8, 54956.86, 54956.87, 54956.9, 54957, 54957.6, 54957.8, or 54957.10 to a person not entitled to receive it, unless the legislative body authorizes disclosure of that confidential information."  To my knowledge there has been no authorization by the City Council to disclose this information - information it has not yet voted on.  The Brown Act  goes on to describe the nature of such violations and remedies, which could include disciplinary action and referral of the violation to a grand jury.

And, Mike Reicher in the Orange County Register published an article discussing the very same information, and refers to a "report" issued by The City, but I'm unable to find such a report on The City web site.  HERE is the link to Reicher's article, but you must be a subscriber to access it.

Righeimer tells us that Hatch will be getting a 5% raise - $10,368 - taking his annual salary to $217,656, and that he will also be receiving an increase in his car allowance from $477 per month to $650 per month AND a "technology allowance" of $250 per month.  The raise and those other items will be retroactive to February 1st, 2013 - a curious date, since Hatch started his job in March of 2011.  The way I calculate it - $10,368 $864+$173+$250 X 5 months - Hatch will get a lump payment of nearly $54,000  $6,440 in addition to his next regular paycheck. (Told you to check my math!  Sorry about that!)

Righeimer also tells us that Hatch is giving up some benefits, too.  He's giving up half his sick days that will cost him over $5,000 per year.  He's also giving up two weeks vacation that will cost him over $8,300 per year.

Further, he will see a reduction in his primary sick bank from 480 hours to 221, which potentially costs him over $27,000.  Add that to the other two items above and he's giving up more than $50,000 - at least.

Earlier Righeimer told us that Hatch "volunteered" to pay the maximum legally allowed - 40% - to his pension, but we don't know what that actually means, dollar-wise.

Here's what I think... just my opinion, based on the facts as I understand them.  I think Righeimer DID violate the Brown Act by divulging information that was the confidential content of closed session meetings.  I think he did so in haste, on the one hand showboating to praise Hatch for his work and, on the other, set him up as a martyr, so he and his pals can point to Hatch's "sacrifice" when they finally begin negotiations with the General Employees.  Those employee contracts expired the end of March, yet they just keep on doing their jobs...

It will be interesting to see what other parts of Hatch's current contract were changed in this negotiation.  Was, for example, his nine-months severance package modified?  Why didn't he get a raise a year ago?

It will be VERY interesting to see what impact this commentary has on the morale of the employees of our city.  I'm also curious about how this will be received within the community... we'll see, I guess.

I'm exhausted, so please check my math and let me know what you think...

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Anonymous The Mayor needs to go away! said...

So does everybody on the fifth floor get a similar deal? How do I sign up for that?

Curious, how long has police and fire gone without raises?

6/14/2013 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Does Diet Coke Grant Immunity? said...

If the Brown Act has in fact been violated, then we're not surprised at all.

Since Day 1, it's been Ready Fire Aim by Napoleon. He says and does what suits him and his goals, then considers the rules. We remember the pink slips and the resulting death of Huy Pham.

If there has been a violation and Lobdell was in fact part of the disclosure, would he be liable too?

Why does it feel like more unnecessary legal bills are on the way?

6/14/2013 06:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Unions need to go away said...

Dear go away, I will answer you. Not long enough.

What are you willing to give up? Nothing has been the answer for a long time.

You can get a raise. Just have to open that contract of yours.

6/14/2013 07:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Price check on Fair Drive please.. said...

The Developer and his minions do and say whatever they want.

How much will this one cost us?

6/14/2013 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous cyber cypherin' said...

You are kidding, right? Or else you have been talking too long to Reicher. If Hatch gets a ten thousand dollar a year raise, retroactive five months, it would be a little over 4K dollars lump sum for that, not 50K! this reminds me of Reicher's water district numbers he reports, taking four years of spending totals, adding the next year's proposed expenditures, and calling it a one year expenditure just to "stir" the cauldron.

6/14/2013 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Cm pessimist said...

This reminds me a lot of when Riggy let the cat out of the bag regarding certain executive city positions increasing their contributions into PERS. The king of the realm can never seem to sit on his hands when it comes to releasing what he must consider favorable news to the implementation of the Righeimer way here in our fair city.

I've never understood why Riggy has to mention how many sick days, vacation, and holiday time the city employees earn. In my private sector job, I receive similar benefits, and I also am entitled to Personal days. Since I have not heard the Head Developer gripe about personal days, I think it would be safe to assume that the city workforce does not get this type of benefit. Although, I better watch out, by earning all of the aforementioned benefits, I, and my coworkers, might be pricing ourselves out of the market.

6/14/2013 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

I was LOL when I read Righeimer's propaganda piece in the Daily Pilot. Hatch is told what to do by Righeimer. He does not "volunteer" to do anything. He agreed to this when they made him City Manager. He agreed to be a conspirator in the vilification of city employees in order to get the job. True leaders would never stand for Righeimer's meddling in city affairs. Why he stays is mystifying. Every month there are many city manager positions all over California being advertised. Hatch could actually lead a city without having to run every decision by Righeimer. Laguna Niguel just hired a new city manager from Colton of all places. My take is that based on Costa Mesa's reputation, no progressive city would want him. You don't see other mayors or council members writing opinion pieces about the "sacrifices" of their city managers. This piece makes Hatch look like a foolish puppet.

6/14/2013 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous How do you live with yourself? said...

Here's my honest opinion and it shouldn't be too far from the truth if you think about it...

Hatch has not done what Piggy wanted him to do, which is to outsource all employees. He has failed.

So as a punishment, they made him a deal to showboat his punishment and turn it around as a good thing.

I really love their effort...

Either way, I hope spineless Hatch takes it in the shorts, but he's fine.

Look folks, this guys makes more like $400,000 with all the benefits. You know how they love to inflate the tree trimmer's pay and advertise they make $100,000 a year when they really make $40,000.

Well, same goes for Hatch. Add it all up. If you were paying me $400,000, I'd give up a few bucks rather than lose my $400,000 job. Let's not forget to add in all the executive perks...

It's a lose-lose for Hatch. The employees have no respect for him and he should have no respect for himself. Especially after the Huy Pham tragedy when he issued 213 pinkslips.

I remember seeing a photo of Hatch covering his mouth and looking at either Piggy or Messy. That picture should have had the caption, "What have we done?!"

I hope it haunts them all until the day they die.

6/14/2013 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Conspiracy said...

Hey “How do you live with yourself?”

Your latest conspiracy theory is very amusing.

You remind me a lot of “Utterly Disgusted”. Remember her? She accused the council on a daily basis of being murders because of Mr. Pham’s death. Do I need to remind you that Huy had cocaine in his system and committed suicide all by himself? I am eagerly waiting for your story to morph into saying Monahan snuck up the roof with him and pushed him off because he did not pay his bar tab.

6/14/2013 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Level the playing field said...

Pot Stirrer: I have been an infrequent poster and typically side with your opinions however relative to Hatch's status I strongly disagree. Hatch has an accountability to support his staff which includes general employees. Over the course of the last two + years he has done nothing but lead them to slaughter. He has never once stood against the council and has not supported the staff even when the council has undertaken illegal and immoral acts. He has no independant thoughts, he merely follows the orders placed in front of him by council. His raise, although entitled is not earned. He is doing the same job Roeder (apologize if not spelled correctly) did but at a higher cost -- more staffing at exorbitant rates. Tom Hatch should not be praised, he hasn't earned it.

6/14/2013 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

The crap alone that Hatch has to put up with is worth his extravagant salary. I have to say though, he has done a pretty good job of TRYING to tie both sides of this divided city together. His is a thankless job, but then again, he signed up for it. I don't know what other city managers make, but I hope his is within the realm and not grossly higher than the rest. You and I all know that as soon as he fails those guys, he's out of a job. So, in a way, he's living with the same threat the other employees are.

Good luck Hatch. You're going to need it to get out of there with your hair on your head.

6/14/2013 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Tom Hatch is a good guy. I really like him.
But Tom Hatch as a City Manager deserves nothing.

Being a "Good Guy" in this city has gotten none of the employees nothing, but derision, scorn, abuse, and attacks.

Tom Hatch is a "people pleaser", NOT a leader.

He is the most weak, and ineffectual manager in this city's 60 year history, and that was why he was chosen for that position. He has never displayed leadership......only "lap dog".

6/14/2013 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous I cudda......... said...

Gericault for CEO !!
resume': varnishes furniture, puts down people whenever he can (great people person !), exaggerates numbers when it suits his agenda, is an "expert" on things he never seems to show up at, is "amused" at other people who think differently than him.
Make the hire!

6/15/2013 06:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Hang your head down Hatch we have no respect for you said...

Tom Hatch is nothing but a Yes Scum. He's not a man. I would compare him to a Nazi soldier who leads the employees into the gas chamber on a daily basis.

I used to think deep down thay he's a good guy. However, with his continued actions, I can see that he's just like the rest of them.

Tom will never be a man like Alan Roeder. Tom will never be 1/1,000,000,000 the man Stavely is.

They might as well fire him and replace him with Mensinger.

Camp Riggy: Since you have control of all the money, can you guys build a private elevator to the 5th floor with a private entrance so none of the employees have to see you? Or better yet, build a satellite office in Newport Beach and move the entire 5th floor there. You can still roam the halls and visit us at our desks when you feel the need. It would be nice not to have to see any of you scumbags, especially taking a ride with you guys in the elevator.

6/15/2013 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

I am totally frustrated with the “I can do anything I want screw the rules mentality”. It seems to be the theme with the current OCGOP politicians and local government higher management these days. I can’t wait till their egotistical decision making finally catches up with them. Unfortunately, the residents pay the price.

6/15/2013 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


That is quite the strong indictment of Tom. In order to make such a statement, you must have considerable knowledge of all of our city's prior administrators.

You must treat us to your personal analysis of each City Manager in Costa Mesa. I'll help jog your memory, you can start with George Coffey.

Please provide examples for each one as to why you believe they were strong, effective managers.

6/15/2013 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous 42 ghetto bird can you 10-9 that location again? said...

Brown act brown act blah blah blah. Dont you guys get it? Jim Righeimer can do ANYTHING he wants. Except for outsource the employees...BWAHAHAHAHAHA

6/15/2013 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Watch these guys! said...

I read some of Jeff Arthur's comments regarding the dire condition of Costa Mesa because of the Unfunded Pension obligations of city employees.

What does Tom Hatch's raise, step increase or whatever do to that Unfunded Pension we hear is killing us? Is it raising our Unfunded liability?

Is Costa Mesa responsible for all of Tom Hatch's past years at whatever city he came from?

Also interesting to me is it seems to not get mentioned but does the private sector offer these step increases? It seems they don't automatically offer these. But I guess some non private sector differences are OK to this group.

If the Unfunded liability is increased do they use the new higher number they created to trash their city employees even more?

If this step increase does raise the Unfunded liability then watch out because I would guess that Dane Joyce, Bill Lobdel, Rick Francis and some other $150K per year boosts might not be far behind. Lets get that Unfunded liability as high as we can so we can trash the general city employee who makes about an average of about $70k per year base salary.

6/15/2013 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous George Ponzini said...

Krochman to Ridge:
"You must treat us to your personal analysis of each City Manager in Costa Mesa. I'll help jog your memory, you can start with George Coffey.
Please provide examples for each one as to why you believe they were strong, effective managers."


No expressing anti-Righeimer opinions unless you are ready to recite a list of things Krochman might demand.

Today's Quiz:
When Krochman endorsed Mensinger, was he also endorsing Mensinger's airport badge flashing and bullying of a baggage employee?

Please cite reasons why people might believe Krochman supports such behavior.

After Mensinger had a physical altercation with a teacher and Krochman supported him for city council, explain why people might think Krochman endorses physical confrontation of local citizens by those he agrees with politically.

6/15/2013 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

OK......Since I "must" do this.....

Here's a nice article about George Coffey and how his vision shaped Costa Mesa.
"Coffey's biggest contributions to Costa Mesa were his ability to hire good people --such as Costa Mesa's first police chief, Arthur McKenzie -- and
creating the city's master plan."

6/16/2013 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Go Yankees! said...

Well, the Angels beat the Yankees yesterday!
I have always like the Yankees but never got to see them in person.
I thought yesterday would be a great time to see the Yankees and REPORT on the game.
So I headed to Angels stadium and went to the press gate and said I was a blogger who was there to cover the game. Guess what? They did not allow me in as press! They apparently have a credentialing policy that is used to weed out Yankee fans. I was told that being a blogger does not allow me free admission to the game even though I said I would not partake of the food left out for press. I told them I had 1st amendment rights to be press and thus should be allowed into any venue I wanted to cover, even if I was a Yankee fan. I was escorted out. Why are the Angels trying to squash the press about their poor play this year? They even ended up winning this game but the real story is their huge payroll and what has it exactly gotten them? They have the so called "legitimate press" in their back pocket. It is time bloggers were credentialed for all events as press. I want to go to the Academy Awards next year and, by gum, I will be there as press!

6/16/2013 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous gericult is certifiable said...

Gericult needs to remember that Katrina Foley demanded and ran around city hall with her hair on fire to get Hatch hired. Foley would not leave unless and until this happened.

That does not matter to those who are angry and focus that anger on whoever is standing in front of them.

6/16/2013 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

That's one Greg, you have a ways to go to make up 60 years of city managers.

6/16/2013 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous The Yankee Spankys said...

The Costa Mesa City Council is like the Yankees of MLB. They think they have all the Money in the world and can do whatever they want. Both are a waste of time.

6/16/2013 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Good one George P!

In light of his support for extremists like Mensy, Krochman can't claim the moral or intellectual high ground on Costa Mesa issues.

6/16/2013 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous argentine river trip said...

tracking dolts: I think hang ur head is Stavely himself. see the admiration for stavely in the post

6/18/2013 07:25:00 AM  

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