Thursday, September 19, 2013

Employee Organization Announces New Phase Of Lawsuit

The Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which represents the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (CMCEA) in its lawsuit against the lawsuit filed against the City of Costa Mesa for what they contend were illegal layoff notices sent to more than half the CMCEA membership over two years ago, has announced a new phase in that lawsuit.

According to a press release issued today, the full text of which is below,  the current judge handling the lawsuit, Judge Luis A. Rodriguez, issued a qualified rejection of an amended complaint filed by the CMCEA, but also allowed the employees to amend their complaint.  The ruling also vacated the January, 2014 trial date and established a Case Management Conference in December.

Costa Mesa enters new phase of outsourcing litigation
COSTA MESA As one of the first actions marking a new phase in the litigation between Costa Mesa employees and the City of Costa Mesa since the City withdrew layoff notices to more than 200 employees earlier this year, a Superior Court judge this afternoon issued a qualified rejection of an amended complaint filed by the Costa Mesa City Employees Association.

But Judge Luis A. Rodriguez also allowed the Employees leave to amend their complaint to allege additional facts about the City’s outsourcing plans that have occurred over the past several months.

Today’s action marks a new phase of the ongoing litigation, as the Court decides how to address the outsourcing issues in the wake of the City rescinding pink slips for more than half of its employees.

The Costa Mesa City Council majority in March 2011 first issued more than 200 pink slips to employees as part of their desire to privatize City services. In June 2012, Superior Court Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann issued a preliminary injunction blocking the City from outsourcing to the private sector.

The City appealed that decision, and in August 2012, the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the City’s request in a lengthy opinion, which the Court later published.

The City rescinded the pink slips earlier this year, so CMCEA agreed to dissolve the preliminary injunction. CMCEA filed and amended its complaint to reflect the changing circumstances and articulate the City Council’s ongoing efforts to outsource City services.

Attorneys for CMCEA will now prepare and file an amended complaint consistent with the Court’s order and comments from the bench. CMCEA will continue to protect the legal rights of its members and require the City through the Court to comply with the restraints on outsourcing municipal services confirmed in last year’s Court of Appeal decision.

The Court also vacated the January 2014 trial date and set a Case Management Conference for Dec. 11, 2014.

Some will recall that the Jim Righeimer-led city council violated their own council policy when they issued invalid layoff notices to more than 200 employees two and a half years ago - a move that was punctuated by the unfortunate suicide of young Costa Mesa maintenance worker, Huy Pham, who leaped to his death from the roof of City Hall.

This event was to become the bellwether of things to come in Costa Mesa, where the relationship between the elected leaders and the city employees has - as unimaginable as it might seem - gone downhill since then.  Recently the mayor and mayor pro tem has sued the members of the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association, accusing them of placing them - the elected officials - in such a fragile mental condition that they have had to seek medical attention and have suffered loss of income.  And yet, they continue to show up and inflict further damage to the city in their fragile condition.

I have no idea how the lawsuit will turn out, but the employees continue to fight for their rights against an administration that has created a toxic workplace for most employees to the extent that we have seen many seeking jobs in other municipalities rather than remain in our city. 

This bogus plan is finally coming home to roost, though.  City CEO Tom Hatch announced a $7 million budget surplus at the last council meeting, then followed up by also announcing that the city is unable to provide the level of service expected by the residents and necessary to keep the business of the city running properly, so an increased recruitment effort to fill the 44 authorized, open vacancies will be undertaken immediately.  We presume that includes the many vacancies in the police ranks, although the hiring process for those positions can take a year or longer.

The current elected leadership of our city - specifically Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger - have demonstrated over and over again that they are incompetent to manage our city.  Their priorities are clearly out of line with wishes and needs of the residents.  They place filling potholes well ahead of providing a safe city for residents, visitors and businesses - and crow about it, too boot.

They have created an environment where corruption can thrive and rules designed to protect our precious municipal assets are routinely ignored.  These men pontificated about running our city like a business, but apparently neglected to tell us they meant failed businesses.  They are responsible for racking up millions of dollars in legal fees to defend their actions - all straight from city coffers.  They seem on course to saddle our city with municipal bankruptcy - going so far as to have one of their hand-picked committees receive a municipal bankruptcy workshop -  to fulfill their goals of busting employee organizations.  They have demonstrated, by their actions, a cavalier disregard for the well-being and reputation of this city - placing it a distant second to their personal political goals.

One can only hope that a slumbering electorate will finally be shaken awake and begin paying attention to the damage these men are doing to our city and make the changes in the voting booth necessary to restore this city to it's position as a city to be admired for its accomplishments, not ridiculed by neighboring leaders.

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Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

Why is Righeimer calling Gazsi on the carpet for not having more cops? RIGGY himself caused this S##T storm.

Why would ANY qualified candidate come to Costa Mesa to work as a cop?
The ONLY reason will be training.

AFTER CMPD does the heavy lifting (Training), the good cops will go elsewhere, as many of the good ones already have.

Riggy handcuffed the CMPD for YEARS and now he wants answers? What a D-bag....

165 cops just a few short years ago...Now there are about a hundred....Uh oh!

Have fun every Tuesday, Chief!

Citizens of Costa Mesa, wake up!

9/19/2013 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Where did Riggy get the power to order the Chief to do anything?,.....oh yeah, he got it from Tom Hatch for not putting a stop to it.

9/19/2013 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Squad 51 said...

It's possible that Righeimer is starting to realize that within the year, as the PD continues it's deflation, it's going to start to become news that the PD has become too understaffed to do it's job. There's going to be forced OT and even a possibility that other agencies are going to need to be used. Somebody other than this blog and a few letters to the Pilot are going to make a news story out of it.
It looks like his nature started to the surface when he started pushing Chief Gazsi toward the bus with his comments about him not having a plan.
Things are going to get interesting.

9/19/2013 07:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Does anyone remember Costa Mesa before Righeimer came here and started all this trouble?

After he's gone, the rest of the story will be all the Costa Mesans who sided with outsiders and enabled this guy to do damage.

9/19/2013 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

I'm hearing that there is already LOTS of FORCED overtime.

Soon, Riggy will bitch about overtime by the money grubbing unions.

Jim...make up your mind because you can't have it both ways.

9/20/2013 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Atlas Shrunk said...

Council member Righeimer (the title Mayor is honorific and properly used only when he is presiding at the council meeting dais or at some other ceremonial function.), is not elected by the people (no Costa Mesa mayor is) and though people have the habit of referring to someone as mayor they really aren't the same as a directly-elected mayor.
The mayor has no more authority than any other council member apart from presiding at the meetings, and that with the leave of majority of the council, which could choose to override any action of the mayor at a meeting at any time as an urgency item. Since the majority always seems to side with the current mayor he gets away with a lot of things that should not be tolerated.
For example, the police chief would be within his rights to tell any council member that presumed to issue an order on their own authority to have aerial intercourse with a rolling deep fried circular pastry.
Orders from a vote of the council majority, duly noticed and available for public comment prior to the vote and delivered through the city manager, are a different thing.
It's high time the council learned some civics and exactly what form of government that they were elected to.
They are not elected to Parliament where the head of the majority party rules, they were elected to a NON PARTISAN OFFICE to represent the CITIZENS OF COSTA MESA AS A WHOLE.
It is long past time to take off the party hats, put them away until the next silly season and get down to the serious business of governing rightly for the benefit of all.

9/20/2013 10:38:00 PM  

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