Friday, December 23, 2016

A Special Christmas Greeting To Costa Mesa Employees

As I type this it's the last work day of the year for most of the Costa Mesa City employees, although some will work the weekend and even Christmas Day.  So, before all of them take off for the week and enjoy a much-deserved holiday hiatus, I just wanted to send them a little message.

I know many of you personally.  Some of you have become good friends, others just casual acquaintances and many of you probably wouldn't know me if you drove over me in the City Hall parking lot.  I don't recommend that, by the way - thank you very much.
Regardless, I wanted to write this to you this evening to remind you that I, and many, many other Costa Mesa residents, are very grateful to those of you who have hung in there these past six years.  We understand what you've been going through.  We understand how difficult it has been for you to feel not only un-appreciated by some of the elected leaders of our city but, in fact, actually despised for the compensation and retirement benefits you earn every day.
From the low watermark in our city -  the day those 200+ illegal layoff notices were issued and poor Huy Pham jumped to his death on St. Patrick's Day of 2011 - until the final numbers were counted in this most recent election, you've dealt with more trauma and drama than most could endure.  You've seen many of your senior compatriots depart, either for an earlier-than-planned retirement or for greener pastures at other cities or in the private sector.
You've seen the elected leadership of this city treat some of you as chattel, chopping your labor contracts to 1980s levels.  Others have seen the negotiations on contracts stalled for years - some are still stalled.
You've seen the filling of potholes placed before public safety in our city.  You've seen recruitment efforts curtailed for most of a year, causing the Police Department, for example, to fall so far behind in filling holes in the organization that it will take at least another year to get back to proper staffing levels, all the while crime is on the rise due to many circumstances beyond our control.
You've seen elected leaders stall the deployment of the Rescue Ambulances, causing the loss of millions in revenue to our city and stalling the implementation of the new staff deployment model.
You've seen lawsuit after lawsuit drain the city coffers due to the arrogant disregard for the rules by certain elected leaders.  And you've seen your staff leaders hamstrung by micromanagement by those same elected leaders.
Today you're operating with a third fewer fellow staff members than you were just a decade ago, and most of those cuts have come in the past six years.  And, many of those departures were senior staffers, who took with them not only their institutional knowledge, but their intellectual courage and  leadership, as well.
And, through all that you have stayed and persevered.  You've hunkered down and done your jobs, usually getting faint praise for those efforts.  You've worked overtime beyond normal limits to keep the wheels of city government rolling and the residents, businesses and visitors served.  Many of you have found yourselves being led by contractors with no real attachment to the City except a contract, and, while many of them have been good folks, it's not the same as having solid, vested city employees at your side, providing guidance, is it?
Well, on the cusp of the Christmas holiday I wanted to write to you tonight to tell you that many of the residents out here DO appreciate your ongoing efforts to keep our city running.  We DO understand what you've been facing, trying to do jobs that are challenging enough without unnecessary impediments being placed in front of you.
Following the election last month there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It's clear to me, a resident for more than 43 years and long-time council-watcher, that the new council majority is fully aware of the problems you've faced and is going to work quickly to resolve many of those.  It will take some time to undo some of the issues involved, so I hope you will continue to work hard, knowing that your efforts are appreciated and that things will be getting better for you soon.
So, speaking only for my sweet and very patient wife and myself, we want to thank you for your efforts on our behalf.  We want you to know we appreciate every one of you.  As we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, I think I'll let Mariah Carey tell you how we feel about you.  Happy New Year to you all.

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Blogger Gay said...

Beautiful, this made me cry. Looking forward to the future for everyone! Merry Christmas.

12/23/2016 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

Geoff, thamk you for saying this so elegantly, we are beyond grateful for ALL employees who believed in our city and residents enough to wait out the reign of terror. 2017 will be a year with many decisions and challenges but we have a council that is prepared to take them on and arrive at the best resolution. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, a year of hope for our little village....

12/23/2016 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Geoff West said it perfectly.

12/23/2016 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous cindyrella said...

Geoff, thank you for expressing the appreciation we have for our all of our Costa Mesa employees. They've suffered the wrath and managed to endure. Kudos to ALL of them! I imagine this will be an historical year - A year of repair, renewal and rethinking for our City. Hallelujah that it is finally is here! Happy New Year to Costa Mesa!!!

12/23/2016 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cindy Lou Who said...

Well said. I'd like to add a huge THANK YOU from Me & Tom from the bottom of our hearts. Merry Christmas & YES a Very Happy New Year!

12/23/2016 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Thank you,Geoff, for eloquently expressing the thanks in the hearts of the people of Costa Mesa - well, most of us, anyway - for the loyalty and fine work the city employees have done in the most trying of circumstances. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and Susie and all those who belong to Costa Mesa.

12/23/2016 10:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

I'm still decompressing from the 6 years of confounding leadership by the cabal.
(Lest we forget who has done this to us, I list them here for permanent recognition:
*Righeimer, the leader
* Mensinger, follower
* Monahan, follower
* Bever, follower.)

If I'm still decompressing, I can't imagine how long it will take for the city employees to get grounded again.

A speedy recovery and best wishes to them all.

And best wishes to you, Pot Stirrer, and all your Costa Mesa patriot readers/commentors.

And get some rest! You'll need it to stay awake; there are going to be a lot of the boring meetings that a well-led city has. You know, like the 50+ years prior to the Righeimer Reign of Error.

12/23/2016 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Geoff, thank you for this commentary. Not only did the city employees have to endure all you set forth, but verbal abuse as well. One thing Steve never learned was that you don't attack the city employees or the police and fire personnel. Negotiate pensions if you will, but the attacks these people suffered are inexcusable.

While we understand it will take a lot of time to get this city back on track, we can all look forward to a better future now. I am hoping that the police and fire departments will be staffed properly, even though they seemingly insurmountable problems in doing that now due to a bad reputation. Let's hope and pray that we will start to find people who want to come to this city despite the reputation it has.

Merry Christmas Geoff, and also to your loving and very patient wife. My wife and I want to extend Merry Christmas thoughts to all our city personnel as well as CMFD and CMPD.

12/24/2016 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Thank you for all the hours you put in watching meetings and writing about them. Your blog is very informative and has served as a catalyst for positive change in Costa Mesa.

12/29/2016 09:52:00 AM  

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