The Grass is Greenah in…uh, Pasadena

Work with me here…

You probably know that I make a lot of requests for information from the city. And, under the California Public Records Act, they are obliged to give it to me whether they want to or not (mostly not). A lot of stuff I ask for, admittedly, is a fishing expedition that will hopefully turn up the dirt I am looking for. Sometimes you just have to connect enough dots to make sense of what our “transparent” city is trying to hide.

A reader of mine (and apparent staffer at City Hall) alerted me to the impending departure of Tustin Human Resources Director, Krisine Recchia. I smelled a story of pain, deceit and freedom but I don’t publish unverified information. So, I was looking for something that would indicate some truth to the story. While making another PRA request I decided to slip in a second request to “provide me with the resignation letter or other documentation on the resignation of HR Director Kristine Recchia. A half hour later, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from the lady herself.

Kristine said she saw my PRA request for her letter of resignation and knew the city probably would decline to provide it to me due to personnel matters. So, she wanted to make sure I had the correct story about why she was leaving the city. Indeed, she had accepted a position with the city of Pasadena as Director of Human Resources. Kristine, who came to the city of Tustin from a Santa Fe Springs mid-level management position, has been with us for about six and a half years. Of her move to Pasadena, she said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I will be moving into an expanded position with much more responsibility. The city of Pasadena is a full service city with over 800 employees. I am looking forward to the new challenges of a new job.”

When asked, Kristine was adamant that she loved Tustin. In fact, she lives here with her family and intends to remain here. She said the only motivation for her move was the new opportunities that would come with the position. I imagine the new salary will not hurt either. In comparing overall compensation between the two cities, Her base compensation could rise more than $30 thousand dollars a year.  There are other perks that go with a job that size as well. And, she won’t have to change retirement systems as both Tustin and Pasadena are in PERS.

In speaking with Dan Chmielewski of The Liberal OC, Dan said that Kristine is one of the few staff members whom he felt always tried to be as transparent as possible with him. “It’s unusual to find an HR director who will be as frank and professional as Kristine is”. The fact that Kristine wanted to get in front of her departure and make sure I had all the information I needed says volumes for her reputation.

Kristine officially leaves city employment for greener pastures on September 30th. Please join me in bidding her a fond farewell and good luck in her new position. One thing is for sure: Pasadena may be a much bigger city but they still have the hometown feel and lots of trees (and the world class Norton-Simon Museum of Art). So, Kristine should feel right at home. And, as we said before, she intends to continue to live here with her family so we will not lose her completely. Hmm. Perhaps we’ll see a new side of Kristine.

About Jeff Gallagher

My day job is a peace officer for the 2nd largest law enforcement agency in Orange County. I live in and love Tustin where my family and I have resided for the past 17 years. I am a highly moderate libertarian that despises hardcore Republicans, Democrats and anyone else who is not willing to compromise for the good of the people.

Posted on September 28, 2012, in Local Government, nonpolitical and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What a steaming pile of drivel. Kristi is the reason David Biggs got fired and Parker saw that writing on the wall.

    • Care to expand on that? Because, that’s certainly not the way we saw it. Biggs was fired for not going along with the Three Amigos on the TUSD issues. He had a huge difference of opinion in how to run the city than Hizzoner and ran smack into the brick wall because he wouldn’t roll over and play dead like Huston did for so many years. In fact, it was Amante himself that said the relationship between the city council and the city manager was unsatisfactory. Everything points to Hizzoner and the other two, not Recchia.

      You sound more like a city employee with an axe to grind but, if you have insider information you would like to share, please do so either in a comment or in an email to me. Remember, you have to back up your claim with fact. We don’t do Anonymous letters around here.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. I don’t have any proof to offer, just observations, just like you don’t in reporting on a conversation. if i am disgruntled so are the other 280 or so who are celebrating Kristi’s farewell. Your blog is purely opinion and your own understanding of city hall since you don’t have any insiders to help temper your ideas. You blog in a vacuum and that is fine. I can therefore comment in a vacuum. By Biggs’ own stupidity he chose Kristi as his confidant. She led him astray just as Parker was led astray by her in panicking by offering the early retirement without any sort of plan behind it. Tustin has a great brain drain it will have to contend with. How many of these positions will have to be refilled? Just as Obama says, you must aim before you fire.

    • Ow, that hurt (not). Considering the number of people who feed me leads and bonafide information from city hall and the fact I make a huge number of PRAs which they are obliged to answer, I hardly think I blog in a vacuum. Neither do the majority of my readers.

      I never considered you comment in a vacuum. I just asked you to show me some proof. If you can show me one thing on my blog, that I haven’t labeled as purely opinion, that is not backed up by research and proof, show me. In fact, most of my opinions are backed up by proof.

      The facts about Bigg’s firing and the subsequent rehiring are well known. They are not just my opinion but the opinion of both The Liberal OC and the OC Register who both ran stories on the firing. All three of us ran our stories based on fact and opined accordingly.

      On the other hand, as I said, your comments sound like that of a disgruntled employee who felt they weren’t treated fairly but does not have any real proof to back up their claim.

      The brain drain has been caused by the Three Amigos and their stupidity in allowing the early retirements through a scam golden parachute scheme and their arrogance in thinking they are actually fiscal conservatives when they are not.. That is a factual statement, not conjecture.

      And, if you will reread the story, you will note I never met Kristine, just had a nice conversation with her about her departure. She is going to greener pastures and I commend her for that. She has never been the subject of scrutiny (few HR managers are) and no one has ever said a word, good or bad, about her until you brought it up. And you are the only one to bring it up (so far).

  3. Faux reporting from faux media. So, Mr. Biggs, an appointed offical serving at the pleasure of the council should be able to overrule the council majority? Oh and one little complication there: the council members are elected by the voters. If Watcher is a disgruntaled employee you must be a disgruntaled blogger. Must be frustrating when your candidates can win at the ballot box.

    As for the “3 Amigos” and the brain drain. Really? You been spending to much time in Juvie? Do you really think that plan was advanced by the council or maybe the new city manager and his hr director? You must not have to many contacts within any city since you don’t seem to know how that really works. Maybe you should ask Parker what is plan is now all his expirenced managers are leaving. The Council did and he said he didn’t have one!There is a fact go investigate it.

  4. If by, “disgruntled” you mean, watchdog, then yes, I am guilty as charged. No faux reporting here. I can back up every word written. I see that you didn’t, though. Do you have some memo or email or just your belief that Parker said that? Also, when was the golden parachute put into place for the 37 and who approved it, Parker or the City Council run by, you guessed it, the Three Amigos. The plan, if you read the supporting documents like I did, by the way, shows that staff actually came up with the grand scheme, not Parker. I would bet this thing had been going on long before Parker came on board.

    Should Biggs be allowed to overrule the council? It is his job to run the city with oversight from the council. If Biggs acted on his conscience to square the problems with TUSD, then the council should have listened to him instead of an overblown flapping gasket like Amante.

    But, what does this have to do with Kristine? Or, was it just your intention to bash the blog? Good luck with that.

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