After eight days on the road, it is good to be home. New Mexico and my brother send their felicitations. The road was (mostly) smooth and the temperatures hot as Julie and I traversed Arizona and New Mexico searching for the lost remnants of the mother road, Route 66. We found and rode quite a bit of it and you can read about our adventures here. Give me some time to catch up and post some pictures as well. Eventually, we’ll have the whole, sordid story posted. Now, on to the politics of the day…
The highlight of the upcoming Tustin City Council meeting is the agreement of the police and police support unions to new contracts. Also up for a vote in the regular session are amendments to the Deputy City Manager and the Chief of Police employment contracts. Both positions will begin paying additional contributions toward their retirement in CALPERS. Unfortunately, the city manager has seen fit to adjust the salaries of both to cover the added cost of the contributions by adding a top step to their respective salary ranges. This, in effect, gives Chief Jordan a total of a 10% salary increase over the past year as he was previously given a sham 5% raise supposedly to keep him from taking employment elsewhere. The contracts are a win-win for both executives as the Tustin taxpayer, once again, gets the shaft. Just another example of the Republican giving to Republican cronies, letting the public pay.
Not leaving himself out of the Tustin City Gravy Train, City Manager Jeff Parker has decided to further consolidate his power base by “clarifying” his hire/fire authority and ability to adjust the salaries of any employee (particularly his executive cronies) without need to bring it into public light by having the city council authorize it. Understand,this goes far beyond the normal merit raise system. Remember the new step in Deputy City Manager Charles Robinson’s pay scale the council is being asked to approve? He doesn’t get it right away. But, under this particular move, Parker is left open to “adjust” Robinson’s pay anytime he desires after the city council approves this resolution. We suspect it will take about a week before Parker “awards” a $22,000 pay raise to Robinson.
Parker, in the same breath, also claims there was an “error” in the calculation of the original number of leave hours for Robinson when he was hired. He now wishes to rectify that through resolution. However, if the original calculation was truly in error, why would Parker need council authority to fix it now? Hopefully, someone on the city council will question this, and all of these issues, and -hopefully- in open session rather than behind closed doors.
Oh, and by the way, Parker, through the city attorney, has recommended himself for a raise of nearly five thousand dollars a year to offset his increased pension payments as well as a one-time payment of $24,000 to reward him for settling contracts with the “majority of the city’s represented employee groups (except the largest, TMEA, which they have reached impasse). He further justifies this through his constructive firing of former city PIO, Lisa Woolery, and ostensibly taking on those added duties. Parker will also receive increased health and welfare benefits.
It seems that Tustin Municipal Employees Association chief negotiator, Frank Flavin, is on to their tricks as I am told the TMEA and the city have declared an impasse in negotiations for the rank and file employee. Rank and file employees, along with the public safety unions, previously stepped up to the plate and began contributing more to their pensions last year. To my knowledge, not one union member has received a raise while virtually all senior and executive managers have received substantial increases in pay and benefits. This is the typical haves/havenots form of perverted leadership that Republicans in Orange County have shown from the highest ranks of the county. And, unfortunately, the Tustin City Council is either asleep at the wheel or decisively ignorant of what is going on around them. So, don’t expect Chuck Puckett or the Podiatrist Councilman to do more than hide their head in the sand and vote yes. We wonder if Beckie Gomez isn’t now wishing she had shown stronger support for Worley-Hagen and Waldram, both of whom supported true open government.
Conference with Legal Council – Two Items each, Initiation of and Exposure to Litigation.
Public Employee Performance Evaluation – City Manager & City Attorney.
Labor Negotiation – All union represented and unrepresented employees.
Conference with Real Property Negotiators – Two issues, including the Army Reserve Base located on Barranca Parkway adjacent to the District.
Public Health Goals 2010-3012 Report – Report and Hearing on the health of the water supplied to customers.
Approve Agreement for Information Technology Services Network Infrastructure – upgrade of computer and VOIP services in city buildings and maintenance contract with Govplace.
Declaration of Surplus Property – Assorted computer equipment.
Amendments to Deputy City Manager and Police Chief Employment Agreements – Amends contracts to provide additional compensation and leave hours in the case of the deputy city manager.
Amendment to the City Manager Employment Agreement – Increases city manager’s pay by 5%, increases employee retirement contributions, increases health & welfare benefits.
Resolutions Regarding Memoranda of Understanding – TPOA, TPSSA, TPMA (public safety unions) Approval of 2-year MOUs making changes to compensation by adding an additional salary step and accelerating increased employee contributions to pensions.
Salary Resolutions for Unrepresented Executive Management, Supervisory and Confidential Employees – Eliminates employer paid pension contributions of members, adds step to salary range resulting in increase of $324K in employee costs for management.