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.