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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Employees Honor Allan Roeder

We laughed, we cried.  Brad and Dane produced a great summary of Allan's life. Allan spoke, with a few tears, of his great love for all of our employees and our City.   You'll have to ask one of our great employees to fill you in. 

Why are we such a great city? Because for more than 25 years Allan Roeder has been the leader--through many, many council members, who came and went--he was there for continuity.  His integrity. His humility. His love for our city. His love for our residents.  The way he LISTENS to you and helps you understand everything, even pensions and pension reform. All of that stuff matters, it really does.

His legacy?  Our employees who serve our residents with respect--regardless.

I am not opposed to analyzing how we deliver services which may lead to outsourcing, I just don't think we need to jump the gun and send pink slips to our employees before we do our homework.  I agree to the principles, just not the tactics.

Out of respect for our residents and employees, we always have, under Allan Roeder's direction, asked staff to gather all the facts, present the options, listened to the public and voted. We were prepared before we made our decisions.

In the last four years that I have served on the Council it has not been "us" versus "them".  All residents were equal in my opinion and I have tried to go out of my way to listen to other viewpoints.  Everyone knows I am a Conservative Republican, but I understand we have residents who have other ideologies and as an elected official who wants the best for Costa Mesa, I feel it is my duty to listen to their viewpoints and try to understand and take that information into account when I vote on issues impacting Costa Mesa residents. We are all taxpayers and want the best for our city.

In the past, although I  may have disagreed with residents and public input, I was respectful and honored those who had different ideas. Sometimes, after public input, I have changed my mind on a matter. (I voted for the city manager-CEO name change, for example. ) That's what the "public hearing" is for. As a public official I have been reminded many times, that I should not make up my mind on any matter before I come to the meeting.

However, now a new process has begun whereby one or two council members present some item to the mayor to be put on the agenda, and voila, it happens and takes on a life of its own.  The facts will be gathered later, input from residents (who don't understand what is going on anyway), doesn't matter and there is a bigger picture here that only a few are privy to.  There is a condescending attitude toward our residents and employees and their input. There is an unwillingness to be flexible and study issues before voting. I think we are micromanaging and doing things the city manager should be doing or delegating.  Being on the city council is NOT a full time job.

What's the rush? People have asked me about how I plan to solve the budget issues--I will continue to work with staff as I have always done. We have a standard budget process.   I do not believe our situation is as dire as others believe.  We are not running out of money. There are some exaggerations of the projections--the PERS numbers after next year for example.   The chart "Pooled cash investments by fund" show we are trending back with $66 million total in the fund.  Pension projections vary also. There is not just one way to look at something. Outsourcing could be more expensive.

In the last two budget cycles we have cut about $35 million and employees have helped us by offering solutions including paying for their retirement benefits. I don't think we should put the blame on our employees--it is what is--we need to work together to find solutions and I will continue to do that. But at this point the Council is not willing to even meet with them. I can't understand why staff was not brought in to discuss adding paramedics.  I am concerned about legal challenges to the lay off notices as well.  We might end up spending more on legal costs when we intended to save money.

With sadness, I bid good bye to Mr. Roeder and thank him for all he has done for our city and to help me be a better public servant. He has set the bar very high as an example for us, and to honor him I believe we all will continue to maintain that bar as we go forward.


valan2 said...

Politics make strange bedfellows. I, a liberal Democrat, wholeheartedly agree with everything Wendy, a conservative Republican, said. This is not meant to discredit Wendy in the eyes of her party, but simply to say that we both think decisions need to be based on solid information. Once the information is in, we may disagree on what to do with it, but you can't formulate a valid opinion - much less make life-changing decisions - without facts. (Well, four Council members can, but that doesn't make it right.) Lastly, thank you, Wendy, for acknowledging Allan Roeder's invaluable contribution to this great City.

Anonymous said...

It's not hard to tell the difference between who really cares about the city and the residents, and the politicians who just want to make things look better for their own benefits.

Anonymous said...


We are so blessed to have you on the council. Everyone can see that you are the ONLY level-headed one. It is so apparent that the OC republican party has a huge hand on our council now. Righeimer and Mensinger will vote the same and they only have to talk 1 of 2 others to think like them, which is apparently pretty easy.

It seems that the boys want a city torn into pieces without any dedicated employees left who actually have a vested interest in the City and loyalty to their job, their City. Their City FAMILY, their City they support with what money they have to spend on food, shopping and services.

It was apparent at the last council meeting that the boys do not care about what the residents or employees think. Just like an article title read the other day. "Costa Mesa Council votes to lay off now, ask questions later."

I loved how you asked Righeimer why he didn't consult with his own city staff first about the EMS service issue. Of course he could not respond. This shows how he wants to run the City and no one was surprised it passed 4-0. They actually laughed.

Righeimer is using Costa Mesa as his political playground to get ahead in politics at the cost of the lives of employees who have worked so hard to keep the City a nice place to live and work. City employees are REAL people with families, bills and obligations.

Employees are NOT to blame for the mess that the City is in. Past council failure to raise fees or even charge fees for services is the true problem. The City has not raised fees/taxes until recently for about 10 to 20 years. Monahan's restaurant would have been closed a long time ago if he ran it like the City. Yes, the City has South Coast Plaza and Harbor Blvd. of cars, but look at what happened when the economy tanked!

THAT is the true source of what the City’s problem, NOT City employee pensions! Look at the cost between what City "Miscellaneous" employees pays for PERS and the City's cost compared to Fire & PD. Why is it that the people who make least pay the most?

If Skosh Monahan’s relied only on 1 major customer to stay afloat, it would have gone out of business a long time ago. Why was the City run this way? Costa Mesa doesn't have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem. Why is the TOT tax so low? Why is out business license fee so low?

The Miscellaneous employees have taken the majority of the hit during the lay-offs. PD & Fire say they lost personnel, but it did not come from their associations. It was the Civilian Personnel that were laid off. The Miscellaneous Employees that pay more in PERS contributions and have taken the majority of the cuts!

Enough IS enough! Stop blaming employees and run this City like a business if they want! CHARGE MORE FEES! Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdales and Macy's will be able to pay $20,000 to do business here. They pay $200 and make MILLIONS!

Righeimer is doing what John Moorlach is trying to do with the pensions. He lost last month at the State Court of Appeal.

Taxpayers: How much of your money do you want to spend fighting a losing battle with the boys? It's already been proven with John Moorlach's failed attempts. Furthermore, I read that as a general law City, the City may not legally contract out work that is currently performed by city employees. How much of your hard earned money will you spend to stand behind the boys?

How much did Mansoor's fight on illegal immigrants cost you and where is he now? I predict Righeimer, like Mansoor will not be around when you finally feel the effects of what he is doing to the City.

Do you like being treated like you're garbage like at the last council meeting? Do you like your voice not to be heard? If your answer is no then start a recall on Righeimer and the boys. Anything less than a recall would mean more of the same.

Lastly, thank you Wendy for having a level head.

The above is my opinion on what is going on. PLEASE do your fact checking and you WILL be shocked to see I'm right.

Anonymous said...

Are the five City Council members are the only temps out of of all the temporary status city employees that get taxpayer paid PERS benefits, including possibly pensions when eligible? When did that start? Maybe someone should find out and find out when the Mayor was first elected? Speaking of Skosh, wasn't he on the Council many of the years that decisions were made on issues such as PERS benefits, City contributions, employee salaries and staffing levels, City expenditures, City fees, and City budgets and reserves? just some thoughts and opinions of course. You do your own thinking and research.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Wendy! Your reconsideration requests are right on. The public has the right to know, and the Council the duty to provide all relevant considerations of vital decisions by Council that materially affect the residents. Roeder. Humility unlimited. DP headline photo shows Allan bowing before a smug Skosh who leads the decline and destruction of what Allan helped craft, a great city government that well serves the public, by ending his lifetime of service bowing to the destructor. Lets see ... so far since this decade began ... we have lost two city attorneys and now a city manager.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think this term will get Skosh to his tenure and a PER Retirement. Just ask him.