Has Anderson been sipping Moorlach’s Kool-aid?

Well, I’m finally getting around to writing about this, after the President’s Day weekend. 

Acting Orange County Sheriff Jack Anderson must REALLY want to get on Board of Supervisor’s Chairman John Moorlach’s good side.  I know he’s trying to get appointed Sheriff, but I think he’s been sipping some of Moorlach’s Kool-aid.

The Orange County Register reported on Thursday Sheriff Jack Anderson is proposing a radical reshaping of Orange County jails that could save taxpayers as much as $80 million each year by using as many as 700 correctional officers instead of deputies to staff the county’s three main facilities that house prisoners.

First, why would he think that paying people less to do the job of running our county jails is a solution? Is he suggesting that the problems are the result of a lack of training or a lack of discipline? If so, can’t that be fixed through department leadership?

Second, his estimate of potential cost savings appears to be based upon “Moorlach Math.” Moorlach Math is when you pull a number out of thin air, claim it is based upon some real data, and then reach conclusions that would not otherwise be possible.

The Orange County Register reported that Anderson claims that with the huge difference in pension and salary the new plan would save as much as $34 million in one year by staffing correctional officers throughout existing facilities. Taking into account the proposed expansion of the James A. Musick Correctional Facility in Irvine, Anderson said the savings could soar as high as $80 million each year.

What he left out, due to Moorlach math, is what he plans to do with the 700 deputy sheriff’s that would be replaced by correctional officers. So Jack, are you going to lay them off or do you expect 700 deputies to vanish due to attrition?

My favorite part is Anderson’s claim that he expected to “be hiring people within six months,” and that although the plan would create a new class of jail employee, he doesn’t see it necessary to negotiate with the deputies union over the change. “We’re not going to negotiate on this,” he said.

What some people are willing to do to get a job? 

  10 comments for “Has Anderson been sipping Moorlach’s Kool-aid?

  1. February 19, 2008 at 9:10 am


    Anderson has no plans to lay off deputies. Part of the point is to get them out on the street where they can be deputies instead of jailers.

  2. February 19, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Oh, I didn’t know there was a shortage of deputies on the streets. Do the contract agencies know this? Will their costs go up to reflect the afdditional deputies in their cities?

  3. February 19, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Chris, since the Musick expansion will require more jailers, we can a) hire more deputies to be jailers b) take deputies off the streets to be jailers or c) hire correctional officers to be jailers.

    Do you think it is good that we pay to send deputy candidates to the sheriff’s academy to learn how to be police officers, and then have them spend the next 8 years as jailers? Is it a good thing that it’s becoming more common for deputies to spend half their careers or more working in the jail?

    Consider that it might be a better deal for the citizens and taxpayers of Orange County if more of their deputies are work as deputies rather than prison guards.

  4. Bladerunner
    February 19, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Chris–Jubal has a point. The training for a correctional officer differs from that of a deputy in the street. And I suspect there is a need for more flatfoots in the hinterlands. And for many deputies, the jail is an entry level position that leads many to count the days until they get transferred into the patrol or other division. You need career corrections people. I just believe you can do this without breaking up a bargaining unit or contracting out the jobs.

    it’s my speculation of course but I suspect Anderson is moving on this as part of his campaign for a permanent job. With an electorate of five–and a majority which won’t flinch at a position that directly or indirectly clips the AOCDS, Anderson’s proposal has a certain” Panderbear” aspect to it. I also think he’s wrong about this not being a mandatory bargaining issue. But even though an idea might have its inspiration in political or personal gain, it still is worthy of at least a look.

    I think the City of Santa Ana Jail might be a good model. Under the leadership of Chief Paul Walters, the city built a jail and it has 127 civilian personnel in the facility and its professionally run. These people are trained in corrections, not on the street law enforcement. It’s a first class operation and has had its share of some bad ass people in there.

    I suspect a good number of current deputies would opt to stay in corrections if given the option. They could and should be grandparented in. Future employees could be focused solely on corrections. There may be some compensation savings but you’d have to see what Santa Ana has achieved there as I don’t know. No reason per se as to why the correctional officers could not be in the same bargaining unit .

  5. RHackett
    February 19, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Nothing wrong with an idea. Usually the devil is in the details. Given this workforce is going to be less paid than regular deputies, where do they intend to live? Also, who will represent them? The CCPOA perhaps? The big picture sounds good, it’s the fine strokes that will matter.

    Much like Moorlach’s fools errand on pensions.

  6. February 19, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    As for union representation, I saw Jack Anderson last night and the topic of representation came up. Jack said it’s not up to him who represents the correctional officers, whether its AOCDS or (I presume) OCEA. But the assumption was these officers would be represented.

    And he said his plan didn’t involved sweeping the deputies out and the correctional officers in. It would be more of a transition.

  7. February 19, 2008 at 10:17 pm


    1. A transition of a magnitude the size of 700 or so personnel is a pretty large undertaking and not something that will be done in six months or a year. It might take a decade to do? I don’t know. But the costs of something like this are significant and any savings that might result from a lower paid staff and lower training costs will not be realized for quite some time.

    I think that any savings would be pretty small at the start and there might even be additional implementation costs in the first few years because the department would still need to hire deputy sheriffs and then also civilian jailers simultaneously. So it could be MORE expensive in the short-run!

    2. Overtime is overtime. Other counties that use civilian jailers have problems filling their staffing needs, so they must be using overtime to fill all the slots needed to operate a jail. Sure, costs would go down if pay scales were reduced but savings only takes place when all the positions are filled. Overtime paid to civilian jailers to staff the jails because they cannot get enough staff is not money saved.

    And — you’d have a limited pool of employees available to fill slots, which increases staffing challenges and reduces options for managers.

    The cost benefit of a change like this is more complex than it seems, at least to me.

  8. 18vetern
    April 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Anderson would be the worst choice to be sheriff as its obvious he only does things to please Moorlach with no concern for rank&File of the Department.If the board wnat to give creditbility back to the Sheriffs Department they need to appoint someone from the Outside.

  9. 18vetern
    April 8, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Anderson would be the worst choice for permanent Sheriff as he only cares about advancing his political career not about the rank&file of the Dept.

  10. 18vetern
    April 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Anderson knew of the cover up too and did nothing to stop it.

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