Waste and ineffiency, Go figure.

Press release today from the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriff’s. Looks like news Moorlach just wouldn’t bother to mention on his own.

COUNTY OF ORANGE LEGAL BILLS NOW TOTAL OVER $1.1 MILLION FOR SUP. MOORLACH’S EFFORT TO CUT DEPUTY SHERIFF PENSIONS

Records Show Legal Bills Total $1,137,894.37 Through September 2008, At Time County Is Looking To Make An Additional $32 Million In County Budget Cuts

SANTA ANA - County of Orange legal bills for Orange County Board of Supervisor John Moorlach’s effort to significantly cut deputy sheriff pensions in Orange County now total over $1.1 million, county records show.

The bulk of the $1,137,894.37 in legal bills the county has run up through September of this year has gone to Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm the County Board of Supervisors chose to hire at the urging of Moorlach after three previously hired firms each told the board the county could not win a litigation effort to slash deputy sheriff pensions.  The three different outside law firms were paid a collective total of $282,872.44 for their advice.

“The county has spent over $1.1 million in taxpayer dollars on lawyers for a frivolous lawsuit three outside law firms told them they could not win,” said Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriff President Wayne Quint.  “… and the trial doesn’t even start until April 29 of next year.” 

“Washington, D.C. lawyers do not come cheap,” continued Quint.  “Plane flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars add up quickly.  It is very telling that this is the only firm the county could find to agree to take their case.  To quote John Moorlach in a speech he made in 2000 to the Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, ‘County agencies should become more accountable to taxpayers for the lawsuits they file.  …every time you hire an attorney, the only person who wins is the attorney.’  Well – the attorneys are making out like bandits in this case – over $855,021.93 so far to be exact.”

The County of Orange filed their lawsuit against the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) on February 1 of this year in an attempt to invalidate a pension increase the County Board of Supervisors had voted to grant county deputy sheriffs in 2001.  The County recently lost their effort to have the case tried in Orange County courts and recently the California Attorney General and California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) announced that they would be filing an amicus brief in support of the Deputy Sheriff’s efforts. 

#####

COUNTY OF ORANGE LEGAL COSTS

FOR DEPUTY SHERIFF PENSION LITIGATION

(through September 2008)*

As of September 30, 2008, the County of Orange has spent a total of $1,137,894.37 in legal costs associated with the Board of Supervisors’ litigation effort regarding Orange County Deputy Sheriffs’ pensions.

Law Firm                                                                      Amount Paid

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP                                  $  99,598.40

(Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen                                      $125,561.04

(Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Snell & Wilmer LLP                                                        $  57,713.00

(June 30, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP                                                       $855,021.93

(June 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008)

———————————————————————————

TOTAL LITIGATION COSTS BY COUNTY     $1,137,894.37

Kirkland & Ellis Billings

$138,461.10 (October 2007)

$  82,753.25 (November 2007)

$  60,004.56 (December 2007)

$106,538.09 (January 2008)

$  38,202.72 (February 2008)

$133,317.84 (March & April 2008)

$  65,123.57 (May 2008)

$  95,405.18 (June 2008)

$  61,424.67 (July 2008)

$  21,231.07 (August 2008)

$  52,559.88 (September 2008)

$855,021.93 (October 2007 – September 2008)

* As per records provided by the County of Orange County Counsel’s office 

  16 comments for “Waste and ineffiency, Go figure.

  1. RHackett
    December 2, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Great post Chris.

    I can’t wait to read Greenhut’s comments on this waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Aaaahh heck, who am I kidding? Steve “hearts” John, we won’t hear a peep.

  2. Steve Kim
    December 2, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I support the deputies, but I hope they realize that to Republican Anti-tax Activists like the County Board of Supervisor the Deputies’ pension looks like a giant WELFARE STATE.

  3. Travis
    December 2, 2008 at 10:30 am

    If he succeeds, he will have saved the county taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. In that case, $1.1 million will look like a great investment.

  4. RHackett
    December 2, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Travis,

    Dream on. This is nothing more than political grandstanding.

    In legal parlance it is called a dog with fleas.

  5. Homewrecker
    December 2, 2008 at 11:44 am

    1.1 million is nothing compared to the millions the OC BOS wasted promoting the boondoggle that was to be the El Toro International Airport.

  6. Travis
    December 2, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Even if you put the odds of victory at 50 to 1, the upside win for the county is huge and could easily justify a few million in expenses.

    Furthermore, it is the RIGHT thing to do… I have yet to see an explanation on how a retroactive pension increase is NOT a gift or “extra compensation for work already performed”.

  7. December 2, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    So Travis, I guess you don’t call it gambling when it’s not your own money. Right?

    Against all legal opinion, other than from those bidding to argue the case, Moorlach and the Board of Supes, threw down an unlimited line of credit to back this loser bet. They ended up hiring an out of state firm with no knowlege of California law. That firm is now dragging things out to run up the bill as high as they can. They are in court arguing that they need time to review stuff that Professor Moriarty (Mainero) said was already reviewed and they said they already knew.

    This makes the Boston Big Dig, look like a pitt bull digging for a bone.

    “If the bet pays off it will save mllions.”

    Yes, and if I roll the dice one more time, I’ll win big too.

  8. Travis
    December 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Chris, every lawsuit is a gamble.

    Still waiting for that explanation on how the Constitution was not violated….

  9. RHackett
    December 2, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Here you go Travis.

    When Moorlach gave his press conference to the Board he cited this passage:

    Article XI, Section 10: “[A] local government body may not grant extra compensation or extra allowance to a public officer, public employee, or contractor after service has been rendered or a contract has been entered into and performed in whole or in part …”

    Soooooo, we go to the CA Constitution that is after the elipses and what does this passage state?

    (a) A local government body may not grant extra compensation or extra allowance to a public officer, public employee, or contractor after service has been rendered or a contract has been entered into and performed in whole or in part, or pay a claim under an agreement made without authority of law.

    Now I’m no Constitutional scholar, but something tells me the previous Board of Supes had the “authority of law” to grant the agreement negotiated in the collective bargaining process.

    But I could be wrong.

  10. December 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Travis,

    Although I doubt it, maybe this will help.

    Moorlach’s Folly

  11. Travis
    December 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Chris, your article brings up an interesting Constitutional conflict if the contract was corrected, but it does not change the issue of the original agreement being unconstitutional at the moment that it was made.

    RHackett needs to re-read what he bolded, specifically the word “Or”.

  12. Steve Kim
    December 2, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    The FACT that is missing from this discussion, especially Travis’, is that the Board prior to launching this attack spent tens of thousands on hiring an exploratory legal team to see if this lawsuit has worth pursuing.
    The legal consultants came back with a resulting “No.”

    So, the odds aren’t 50 to 1, the risks don’t outweigh the beneifits, this lawsuit is not a gamble.

    Its a loser from the beginning, and nothing but political grandstanding as previously mentioned.

  13. RHackett
    December 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I read this passage. You need to reread the part specifically bolded “without.”

  14. Jose
    December 3, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I wonder if any of the law firm’s partners or employees could be found giving any campaign contibutions to any of the supervisors.

    It about time that the sheriffs union and OCEA start doing a little more than being on the defensive with these press releases.

    Use the amount of voter hostility on politicians and the conservative base to the advantage where it weakens these supervisor constant assualt on the working class.

    Cut the supervisors position to a parttime psotition with parttime pay and cut their staff budgets in half.

    If we have cities like Anaheim with elected city representatives who can handle their part time duties with $1.400 a month we surely can cut the supervisor pay to $4,500 a month.

  15. just...asking?
    December 3, 2008 at 9:51 am

    This lawsuit and many of the actions by Supervisor Moorlach since assuming office demonstrates his lack of knowledge of how government works.

    His extensive expertise is in the area of finance, that’s it! From his call for a “Super City” of Los Al, Cypress, La Palma, Seal Beach, including Rossmoor. Then to propose the hacking off of Orange County lands to LA County, he just doesn’t understand County and local governments.

    The aurgument the the BOS is relying on is that they did not have the authority to negotiate the deal and that they didn’t have the knowledge to vote accordingly. Simply said the case hinges on they were too stupid and didn’t know what they were doing! While very believable with the BOS, stupidity should not be an adequate defense to overturn contracts.

    Finally, local and county agencies grant retroactive pay and pension increases all the time, maybe too many times but it is something many do. Most labor agreements are reached after the expiration of contracts, in almost every case the benfits are deemed retroactive.

    These legal fees are a waste of County Taxpayers money. Like it or not we elect our Supervisors and entrust in them the authority to negotiate contracts on our behalf. One Dem and four Reeps were on the BOS at the time of this vote. A majority agreed to this deal, thats the way it works.

    This is just a political move to place Moorlach in line to run for Tom Harmon’s seat in the Senate.

  16. Mista Bo Jangles
    December 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I’m a little confused…how is this negotiated benefit increase any more a “gift” or “extra compensation” than any other old MOU? It’s my understanding that there has always been flexibility given to government in setting benefits so as to allow them to remain competitive in the market…that old saw about the best and brightest ya know.

    and, consider this:

    “(Miller v. State of California, supra , 18 Cal.3d at p. 815.) An increase in
    pension benefits even after retirement is not extra compensation
    as that term is used in article XI, section 10 of the California
    Constitution.”

    The point made most often in the cases I reviewed is that it’s not “extra compensation” if there was some form of compensation in place previously.

    3 out of 4 law firms said there was no case. now you know why.

Comments are closed.