$326,000 to unlock a couple doors?

We were curious what the violation was that the Santa Ana Fire Department cited the county for in January 2007 that required spending $326,000 to fix. To get to the bottom of things we asked for a copy of the letter the Fire Department sent to the county regarding their January 22, 2007 inspection of the Hall of Administration building.

Here is the Violation Letter. In a single bullet point from the letter, here is what they told the county to do to correct the violation:
We’ve asked for more information, but from what we can tell the problem was solved by opening up access to emergency exits almost two years ago. So now we’re left with this nagging question.

Why was it critical that, for reasons of security in a post 9/11 world and to comply with fire code regulations, Supervisor Moorlach needed to spend $326,000 to remodel the outer reception area on the fifth floor of the Hall of Administration? Correcting the fire code violation was easy and the “security risk” has not been a problem for almost two years.

We’ll let you know what we find out.

  9 comments for “$326,000 to unlock a couple doors?

  1. Mr. Smith
    December 30, 2008 at 6:02 am

    While the project may or may not be a good idea, saving $326,000 on the project will not provide money to pay continuing salaries for any jobs. Don’t kid yourself. Real savings will only come from cutting continuing waste.

  2. Steve Kim
    December 30, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Isn’t cutting this remodel step one on cutting waste?

    Also, I don’t know how much a supervors makes makes……I’ll guess $200,000.


    Add 8% tax-payer contributions to the Supervisors’ 401k plans ($14,000 x 5 supes)=$70,000
    & the transportation allowance ($780 x 12 months x 5 supes) = $46,800
    & upcoming 5% raises ($10,000 x 5 supes) = $50,000

    Total= $166,800 annually

    5year project savings: $834,000
    + $326,000 remodel

    =$1,160,000 cost savings.

  3. Steve Kim
    December 30, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Oops. My calculations are off.
    It should be about $10,000/year higher for the 401k plan and $420/year for transportation.

  4. Mr. Smith
    December 30, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Your goal seems to punish one group over another. I think the point is eliminating wasteful spending. OCEA hired former CFO Gary Burton to review the County budget. I hope he identifies real savings, for example…

    I understand the County has three (3) audit functions (Internal Auditor, Auditor-Controller, and Performance Auditor), probably each with their own executives and staff. How much does that cost? Are they all needed?

    County employees get 12 paid holidays plus sick days? Can you even name 12 holidays?

    5% management raises for the coming year in this type of economic environment?

    How about selling some of the large number of County cars and trucks on the road? Are they all really needed? Do employees drive them home or on personal business?

    How many administrative managers does it take to put together a budget? Are there any benchmarks for workload, supervision, or job classes in any County jobs?

    When all is said and done, layoffs are still going to be needed. Sorry folks, but the public sector is not immune from the realities faced by the private sector for quite some time.

  5. December 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Great job on this Chris. Way to expose the truth via the letter from the city of Santa Ana.

    I saw Nick Berardino on KOCE channel 50 last night and he did a great job of explaining what was really going on at the Hall of Admin. He also clearly articulated the Supervisors lucrative pension plan. It is far greater than any of those that they rail against.

    I only wish that more people could hear the actual truth about what the Republican Board of Supes is actually doing.

  6. Mr. Smith
    December 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Most people do not care about this project. Most are probably expecting and waiting for the County to take some real cuts and have some real layoffs. Those in the private sector have been dealing with that reality for a while.

  7. Steve Kim
    December 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Good point, Mr Smith.

    The county doesn’t have benchmarks and has a bloated administrative organizational chart.
    In many cases, 3 people doing the job that was performed by 1 manager 5 years ago.
    Also, the cronyism is rampant with many unqualified friends and relatives of administrators planted throughout the system. Also, many programs and policy/personnel decisions are initiated with no study as to the effectiveness of the program or decision made.

  8. Mr. Smith
    December 30, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Benchmarks woud be a good start. It is also time to take another look at the role of the audit and management functions. The challenge is to identify and eliminate duplication. Anyone listening in downtown Santa Ana?

  9. Steve Kim
    December 30, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    No one is listening, because then all of the cronies would be out of a job!

Comments are closed.