I have to say, I am looking a bit forward to this year. While I realize that the crap of the economy is dealing out one hell of a beating to everyone including county workers there is a bit, albeit a tiny, of a silver lining.
John Moorlach’s term as Chair of the Board of Supervisor’s will come to an end on January 13th. I really can’t wait to say farewell to the Imperial Chairmanship of that Lying Sack of Moorlach.
Read why on the flip.
Moorlach started off 2008 in his typical demagogue fashion, blamed public employees for the state budget shortfall. Specifically, the told the Orange County Registerâ€™s Total Buzz reporter Peggy Lowe that the Governor had failed to plan ahead and rein in the $ billions in unfunded liabilities created by public workersâ€™ pensions.
Moorlach was dead wrong and he knew it. The cause of the state budget crisis was a reduction in anticipated revenues due to a slowed economy. The â€œunfunded pension liabilitiesâ€ he cites do not even have an impact on the state budget. They are costs projected on paper and have absolutely zero impact on state budget expenditures.
On January 29, 2008, the Orange County Board of Supervisors at Moorlach’s urgingÂ took a leap of stupidity and resolved to sue the administrator of County pensions, OCERS, to overturn a negotiated pension agreement with the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs.
Not onlyÂ did Moorlach proposeÂ wasting taxpayer funds in a frivolous effort suing the wrong entity, butÂ he did so byÂ ignoring all but one of the four legal opinionsÂ he hadÂ receivedÂ citing no merit to hisÂ proposed challenge.
On February 5, 2008Â the OC Board of Supes. voted 5-0 on Moorlach’s recommendation to establish an Office of Independent Review to establish oversight of deputies and non-sworn officers at the OC Sheriff’s Department.
In the agenda item, staff indicated that the county would meet and confer with employee representation groups, including the Orange County Employeeâ€™s Association (OCEA) regarding the impact and implementation of the OIR. Yet, the county suddenly notified OCEA on February 4th that they have decided that they are not required to meet and confer and therefore they will not. As OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino pointed out at the meeting, this is a classic bait and switch by the county and in particular under the leadership, or lack thereof, of Supervisor Moorlach.
In March, Moorlach implemented a new rule “The Darrell Nolta Rule” to limit public comment on board agenda items. I think Mr. Nolta said it best; “What are you afraid of Chairman Moorlach? Are you afraid of my legitimate comments? Why not three? Why not one? Why not 10? Why be arbitrary?”
In June, Moorlach dumped Tom Lightvoet mid-term from the Orange County Employee’s Retirement System (OCERS) Board because he opposed the board’s lawsuit against OCERS attempting to cut the deputies retroactive pension benefits. With the consent of the rest of the Board, Lightvoet was replaced by Moorlach puppet Patti Gorczyca.
The LATimes reported on June 14th that:
Orange County plans to set aside $2.75 million in the coming fiscal year to pay for legal battles, including its lawsuit to roll back sheriffâ€™s deputiesâ€™ pensions â€” signaling the potential for a costly fight.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach, who led the drive to sue over the pension deal, said Friday that he did not expect the case to turn into a protracted and expensive legal battle.
Still, he noted that the case has detoured from its originally expected course. The county pension board, which was named as the defendant, successfully petitioned to move the case into Los Angeles courts. The board has also asked the court to force the county to name additional defendants who would be directly affected by the outcome, Moorlach said.
On June 26th Tony Saavedra at the Orange County Register filed a report about the County blowing $400,000 on computer systems that never materialized.
The county has pulled the plug on a Dallas-based computer contractor that collected $400,000 as part of a crucial project but fell so far behind schedule that an emergency replacement was hired.
Also upon Moorlach’s urging theÂ county budgeted $750,000 in 2008/2009 for a Performance Auditor to review the performance of county departments. This new office is in addition to the Internal Audit Department that also reports directly to the Board. Rather than focus on what was clearly a need, reviewing the way information technology contracts are awarded and managed, Moorlach proposed the Auditors first assignment:
S98A.Â Office of the Performance Audit Director – Authorize Office of the Performance Audit Director to perform a study of overtime usage in Sheriff-Corner Department; and direct this study be commenced immediately – All Districts
In July, Supervisor John Moorlach, the great and powerful Emperor Chicken Little, proposed a ballot measure to amend the County Charter to prevent future boards from granting enhanced pension benefits for county workers without voter approval.
The Orange County Registerâ€™s Peggy Lowe reported on Total Buzz that the Emperorâ€™s Court Jester, and Chief of Staff Mario Mainero wrote the proposed ballot measure. Mainero said the retirement benefits are often approved during flush economic times by representatives unconcerned about how local governments will fare during tough financial patches.
In an LATimes story, Chicken Little Moorlach is quoted about his initiative:
â€œWe had a board that created a rather substantial debt, and not one taxpayer voted to approve that debt,â€ Moorlach said. â€œSo letâ€™s make sure that doesnâ€™t happen in the future and letâ€™s let the voters take a little control of the budget.â€
In October, Norberto Santana had a fascinating story over at the Orange County Register about the controversy surrounding Orange County Board of Supervisorâ€™s Chairman (Emperor) John â€œChicken Littleâ€ Moorlachâ€™s nominee for the Orange County Retirement System Board, Thomas Flanigan. It looks like the questions regarding Flaniganâ€™s relationship with an Orange County basedÂ asset management company, Ryan Labs, Inc. just wonâ€™t go away. The Board did ultimately appoint Flanigan, ignoring all the questions in favor of playing politics with employee pensions.
On December 4thÂ I wrote about an update we received from Wayne Quint over at the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS)Â about the pension lawsuit.Â The update clarifiedÂ the way things are being delayed by the County or their attorneys. Iâ€™mÂ really not sure who exactly is behind the delay but my money is on Chicken Little Moorlach.
The Countyâ€™s frivolous and costly lawsuit to cut the pension checks of AOCDS retirees is on its way to trial.Â AOCDS, Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) and the Court originally believed that this lawsuit could be tried on agreed facts (without a parade of witnesses and a jury).Â The County and its lawyers also originally agreed that this lawsuit could be tried efficiently and inexpensively on agreed upon facts.Â Sadly, after months of negotiations and hours before submitting the facts to the Court, the County reneged on all the agreed upon facts.Â The trial will now begin in AprilÂ 29, 2009.
On December 15th the latest story broke. Moorlach: Let them eat cake!
TheÂ Orange County Board of Supervisors proved yet again that they have noÂ common sense.Â Back in 2007 these â€œfiscal conservativesâ€ remodeled their offices without regard to costs. Today as the county budget collapses in upon itself, and in stunning similarityÂ to the life of pleasure and careless extravagance demonstrated by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the Board has embarked on the lavish and unnecessaryÂ half million dollar remodeling of their reception area and staff break-room.
Of course, leading this band of thieves is none other than the Emperor â€œChicken Littleâ€ Moorlach,Â who now alsoÂ shares the same recklessÂ ineptitude of Louis XVI.
But yes, it gets worse. It seems that the justification Moorlach and the staff used to sneak this remodel through the approval process (ConsentÂ Calendar AgendaÂ items in September and November) was a lie, or at a minimum a huge misrepresentation of fact.Â Moorlach claimed that the remodel of their lobby was needed to comply with a fire code violation from January 2007. But as we found out $326,000 to unlock a couple doors?, the violation was corrected almost two years ago by simply removing barriers to the fire exits.
But after weeks of claiming the remodel was needed to correct the violation Moorlach admitted that was not entirely true Moorlach Wanted a Moat and Drawbridge.
In the most telling of ironies, Moorlach lashed out at his critics in his email update on December 24th.
We have a State that is $40 billion underwater!Â California is technically insolvent if you put the unfunded actuarially accrued liabilities for state employees at CalPERS and their retire medical on the books.
The private sector is making layoffs.Â Sales taxes are down.Â Car sales and vehicle license fees (DMV renewals) are down.Â The housing market is down.Â And we have limited reserves thanks to being a donor county and a county that is still retiring debts created by our bankruptcy.
“Where have you been?”Â In “denial” seems to be the obvious answer.
We’re all sorry that layoffs have to be made.Â But instead of grandstanding and manipulating willing reporters, let’s address the real issues.Â Let’s start with renegotiating the “2.7% at 55″ benefit.
If you want a Supervisor to take a pay cut, then eliminate the withholdings I have to pay for a retroactive benefit that I lobbied against.Â Let’s talk real dollars and not easy sound bites in the media.
What Moorlach doesn’t bother to point out is that, other than the small percentage he has paid into the plan for enhanced benefits since July 2004, he hasn’t paid a cent towards his retirement. That’s right, not one red cent.
When you cannot defend your position, deflect attention to something else. Moorlach does this better than most, and he does it all the time. So John, exactly when was it this past year that you demonstrated you were a fiscal conservative?
So as we say goodbye to 2008, we also bid a fond farewell to the Imperial Chairmanship of John Moorlach. May he never rise to this level again.