Moorlach The Distracter

On the very day 210 county workers who provide services to the most needy in the county were handed layoff notices, Board Chairman John Moorlach tried to distract attention yet again from his wasteful spending ways. After weeks of blistering attack from the Orange County Employees Association over his wasteful extravagance, Moorlach and his allies tried to discredit the union’s General Manager Nick Berardino by asserting the absurd notion that he is over paid.

Nick BerardinoLast night, Berardino responded with the following note to his members on the matter.

As you well know, the economic downturn facing our County, the state, and our nation is forcing tough decisions about what to cut and what to keep.  You have probably had these conversations with your families and are making the tough decisions about what to cut and what to keep in your lives.  It is the reason we at OCEA have been asking these questions and standing up for solutions that protect jobs instead of more wasteful spending on perks and goodies for the Board of Supervisors and County managers. 

Today, hundreds of County employees received layoff notices.  It is unfortunate, but in tough times we all have to share the burden. That is, unless you are a high-level County bureaucrat or a member of the Board of Supervisors.  Right now, the Supervisors are remodeling their offices, and the highest-paid County bureaucrats are receiving 5% pay-hikes while those who provide the services Orange County depends upon are laid off and left to fend for themselves.

In this time of economic belt-tightening, we believe everybody should do his or her part. 

That’s why we marched over to the offices of the members of the Board of Supervisors and asked the Board to immediately:

  • Bring in a fiscal oversight committee of independent auditors to review the County budget, spending by the Board of Supervisors, and County contracts, to cut waste, balance the budget, and oversee how the money is spent.
  • Place a freeze on the salaries of the Board of Supervisors and high-level bureaucrats, including rolling back the 5 percent raise the highest-paid bureaucrats are to receive over the next 6 months.
  • Eliminate the perks of the Board of Supervisors and high-level bureaucrats, such as the $765 monthly car-allowance.

As you can well imagine, the Board did not like the fact we were highlighting their free-spending ways in this economic downturn and have responded by trying to criticize me and how much I’m paid.  They didn’t respond by saying, “Let’s keep people working and slash unnecessary benefits like free cars and gas.”  The Board’s response was a disappointment to me and the hundreds of people who will now be looking for work because the Board of Supervisors took jobs away from working families instead of cutting their own wasteful spending.

Now, a few quick comments regarding the setting of the salary for the OCEA General Manager.  Since 1959 the salary of OCEA’s General Manager has been directly tied to the salary of the County’s Personnel Director.  This has had at least three advantages for OCEA and its members.  First, it has allowed OCEA the ability to choose from a roughly equivalent pool of prospective employees, ensuring that OCEA could hire equally talented leadership to protect its members.  Secondly, it has given OCEA an objective basis for determining the General Manager’s salary.  Thirdly, it has been an effective “cap” on the General Manager’s pay.  This has been the case for nearly 50 years.

Moreover, the total compensation of the County’s Personnel Director is actually significantly greater than that of the OCEA General Manager, because the benefits package of the County, for its executive managers, is so rich.  The County’s Personnel Director receives the 2.7% at 55 retirement benefit (which OCEA’s staff does not have), the car allowance, and other benefits.  Overall, during recent years we have not been able to match the County’s benefits package for any of our OCEA staff.  Currently, the OCEA General Manager’s salary (apart from benefits) is below that of the County’s Personnel Director.  (Also, the County’s Personnel Director is in the third level down from the County’s top level in the CEO’s office!)

We won’t be distracted.  We’ll continue to fight!  I’ll continue to do my best to keep you updated and in the loop!

In solidarity,

Nick  

Figures. Moorlach tries to divert attention from his wasteful spending by changing the subject to the salary of the OCEA General Manager, which happens to be less than what comparable county managers are paid.

Again he tells us to “look over there,” while he lines his own pockets behind our backs.

Moorlach’s actions remind me of the old Abbott and Costell0 sketch “Who’s on First?” (Below)
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZrcnZklr3Q[/youtube]

  9 comments for “Moorlach The Distracter

  1. junior
    January 6, 2009 at 6:25 am

    This whole “lobby remodel” bru-ha-ha is pure gibberish. The lobby of the OC Board of Supes had not been updated since the 1960′s.

    It was a joke – I felt embarrassed for the County of Orange just walking into it. It need updating.

    It was a combination of 60′s dark / austere and OC Men’s jail ambiance.

    That lobby was in dire need of being brought into the 21st century.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    January 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

    And the walls in the hallways have no artwork at all and are quite austere; exactly what does a spurced up lobby do to the function of government? Nothing.

    This little dodge by talking about Nick’s salary overlooks the fact Nick is comparably paid as private sector CEOs in spite of having many more people he’s responsible for. And the notion that unions are a concept who’s tie has come and gone, well, it’s impractical for individual workers to negotiate with the BoS on employment terms.

    Labor is a valuavle commodity that when done right by folks with the proper training and experience, labor saves money.

    There is an underlying perception in OC that rank and file workers are the problem, and that executive compensation is never an issue.

  3. Bobbie
    January 6, 2009 at 9:41 am

    CAN’T we all just get along??

    FAT does need trimmed at the top!!

    The chain of command in most OC agencies is top loaded with cronies and “managers” who are marginal.

  4. junior
    January 6, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Dan said: “.. exactly what does a spurced up lobby do to the function of government? ”

    For just one thing it makes a positive impression on visiting local, state, national and international officials that Orange County is “the place” to do business.

    Ya know – to promote more tax revenues for more County public employee jobs.

    This is all absurdity, baloney, bunk, garbage, gibberish, gobbledygook, lunacy, nonsense and twaddle – designed to make union officials look they earn their exhorbidant salaries.

  5. Northcountystorm
    January 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    and if times were good, most people, except perhaps Larry Gilbert and Jon Coupal, wouldn’t complain about a few hundred thousand for the lobby to have that “the place to do business”look(the lame excuse for every poofy upgrade) or a few hundred thousand for Mission Viejo’s float in the Rose Parade(positive impression for the city said the Mayor).

    Don’t let your anti-union blinders get in the way of reality. If Lou Correa would have floated this plan when he was on the 5th floor, Republicans would have been all over it with their harumphs and cries to cut out the Taj Mahal lobby .

  6. junior
    January 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Dan: “If Lou Correa would have floated this plan when he was on the 5th floor, Republicans would have been all over it with their harumphs and cries to cut out the Taj Mahal lobby .”

    If Lou Correa, THE most conservative dem in CA, had float this, … well, let’s just say that you are way off-base on that call Dan.

    The lobby needed to be remodeled – it was “tacky 60′s.”

  7. Sean H. Mill
    January 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    “This is all absurdity, baloney, bunk, garbage, gibberish, gobbledygook, lunacy, nonsense and twaddle – designed to make union officials look they earn their exhorbidant salaries.”

    This is just typical Republican union bashing by the likes of “junior”. Trust me if any of the Democrats on the Santa Ana City Council tried pushing something like this through old “junior” would be the first person at the podium to complain.

    The lobby may need upgrading “junior” however now is not the time to do it. It is absurd for the BOS to do this at a time that they are laying workers off. It sends a horrible message to the community and the county workers.

    However for folks like “junior” they want to justify it and use it as a means to bash the union.

  8. junior
    January 7, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Sean,

    What type of union provide car does Mr. Berardino drive and how much of a monthly car allowance does he receive?

  9. January 7, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Good question Junior.

    Berardino does not drive a union car and he does not have a car allowance. He does not even request reimbursement for mileage.

    Thanks for asking.

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