It seems that whenever the Board of Supervisors, Tom Mauk, or his executive management team, get backed into a corner on something, rather than admit they’re wrong, they resort to lies and scare tactics. This last week was just one more demonstration of that reality. Below is the email message that Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) General Manager sent out on Friday afternoon letting his members know the TRUTH about what he and their Union has been doing to protect their jobs.
Friday’s Court Action OCEA filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order today in Orange County Superior Court requesting that the Court postpone implementation of the layoffs in Social Services Agency pending the arbitration of a grievance filed this past Tuesday alleging a violation of the layoff provisions of the MOU. OCEA was represented by the preeminent law firm of Silver, Haddan, Silver, Wexler and Levine. The hearing was conducted this afternoon. Although the Court denied OCEA’s request for the emergency stay, it did set a date later this month for hearing on a preliminary injunction. What this means is that OCEA will continue to move forward both in Court and through the grievance process to protect our members, their families and their economic well being.
CEO Tom Mauk’s Scare Tactics Many of you may have seen the CEO’s latest scare tactic communication (here and here)Â to the workforce about OCEA’s efforts to stop the layoffs. The CEO is being deliberately misleading when he accuses OCEA of proposing more layoffs. His statement is false and he knows it, and his motive for making that false statement is to keep you and your coworkers from pursuing your rights as employees. We have also received information that the County will not engage in a more collaborative approach until we stop highlighting the remodel of the board’s lobby as well as the perks and salaries of executive management and the board to the press. OCEA is focused on saving jobs, minimizing negative impacts on all employees, and ensuring that the County’s actions are both fair and legal. Period. Tom Mauk’s characterization of the layoffs as a “responsible action on budget reductions” demonstrates the single-minded focus of the County, its CEO, and the Board of Supervisors to solve the County’s budget problems on the backs of workers. Period.
The County’s Cone of Silence The only response OCEA has received to the scores of belt-tightening recommendations we have submitted to the County has been a refusal to stop the remodeling on the fifth floor of the Hall of Administration and a failure to give up even a single management perk. The managers did meet this week to discuss the deferral of a performance based salary adjustment, but took no binding action other than to agree to discuss with the County possible parameters of a deferral.
Who Opposes Furloughs? With respect to furloughs, OCEA has repeatedly told the County that there is no provision in our contracts for furloughs and that any decision to participate in a furlough program needs to be approved by our membership. We have been through this process with our members in SSA, the only agency or department where the County has proposed a furlough, and we have communicated to the County our SSA members’ overwhelming preference for a furlough rather than additional layoffs, and furloughs in SSA are scheduled to begin.
The CEO’s communications demonstrate his clear unwillingness to fairly confront the issues facing the County, and his now tiresome routine of trying to divert attention off the real issues by personally attacking OCEA and its General Manager.
Let’s make one thing absolutely clear – OCEA did not pick a fight with the County, the County picked a fight with OCEA. OCEA has formally and informally offered to collaborate with the County through every available channel and by every possible means for the past year. The County has rebuffed every such overture.
Under these circumstances, here’s what OCEA has done and what we will continue to do:
OCEA will continue its efforts to convince the County to “Chop at the Top” and eliminate management perks and extravagant spending on projects that benefit only a few to the detriment of OCEA members.
OCEA will continue to point out places where there is irresponsible spending and mismanagement of resources.
OCEA will continue to remind the County that OCEA members have already given, and that they have precious little left to give. Unlike the CEO and other County executives, OCEA members do not have car allowances, they do not have optional benefit programs, they do not have employer paid 401k accounts, they do not have employer pick-up of their retirement contributions, and they do not have other perks reserved for the County’s decision-makers.
Above all else, OCEA will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect your rights and to ensure that the County abides by the law and its contracts with employees. We are ready and willing to meet with the County in a collaborative environment anytime and any place.