In Thursday’s Orange County Register, Deepa Bharath reports on what she calls a “controversy” over the Board of Supervisor’s approval of $350,000 in parks funds for a monument to Vietnamese and American history in Midway City. While I will agree that spending $350,000 at a time of a major budget crisis and while we are laying off workers is ill advised and a bit out of sync with reality; I’m not sure that Supervisor John Moorlach, one out of five County Supervisors, objecting really makes it a controversy.Â Â
The Board of Supervisors approved the allocation of these funds for the First and Fourth District “priorities” last June when they approved the budget. I’d have to check the record of the budget hearings to see if Moorlach made such a big deal out of this matter at that time, but if I recall correctly he voted in favor of that budget. What the Board approved Tuesday was simply the naming of one of the projects to receive some of that budgeted funding.
ThereÂ are indeed some legitimate concerns raised over at the Bolsavik blog about the qualifications of the recipient of the funds, their experience at handling such a large sum of money, and the fact that the principals did not know they were getting the grant or what they would have to do. Boslavik’s concerns can be found here.Â
It should however be noted that the funding is not a matter of the county simply writing a check for $350,000 and then walking away. First, this is a contract requires the recipients to agree to do specific things described in the contract. Second, the contract is an expense reimbursement contract. The recipients would receive an initial advance of $30,000 to start the project, which would have to be accounted for, and then all future expenditures would be reimbursed.Â
Specifically the contract approved by the board on Tuesday states:Â
PROJECT PROPOSAL AND SERVICESÂ
a.Â Â SOCIETY seeks to design, construct and install the Historical Memorial at the Park.Â SOCIETY shall submit final plans and cost estimates for prior approval by the Director after the design phase is complete.Â Â
b.Â Â SOCIETY agrees to comply with all provisions, to perform all work, and provide all services set forth in this Agreement in a professional, timely and diligent manner.Â The parties hereto agree that concerning matters not specifically contained within the body of this Agreement, that the COUNTY will be the controlling body.Â
c.Â Â SOCIETY further agrees that lack of compliance, in addition to those remedies set forth in Section 15 of this Agreement, constitute grounds for COUNTY to reduce the level of payment otherwise provided under Section 5 of the Agreement.Â Such reduction shall occur only as a result of action of COUNTYâ€™s Board of Supervisors.Â Before any such reduction may be made, COUNTY shall provide SOCIETY with at least ten (10) days written notice of the proposed reduction and of the time and place where the Board of Supervisors shall consider the reduction.Â
PAYMENTS BY COUNTY
The total funding pursuant to this Agreement shall be limited to $350,000.Â After the effective date of this Agreement, COUNTY agrees to make an initial advance payment of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) to SOCIETY. Â Thereafter, SOCIETY may either:
a. Request additional advance payments in amounts not to exceed thirty thousand dollars $30,000) at any one time; each request must include receipts showing actual amounts expended by SOCIETY since the prior advance payment. All such requests for advance payments shall be subject to approval by the Director, or;Â
b. Submit invoices for periodic payments by the COUNTY. These invoices shall show actual amounts expended by SOCIETY.Â The first invoice must also include receipts showing actual amounts expended by SOCIETY for the initial advance payment of $30,000.
There does at this point seem to be a bit of confusion on the part of the recipient, but I am pretty certain any concerns will be addressed before a contract is signed and money changes hands.
This appears to be more about Supervisor John Moorlach’s ongoing feud with Supervisor Janet Nguyen than a concern over “sendingÂ a goodÂ message” to county workers as Moorlach claims. Just a few weeks ago Moorlach objected to the appointment of Nguyen as Board Chair. Several months ago when the Board had their lawsuit against the Sheriff’s deputies over pension benefits was tossed out, Nguyen voted against continued funding of Moorlach’s frivolous challenge that has already cost the taxpayers more than $2 million.Â Â
I was struck by the irony of one of the disingenuous comments from Moorlach’s Chief of Staff, Rick Francis. Moorlach was “elected by voters to be a voice of reason when it came to fiscal matters.”Â Â
What? He can’t be serious? Moorlach!?
Almost one year ago to the day, January 13, 2009,Â Moorlach ended his term as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. On January 9, 2009Â I wrote about The Imperial Chairmanship of John Moorlach. In my commentary I wrote of his follies and wasteful spending. Here are some of those examples so we can refresh our memories of our fearless custodian of public funds, John Moorlach.Â Â
On January 29, 2008, the Orange County Board of SupervisorsÂ at Moorlachâ€™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 Sheriff’s.Â Â
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.Â Â
Also upon Moorlachâ€™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.Â Â
On December 15, 2008Â this story broke. Moorlach: Let them eat cake!Â Â
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.Â Â
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.Â Â
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.Â Â
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.Â Â
Quite simply, Moorlach has no room to talk about wasteful spending, unless of course he is explaining how best to wastefully spend taxpayer dollars. Rick Francis cannot revise history, and his boss is a Lying Sack of Moorlach.Â Â