On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, The Fullerton City Council held a Special Meeting for the purpose of conducting their FY 2010-11 Budget Review Workshop. Their discussion was regarding $4,620,610 in budget reductions proposed by staff to address anticipated shortfalls. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:00 pm and lasted for about 3 ½ hours.
At the beginning of the meeting all members of the City Council were present and accounted for. Somewhere between the 1:46:00 and 1:50:00 video time mark, during the presentation of the proposed reductions for the Fire Department, Council member Shawn Nelson left the meeting. Just prior to leaving, at about 1:41:15, Mr. Robert Shawn Nelson, I’ll call him B. S. Nelson, spoke about the importance of the Council hearing the reports and reaching agreement on as much as possible.
“The more we get off our plate now, the less we have to deal with;” Nelson said. “I’m ready to make individual cuts as we go through the departments, or at least provide policy decisions because at some point I think there is going to be a will of the Council to — I can make something up but, the Park and Rec. department I know is one that I’ve seen the 10% cut, I don’t support, I know that I can find far more than that in other departments, but we have to go through it to get there.”
Moments later, he left the room and did not return for a little more than an hour. While he was gone, the rest of the council reviewed and discussed 74%, $3.4 million, of the proposed budget reductions; $783,950 for Fire, $1,620,680, for Police, $351,500 for Community Development, and $651,950 for Maintenance Services.
So what was so important that Mr. Nelson had to leave for? Was it a family emergency, a crisis with a client? Well, conveniently we happen to know that during this specific time because this event Nelson March 9 Fundraiser was announced through his campaign website.
If I were a betting man, I would wager that Councilman B. S. Nelson was yucking it up with campaign donors while the rest of his colleagues on the council were making the tough decisions to cut $3.4 million in services from the budget.
The budget shortfalls for the County of Orange are more than ten times those in Fullerton. Well, at least we know where his priorities lie before the voting happens.