County Union Chief Berardino Testifies on Executive Perks at Senate Hearing on Transparency

SANTA ANA — Speaking on Wednesday to the Senate Local Government Committee, OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino denounced county and city officials who line their pockets while attacking the benefits received by public employees.

Nick Berardino, OCEA

The event, organized by Senator Lou Correa and held at Rancho Santiago Community College District headquarters in Santa Ana, was meant to shed light on the rising concern of executive pay, perks and pension spiking in local government in the wake of the Bell scandal.

Citing a $765 per month car allowance received by county executives, one of many perks Orange County executives enjoy, Berardino said one could lease brand new, high-end BMW and Mercedes models.

“If you want, like some elected officials here do, you can kick in $60 more a month and get a Jaguar,” he said.

He was one of nearly a dozen stakeholders across the state who spoke during the meeting about the impacts and consequences of executive perks. Berardino told a panel of seven state lawmakers that it was heartwarming to hear this discussion finally happening in Orange County.

“To be politically honest about this – this is a one party town and if you’re not in that group, everything is going to be buried,” he said, before asking for support from the legislators.

“We need you back,” he said. “Or they’ll bury us.”


  5 comments for “County Union Chief Berardino Testifies on Executive Perks at Senate Hearing on Transparency

  1. Skies falling.....
    October 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Good job Nick. You hit the nail on the head on this one. The hypocrisy of us top managers. I coulda made millions in the private sector chasing pennies around spreadsheets but now that I am a public official I gotta take care of my family and the salary ain’t so great, ya know? Nick, it’s why I have a full beard — it hides my talking from both sides of my mouth. JMWM.

  2. junior
    October 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I was there – gaawwdd it was painful to listen to this bag-o-wind drone on for 8 f’n minutes – just awful.

    We git it Nick, supes bad / workers good.

  3. ZYW8
    October 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Poor Nick, he and his union supported the very same people he is now complaining about. The board made a comment about how when everyone was being paid off, they all were happy.

  4. cook
    October 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    There was another county supervisor there, I don’t recall what county she was from. She stated that her salary was $39,600 per year.

    Why does Orange County pay close to 10 tens that much for our supervisor’s?

  5. Mariavontrapp
    October 23, 2010 at 11:35 am

    The real star of the show was Prof. Smoller, who startled everyone with his stories about the arrogance of the city managers and their defenders after his students assisted Barbara Kogerman in her study of Orange County City Managers Compensation. One CM opened with “How dare you” and DEMANDED a face-to-face with his students, and two city council members went to Smoller’s boss and to complain and try to discredit the report. And these people champion “transparency”? Kogerman’s study got the transparency and accountability ball rolling. Let’s hope the voters in Laguns Hills – the inspiration for the study after Kogerman found out the city council there compensatd the CM over $460,000 – vote for Kogerman and for Measure T – Term Limits – because the current city council has clearly lost control.

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