SANTA ANAÂ â€”Â 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.
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.
â€œIf you want, like some elected officials here do, you can kick in $60 more a month and get a Jaguar,â€ 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.
â€œTo be politically honest about this â€“ this is a one party town and if youâ€™re not in that group, everything is going to be buried,â€ he said, before asking for support from the legislators.
â€œWe need you back,â€ he said. â€œOr theyâ€™ll bury us.â€