SANTA ANA — We had to wait till the very end of last night’s Santa Ana City Council meeting, but Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez called it like she saw it when it comes to solving the City budget shortfall. Reminiscent of her early days on the Council in 2007, Martinez challenged management to put their recent pay 3% raise on the same chopping block that the rest of the city family is being asked to do. “Leadership starts at the top,” Martinez said.
Councilman Carlos Bustamante, himself an Executive Manager (on Administrative Leave), objected to Martinez’s proposal in his comments, pointing out that the 3% increase management received in July was to partially replace the 7% that they had previously lost. Well, Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez would have nothing of that pointing out that the 7% was a management bonus, that had been handed out like candy for years and was taken away because it was no longer being used as a bonus program but a de facto gift.
But the highlight was Martinez’s challenge to the Interim City Manager, Police Chief Paul Walters and her colleagues to be fair when it came to the issue of considering departments and services for outsourcing. She had the appropriate and correct suggestion that if the Fire Department was to be considered for outsourcing to the Orange County Fire Authority, that the city should solicit a proposal from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to handle the police services for Santa Ana.
Martinez made clear her fear that the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and that ALL OPTIONS had to be on the table to solve the problem. YOU GO GIRL!