Righeimer Blaming Firefighters for Overtime He Helped Cause

Councilman Jim Righeimer - Costa Mesa, Photo: Chris Prevatt

In an OC Watchdog story over at the OC Register: Righeimer: Huge O.T. bill is firefighters’ faultMayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer blamed Costa Mesa firefighters for the overtime costs posted in the city’s compensation report. Such madness requires thoughtful response.

“They could do the job with six people per shift, but they want to do it with 18 or 19 people because that’s what their contract says,” Righeimer said. “That contract is a political document. It basically says, ‘We don’t care how many people you actually need to do the job — you have to hire more.’”

Righeimer is not a firefighter, and he demonstrates both arrogance and ignorance at the same time with his statement.

In five days it will be one year since the City of Costa Mesa, upon Righeimer’s initiative, voted to issue layoff notices to city workers including firefighters as part of his contracting out scheme. That single action placed a freeze on hiring of new firefighters to replace those who left the city to go elsewhere or retire. The staffing levels for the fire department are well within established standards necessary to effectively maintain the excellent level of service the residents of Costa Mesa currently receive. There is a simple truth when it comes to staffing any operation, government or private, if you don’t hire replacement workers and you workload remains the same you will have overtime or the job won’t get done.

The OC Register stories on the back and forth between on the issue documents the debate pretty well, but Geoff West over at A Bubbling Cauldron provides a witty and accurate analysis of what Righeimer is up to. From Geoff West’s post: Another Reason You Can’t Trust Jim Righeimer

Because that information is readily available, and because it’s easy to misinterpret without some explanation, members of the City Council and some of their sycophants – like councilman wannabe Colin McCarthy, President of the council shill organization Costa Mesa Taxpayer’s Association – have taken the raw data and twisted it to suit their personal agendas.


The overtime was necessary because the City Council has refused to permit new firefighters to be hired unless a change is made to their pension plan – a second tier. Only two firefighters were hired in 2011 according to Costa Mesa Firefighters Association President, Tim Vasin. As a result, in order to provide even minimal coverage with staffing levels well below the authorized strength, overtime has been essential.


Righeimer is either stupid, ignorant, an angry, frustrated political opportunist who will do or say ANYTHING to get his way on issues – or, maybe he’s just a liar. Some might say all of the above. This man – a carpetbagger who saw Costa Mesa as ripe pickin’s for his personal political agenda – slithered into town almost six years ago and has been the focus of controversy, turmoil and distrust ever since. The fact that he might actually think that the residents, businesses and visitors to Costa Mesa would be properly served by six firefighters per shift – that would be one firefighter per fire station per shift - tells you how little he actually understands or cares about public safety.

Enough said! 

  12 comments for “Righeimer Blaming Firefighters for Overtime He Helped Cause

  1. March 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Chris,

    You should consider that Righeimer and Mensinger are not as bad as you imply- they actually practice what they preach!

    Recently, some people broke into our house and set it on fire. Instead of letting the Fire Dept and CMPD waste money on OT, the Dynamic Duo showed up themselves! Yes, Riggy showed up in “relaxed” Batman tights, and Mensy sported a big “S” for Steve over his Pop Warner jersey!

    I am pleased to report that everything is fine. Steve chest-bumped the burglars into submission and drove them to jail himself.

    Unfortunately, the house burned down because there was a “short hose” and no fire truck.

    But then as a master developer, Riggy fixed everything! He made us understand that we never needed a house in the first place! Now there are 200 lovely apartments where it once stood, with a cool bridge connecting them to HB. We got $5000 and free drink coupons for Monahan’s bar.

    Life is good again!

    • just sayin'
      March 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      And, as usual, he DIDN’T PAY THE CONTRACTORS!!!

  2. March 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

    You article, Chris, demonstrates the fallacy of the overtime argument espoused by Republican Teabaggers like Riggie. Whenever I hear about firefighters or police officers who doubled their salary with overtime, I cringe. Can you imagine how tired those folks are? But, who is to blane? The overtime was available because there are vacant shifts left open by self-serving politicians like Riggie. Those positions have to be filled for minimum staffing making overtime available. And, while there can be overtime abuses by staff, 99% of the time, the OT is caised by piss poor managment.

    Hark, I hear the Teabagger cry: “If I could just run the city like a business…”

  3. Phil
    March 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Chris, your post is flat wrong. The firefighter overtime mess was created by them due to their minimum staffing scam in their contract. No other public safety orgainzations have that (police doesn’t). The impact is that in Costa Mesa, 5 guys and full equipment show up for a heart attack call. It gives us $300k firemen. The union created the problem and now you and the haters want to blame our Council that is trying to fix it. You don’t live in our City so I suggest you get the facts before piping off on stuff you lack information on. I’m glad our leaders are reigning in this scam and what it’s costing us. The residents will not sit back and take $300k fireman, that much is simple.

    • March 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Why is Phil/MM flooding this blog instead of his own?

      • kwahlf
        March 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm

        Because Phil/MM loves to flood the blogs of others, especially the
        Pot Stirrer’s where he invents five new aliases a day and posts under every single one of them.

    • March 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      That’s just Republican BS, Phil. Those contracts were agreed upon by both sides and now Riggie and his Krew want to change things midterm. Anytime I hear this line my BS meter does a full swing because, in the end, the city, county,district, etc. can always make their last, best and final offer and shove the contract down their throat.

      But, would you really only want 3 firefighters to show up at a fire? Under Riggies scenario that is exactly what you would get. I’ve been a firefighter and I can tell you I want more backup than that.

    • just sayin'
      March 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Phil, you’re always good for a laugh!!

  4. threebeers
    March 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Really the PD doesn’t have minimum staffing requirements? There aren’t general provisions in place nation, state, county, and locality wide that give an idea of what an acceptable minimum is? Oh, wait, Righeimer knows better than all the people with experience in the profession, even those private sector people who did audits on the departments… he knows how many cops should be on and how many officers should be on… that number is exactly 6… keep in mind it took how many officers to guard his house almost exactly 1 year ago? Did I hear someone whisper 6?

    • threebeers
      March 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      sorry cops and firefighters… they just tell more lies to cover up their previous lies… gets so old

      • kwahlf
        March 13, 2012 at 11:26 am

        threebeers,
        Try no beers, you will make more sense perhaps even tell the truth.

  5. Mearl Hinckley
    March 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    For an update, go here: http://abubblingcauldron.blogspot.com/
    Then scroll down to “Correcting An Error And A New Mayor.” And compare with this from the OC Weekly: http://www.ocweekly.com/2012-02-23/news/moxley-confidential-jim-righeimer-barbara-venezia-orange-county-register/

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