Social media tools like Facebook and Linked In are fantastic for networking and they are telling in making suggestions about who else out you might want to connect with. My LinkedIn account suggested I connect with a David Cordero, so I looked up his profile and noticed last month, he was hired as Chief of Staff for Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway.
There’s no announcement about the appointment on the city’s website and for good reason. There is no such title among city staff at city hall. There’s a City Manager — Sean Joyce. There’s a PIO. There’s a Police Chief. But no Chief of Staff. There is no Chief of Staff for Mayor Steven Choi. There’s no Chief of Staff for Council members Christina Shea, Larry Agran or Beth Krom. The last person to serve as Great Park chair and Mayor Pro Tem was Krom, and she didn’t have a Chief of Staff, so why does Lalloway get one?
Cordero’s background is mostly in public affairs. He is currently a Government Affairs Manager for the Municipal Water District of Orange County. From his LinkedIn page: “Fourteen years experience directing government and public affairs programs in the private and public sectors with a focus on legislative policy analysis and development, strategic outreach, and issues-based coalition management. Demonstrated ability in leading public policy discussions and engaging elected and volunteer boards of directors, management staff, industry allies, and others in the advancement of legislative and political agendas.”
Now there are two ways to look at this Title and the fact the City doesn’t have this classification:
1. Cordero overstepped his title and responsibility, and has claimed a title that Irvine City Hall confirmed does not exist. Each council member including the Mayor has an executive assistant that helps with their scheduling and about a million other tasks required to keep the council member informed and involved. But they are by no means a “Chief of Staff.” Each council member gets a relatively small budget figure for “staff” – something south of $60,000 which can be paid to one person or spread out to a few.
2. Cordero was given a title by Mayor Pro Tem Lalloway, who sources tell us takes credit for being “the real mayor of Irvine.” Now no one is willing to go on the record with this, citing Lalloway’s “firey personality” (read” temper) but note I said “sources” … as in plural and we’re not talking two or three. Lalloway is content to have Mayor Choi attend every ribbon cutting ceremony for every new small business that opens in Irvine while he takes on the heavy lifting for the public/private partnerships. That’s, of course, the more cynical take on things.
If Cordero did pump the resume a bit, he’s in good company in Irvine among the new council majority. They are exceptional when it comes to patting themselves on the back for doing the routine work of governing. Mayor Choi is going to address the Irvine Chamber and will likely take much credit for the positive business climate in Irvine that is largely the result of the previous councils and is pretty much unchanged for the past several years. Construction projects that are on time and on budget are only on time and on budget because of the new council majority. And if you believe that, I have a Bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
The recent vote to cut and/or freeze fees charged to businesses by the City was hailed by the council majority and their cheerleaders as a taxpayer victory when it won’t lower my taxes in Irvine by a single dime. They don’t make Irvine any more attractive as a place to do business since the city is already the economic hub of Orange County. The cut/frozen fees will only serve to reduce the amount of revenue to city coffers to make it easier for Mayor Lalloway, a-hem, Mayor Pro Tem Lalloway, to make his move to gut public employee pensions as this council moves to turn Irvine into Costa Mesa because revenue will be lower.
What I’m really curious about is what’s the title on Cordero’s city issued business cards? And if it says “Chief of Staff” who approved that?