Power Play at Irvine City Hall? Lalloway has a Chief of Staff; No One Else Does

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?


  13 comments for “Power Play at Irvine City Hall? Lalloway has a Chief of Staff; No One Else Does

  1. May 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Well Mr. Lalloway has a Chief of Staff, a Mr. David Cordero, do we know how much he is getting paidand what will his duties be?

    It almost sounds as if he will be managing the day to day activities of Mayor (pro tem), so Mr. Lalloway can make better use of his time “in the news” and Mr. Lalloways “political agendas”.

  2. Ltpar
    May 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Dan as you alluded in your article, each Council Member is allocated so much money for support and can hire one or more Part-time Council Aides/Assistants to work for them. There is no such position as “Chief of Staff” in the Irvine City Budget so I think you can rule out a special position being created by Jeff Lalloway for his person.

    The highest paid Assistant is: COUNCIL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT II – PART-TIME $3,243.80 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $186.47 $3,430.27

    If this is in fact the Assistant to Lalloway, he is costing slightly over $ 41,000 of the $60,000 budgeted for the office. Frankly, who really cares what the man calls himself internally, or what Council Member Lalloway refers to him as. Perhaps the man handles administrative duties that a Chief of Staff would normally handle and as long as his boss doesn’t care about the title, why should you? It is not costing the taxpayers one dime more than Larry Agran and his Aides. Keep digging Dan, your pettiness is tiring. Who knows, you might find something really serious that Choi, Lalloway or Shea have done, like calling home on the City Cell Phone or taking a long lunch break?

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    May 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Whatever you say Sargent.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    May 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Pat, did you forget how we reported that Christina Shea threatened a city employee before she was even sworn in? Did you forget that Choi embarrassed himself and the city by posing with photos depicting Then House speaker Nancy Pelosi as Stalin and a Nazi SS officer? How about the lawsuit filed against Choi in 2010 by Jery Amante over Choi’s carpet bagging? Four people in a one bedroom apartment with folding chairs for furniture? Nah, that’s small potatoes to you.

  5. Ltpar
    May 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Dan, considering most of what you write are “puff pieces” for the fromer Agranista Council Majority, I personally wouldn’t consider you to be a reporter, much less an investigative one. Your over and over again accusations are for the most part figments of your imigination and scraping the bottom of the barrel for substance.

    On the Nancy Pelosi incident, Steven Choi should be congratulated for putting his body where his mouth was on her long time left wing abuse of power. I will admit, next to Pelosi, even Larry Agran pales in comparison. My only regret is that I was not there with Steven wearing a like T-shirt. Next time I may well be.

    Cheer up, after the Great Park Audit is finished and the corruption and mismanagement at the Great Park is made public, perhaps you will have something better to write about. Worst case scenario you can always go to the old Democrat fall back position and blame it all on George W. Bush. Happy Trails……….

    • May 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Pat, I challenge you to point out one single thing I reported that isn’t factual.

  6. Ltpar
    May 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

    That’s Lieutenant, to you mister……..

  7. Gail
    May 5, 2013 at 8:47 am

    You do realize that the Great Park is audited yearly. The gang of 3 demanding another audit is only wasting tax payers money and getting headlines. Will the newspapers report when nothing is found? I doubt it.

  8. NotPedrozasPRFirm
    May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Patrolman Pat has a nice ring to it. So you do say titles matter? Be honest patrolman Pat, Lallaway is the real mayor of this town. He tells Choi what to do and when to do it.

  9. Ltpar
    May 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Gail, at least people will know where over 200 million dollars of their money went, to whom and for what? As far as the so called annual audit went, obviously you don’t know the Agranistas very well. Those controlled audits were like letting the fox count the hens in the henhouse. Let’s just wait and see what the audit reports?

    • May 6, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Pat — if I have this right, every expense and every contract was votede on by the Great Park Board which has a CEO and staff. Its not like bags of cash were handed out. A friend pointed out the other day that all the chest thunping about freezing fees or cancelling fees was a victory for taxpayers. Nope; its a victory for businesses and not taxpayers. The Republican majority is charging tax payers for things at the Great Park that used to be free.

      I’m still laughing on the Patrolman Pat comment. Look, there is no Chief of Staff position in Irvine City Hall. And yes titles do matter since you took such exception to being called Sargent, Sargent…..

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    May 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

    FYI: we received a copy of Codereo’s business card from the city. It says “executive assistant.” His LinkedIn page still says “Chief of Staff.” Nice resume padding.

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