(Los Alamitos, 12/16/2012) The OC Register is out with their take on our Council’s surprising break with tradition in tackling 16 items of business before installing the new Council Members the voters elected 6 weeks ago. (See Saturday’s “A fast one? Monday swearing in delayed for 17 items!”):
Usually, the old council certifies the election, the new council is sworn in and there’s a small reception with a round of plaques, thank-you’s and congratulations. Then, the new council handles city business.
In this case, the agenda calls for the old council to handle 14 items the city placed on a “consent calendar,” which are items that in most cities are slated for a vote with no discussion.
The consent items include staff pay raises and budget and zoning issues.
“Why on earth is the council that has been voted out dealing with these?” Emerson said Sunday.
You may be wondering why the Register is quoting me, instead of our Mayor, who is responsible for the agenda, as I understand it.
Mayor Troy Edgar, who will remain on the council, was not available for comment Sunday.
I have no idea why our Mayor was not available to speak with the County’s biggest daily’s Los Alamitos reporter today when I was. I sent him an email regarding the matter last night & I haven’t heard back either. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Certainly, our Mayor’s entitled to take a day off.
Still, I find it a bit disconcerting that the local blogger’s more available than the Mayor.
I find it more disconcerting that for the first time I can remember incoming Council Members who have been certified by the County Registrar of Voters as winning election are being kept from voting on important City business, according to the current agenda for Monday’s meeting. [ad]
Only 3.5 of 271 pages for our newly elected Council!
Some might say it’s just “consent calendar” items, but it’s 14 items plus Register and financial items as well. Of the 271 pages of agenda, staff reports, and attachments, 268 and a half deal with items to be handled by the old Council and only 3 and a half pages with items to be handled by the new Council!!
A 9% raise to cover an 8% cut?
Let’s look at just one of those “Consent” items, Agenda item 8. L, “Adoption of Resolution Establishing Salaries and Benefits, Approval of Contract Terms, and Amendment of Position Descriptions for NonRepresented Employees.” Here are a few of the items being proposed in this one “Consent” item:
- A market adjustment policy that makes raises automatic under certain conditions?
- A 9% increase to cover a 8% pension hit. is this how the people want pension contributions covered?
- A 7 year employee gets 120 hours vacation( 3 weeks) continually going up to almost 6 months(176 hours) for a 14 year employee?
- Unlimited sick day accumulation at the rate of 1 day / month on top of 2 week vacations. that’s 4.4 weeks per year of vacation/sick pay plus 11 legal hiolidays and 2 floating days
- Various ways the City Manager can increase pay / vacation payoff/ and sick day accrual.
Our new Council will have to deal with the ramifications of this item, shouldn’t they be the ones discussing it?
More importantly, why should a Council Member who was rejected by the voters and one who didn’t even run for re-election be deciding anything besides certifying the election?
Even more importantly, why aren’t the two new Council Members we elected, Richard Murphy and Dean Grose not voting on this.
Sure, the U.S. Constitution, drafted when travel was by horse, allowed for a lame Duck session of Congress during two months of delay between the November elections and January swearing in. But that’s hardly necessary in the 21st century. . . or even in the 18th century for a town that can be walked from one end to the other in less than an hour!
By the way, how’s that lame Duck Congress thing working out anyway? Last thing I heard they were all heading home for Christmas rather than splitting the difference and averting the (cue scary music) the fiscal cliff!
Hopefully our Mayor will be back to work early tomorrow replying to my e-mail & the Register’s queries, and, more importantly, doing things the way they were done in the last two elections and letting the newly elected Council (of which he’s an important member) handle the people’s business.
Time will tell.
The Council Meeting starts at 6:00 Monday night, 12/17/2012, at City Hall.
Click here for the Agenda and staff reports.