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Category Archives: News
Video – El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox Business Network
El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox Business Network
El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox-T1155
This video features a segment from the Fox Business Network Varney & Co. show that was broadcast on August 17, 2010. The segment is an interview of former El Segundo City Councilman Mike Robbins about the wildly excessive and unsustainable city employee salaries, especially those for the firefighter and police employees.
Note that all the salary figures quoted in the Fox interview are Total Earnings only, and DO NOT include the cost of benefits and CalPERS pension contributions. The much larger Total Compensation figures, which DO include benefits and pension contributions, are available from Mike Robbins at PublicSafetyProject.org.
This video is in part an answer to the totally discredited KCET SoCal Connected propaganda video by producer Karen Foshay titled, “Small Town, Big Oil” produced by Karen Foshay. That KCET video dishonestly and unfairly attacked Chevron and the very honorable City Councilman Carl Jacobson in a very classical news media hatchet-job.
Note that the Fox show was broadcast long before the KCET SoCal Connected propaganda video. The KCET video was based almost entirely on false statements made by fired El Segundo city manager Doug Willmore, whom I have learned is very likely a pathological liar and an unreliable person to use as a basis for any news report or video. In fact, I am quite certain that that Willmore’s habitual lying was one of multiple good cause reasons for which he was fired. The KCET video was also based in part on statements made by an out-of-town, anti-oil political activist that nobody in town has heard of before.
The Fox interview helps explain why the fire and police unions endorse candidates for City Council, and contribute thousands of dollars in cash, campaign mailers, and other campaign support to their approved candidates. The police and fire unions endorse and campaign for the candidates who will give them the biggest pay raises, no matter how excessive and unsustainable, and who will raise your taxes and fees to pay for it.
The fire and police unions are the primary cause of our financial problems in El Segundo, not Chevron, as the fire and police unions want us to believe.
Chevron is a taxpayer, and the fire and police unions are tax takers. Chevron pays plenty of taxes, and the fire and police unions take plenty of taxes – about $8 Million extra per year in wildly excessive and unsustainable salaries, benefits, and pensions. The city does not pay to provide city infrastructure and services on the massive 951-acre Chevron property that it pays a fortune to provide and maintain in the residential and other commercial and industrial areas of the city. In fact, for that reason Chevron’s taxes may actually be too high.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: … Continue reading
Lack of visibility and public input during city employee union contract negotiations
Schools but not cities
Question: Are Manhattan Beach residents afforded public hearings on city employee labor negotiations such as those provided between the Manhattan Beach School District and its teachers?
Answer: Absolutely not! The Educational Employment Relations Act requires hearings by school districts to “enable the public to become informed” and provide the public “the opportunity to express itself” and to “know the positions of their elected representatives” before negotiations.
The Meyers-Milias Brown Act covering local government labor relations requires no such public hearing, but neither is there a prohibition. The Manhattan Beach City Council, true to its historic repressive policy of not informing the public and respecting our intelligence, prohibits such efforts.
Question: Has the Manhattan Beach City Council (MBCC) barricade produced fiscal responsibility?
Answer: Absolutely not! Present contracts are replete with fiscally irresponsible provisions including diminished management authority; requiring salary increases but prohibiting decreases; allowing “stealth bonuses” for “extra duties” without required qualifications; and deficient disciplinary procedures including employees receiving pay while being investigated for misconduct with no provisions for deducting income earned from outside employment while on administrative leave.
Because elected officials and managers receive pay and benefits equal to or more than employees, they too benefit from these deficiencies including personnel policies resulting in inadequate measures of managerial performance and “investment vehicles” resulting in accrued vacation and sick leave paid out at current salary rather than when accrued. … Continue reading
Former Mayors Reflect on Past Challenges
October 28, 2010
By Brian Simon
Mayor Gordon Stephens (1970-1972): Stephens sees a parallel between the current contentious labor talks between the City Council and local bargaining units and what he described as “difficulties negotiating with our safety employees” during his tenure. “They went door to door to gain sympathetic supporters,” he remembers, noting that attendance at the hearing was so large as to cause the meeting to move its location to the high school auditorium. “The council’s initial position was that after a survey of other cities’ pay and benefits, we offered the midpoint of the survey, realizing El Segundo did not have as much hazardous activity as any of the surveyed cities,” Stephens said. … Continue reading
Former Mayors Reflect on Past Challenges
October 28, 2010
By Brian Simon
Mayor Carl Jacobson (1988-1996):
Though he is now back on the Council and dealing with the City’s current financial crisis, Jacobson also had a major budget dilemma to contend with when he became Mayor in 1988. Two-thirds of the City’s revenue base had previously come from use taxes collected from Chevron’s sale of fuel oil to Edison. But when the Public Utilities Commission ordered Edison to switch to the cleaner-burning natural gas, all that revenue went bye-bye.
To address the issue, Jacobson and the Council revamped the business license and utility user tax structure to provide replacement revenue streams. The tax increases were phased in over time. “It was an absolute necessity and done during a decent economy that was nothing like the condition we are in right now,” said Jacobson, who added that the Council even lowered the business license tax by the end of his tenure.
Jacobson also successfully lobbied to increase the City’s share of local property taxes from five percent to seven (since lowered by the State to 6.25). … Continue reading
El Segundo School Teachers may be disciplined for having students make campaign signs in high school wood shop
April 9, 1996
Two teachers at El Segundo High School may be disciplined for their involvement in helping a City Council candidate get hundreds of campaign signs made in the school’s wood shop. El Segundo Unified School District Supt. William Manahan said he will make a decision before April 23.
Peter MacDonald, attorney for the school district, launched an investigation after 246 signs for council candidate Mike Gordon were found in the wood shop early last month. Gordon, running in today’s city election, said he was paying the students to assemble the signs after class. … Continue reading
District Seizes Political Signs Made at School
March 06, 1996
A little extracurricular activity in a high school woodworking shop has some El Segundo City Council candidates fuming.
Until Monday, nearly 250 campaign yard signs for one of their opponents, Michael Gordon, were being assembled after class by students being paid $4.25 an hour at El Segundo High School.
Gordon, who is one of six candidates running for three City Council seats in the April 9 election, said he was approached by two El Segundo High School teachers about putting the signs together. One of the teachers was woodworking teacher Anthony Hawkesworth, he said. Gordon saw nothing wrong. … Continue reading
Fire Chief Sloan Says He Will Retire in April
January 27, 1994
El Segundo Fire Chief David Sloan will retire April 15 and take a job in the private sector, he said last week.
Sloan, 55, said his retirement is not related to a no-confidence vote from El Segundo firefighters last fall. … Continue reading
In an unprecedented level of political activity, South Bay firefighters feverishly put out flyers and police officers enthusiastically pursued voters before Tuesday’s election. But the results of their efforts were mixed.
In Hermosa Beach, firefighters endorsed two City Council candidates for the first time in the department’s 85-year history. In El Segundo, the fire union jumped into its first campaign in years. And in Hawthorne, emergency workers said they campaigned in the city’s election with more intensity than ever before.
“It’s a very big trend for fire departments to get involved in politics,” said Michael Lines, president of the Hermosa Beach Firefighters’ Assn. “It’s sweeping across California. You will see more and more political action and involvement by firefighters.”
Behind the politicking was a fear that an unfriendly City Hall might meddle in department affairs or even abolish the department.
South Bay firefighter groups were most successful in El Segundo, where their favored council candidate, Janice Cruikshank, swept into office with a solid 44% of the vote in a four-way race.
El Segundo Fire Capt. Tom Kennedy, who serves as vice president of the El Segundo Firefighters Assn., said the group became politically involved in response to a bitter contract dispute that reduced benefits for firefighters.
Cruikshank could not say enough about the firefighters group, whose members spent scores of hours walking precincts, distributing flyers, and even transporting some voters to the polls. They also contributed $249 to her campaign–$1 under the maximum allowed by city ordinance. It was the largest single contribution she received.
“They were always there, no matter what we needed,” Cruikshank said. “Without the support from these young men, a lot of times I would have thrown up my hands and said, ‘That’s it.’ ”
Although some critics said the contributions would make Cruikshank beholden to the firefighters’ demands, both she and Kennedy denied they made any deals.
“I didn’t promise them anything except that I would listen to them,” Cruikshank said.
In response to Cruikshank’s victory, Kennedy said candidates will probably court the firefighters in future races. And the firefighters, he predicted, will greatly increase their involvement in political campaigns.
“The main thing we learned is we are a very, very viable (and) powerful force within this community,” he said. … Continue reading