A day after Costa Mesa councilman Jim Righeimer claimed during a television interview that he has public backing for slashing the city's budget and laying off employees, a union boss fired back on the same show this morning.
According to Donald Drozd, general counsel and staff operations officer at the Orange County Employees Association, the city's plan to save money by privatizing some public services "without a single study" is "ill-advised, premature and it's illegal."
Drozd, who appeared on Today in L.A. Weekend on NBC with host Ted Chen, claimed that the city council has manufactured a fake financial crisis and that it has "slush funds" that could be used to pay necessary expenses rather than eliminating city jobs.
For example, Drozd said that Costa Mesa has an equipment replacement fund with as much as $8 million "that really is never touched."
After Chen asked him to respond to Righeimer's suggestion that laid off city employees would be hired by companies winning privatization contracts, Drozd claimed the none of the written plans contain provisions requiring that city "employees get jobs."
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Drozd, a member of the union's leadership, said that city employees--"the people who make the city run everyday"--have already "doubled" the size of their contributions to their own retirement funds and are "willing to come back to the table again," but that willingness to compromise "has been rejected roundly."
Righeimer, a freshman member of the all Republican city council, a pal with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and a longtime GOP operative pushing efforts to reduce the influence of public employee unions, has repeatedly claimed that Costa Mesa government must shrink so that it's not spending each year more than annual revenues.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly