[UPDATED: Councilman Cleared] Costa Mesa Chronicles: Councilman Accused of Chest-Bumping and the OCEA Funds an Audit

[UPDATED: Councilman Cleared] Costa Mesa Chronicles: Councilman Accused of Chest-Bumping and the OCEA Funds an Audit

Authorities said there was a "lack of corroboration" for the story provided by Joel Flores, the man who accused Mensinger of chest-bumping him following a verbal altercation between the two. Mensinger told the Daily Pilot that he's just happy to have his name cleared.

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 27, 1:58 P.M.:The Costa Mesa City Council and its residents can't seem to figure out how to get along. Mayor Gary Monahan was once the focalpoint of scorn, but now that unwanted attention has shifted to Councilman Steve Mensinger, after reports of a physical confrontation (of sorts) this past weekend.

The Mensinger incident occurred on Saturday afternoon, at a community run. It supposedly started when Joel Ruben Flores--an Estancia High teacher and member of Repair Costa Mesa--confronted Mensinger about the 213 six-month layoff notices issued by the city council. How it escalated and who was the aggressor is in question--each man's account accuses the other, according to a report by Voice of OC

In the report he filed with the police, Flores said that Mensinger "chest-bumped" his shoulder after he confronted him. Flores also filed for a restraining order against the councilman.

Mensinger provided an email to police from a bystander who said Flores was responsible for flaring the confrontation. It so happens that the bystander's son is an Estancia football player and Mensinger is among the program's boosters. 

As for the city audit, OCEA has contracted with Harvey M. Rose Associates, a public sector firm that carries with it a solid reputation, according to an OCEA representative. With the budget figures constantly shifting and all the city's talk of transparency, OCEA offered to fund the audit at a recent council meeting. The intention is for the audit to become ASAP. The exact cost will be unknown until the audit is complete. The hope is for the firm to "offer constructive assistance" and to "get a look to where the [financial] priorities are."

"We have an annual audit that we think is good, but if they want to do another one, that's fine," said William Lobdell, the city's interim communications director. "[The OCEA's audit] is not really a traditional audit, it's more where are the spending priorities and pointing out where money may be available ... It's not to see if we're another Bell."


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