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August 30, 2006


Meg Waters

I understand how the lunch was probably not a good idea, but how would contracting out the labor negotiating job prevent the consultant from having lunch with the union folks--whether it's at Ambrosia or Carl's Jr....Wouldn't it be better to have a county negotiator on staff -- who's only job is doing the best for the county and not a lot of other clients, who may or may not require lunch at Ambrosia with a labor leader?


If the Supes didn't tolerate it, it wouldn't happen. Outsourcing won't help. Catch 22.

Who's minding the store on the 5th Floor anyway?

Labor negotiating is a fact of life in both the public and private sector. That includes all of us. Yes, we pay taxes that help pay government employee salaries. But we also pay higher prices on services and products we need to survive on, to pay employee salaries. These types of lunch meetings take place in both the public and private sectors all the time. And for the same reasons.


I think there might be an advantage to the county's negoatiator being a person/persons who are not of government. Just food for thought.


And why might that be an advantage?

It will be an advantage because the non-government contractor in charge of labor negotiations will only be interested in the job he or she does on behalf of their employer.

Hopefully, that contractor will report directly to the Board of Supervisors and not possess the inherent conflict of interest that the "employee" negotiators currently and previously have possessed.

For instance, the current head of HR and her non-union buddies stand to benefit personally from the union negotiations, as unrepresented units almost always are given a similar package.

Folks at both sides of the "round" negotiating table stood to benefit from the 2.7% @ 55 packages that were negotiated on behalf of the OCEA employees. How can you remain impartial if prior to the negotiations you stand to retire at 62 with 1.67% of your salary times your years of service, but you are "negotiating on behalf of the County" new benefits that if adopted will be applied retroactively and will now allow you to retire at 55 with 2.7% of your salary multiplied by your years of service?

Even more obscene, the folks negotiating on behalf of the union were all senior employees with the County that have now since retired and balanced their retirements on the backs of the union's younger members. Many of these employees (less than 10 years of service) will have to stay with the County for 10-20 more years to recoup the healthcare costs they picked up for their "leaders" retro retirement. If they stay, it is a good deal but many of those younger employees wanted raises instead, hence the fight now during re-openers for a fat increase.

The most frustrating part is that you can’t get anyone to entertain a discussion about defined contributions vs. defined benefits. It is a non-starter at the County. Yet, each week in the newspapers across the country there are articles detailing the private sector’s refusal to engage in new defined benefit programs because they cannot afford the liabilities. Unfortunately, the taxpayers are left on the hook for some of these defunct private pension plans too.

One last comment and I will stop my blathering: when is the County and the public sector in general going to come out behind the closed doors and let these negotiations see the light of day? The public has a right to review and comment on potential increased benefits prior to being presented with the bill. As my good friend in Villa Park City Hall has said repeatedly over the years, what is wrong with a little 30, 60, 90 day cooling off period before the Board rubber stamps another “collective” bargaining agreement?

I suppose when the private sector opens everything up to its stockholders so too should county negotiations. Come on people get a life and look at the big picture. Open your tiny little Moorlach/Greenhut minds would ya!

I'm Literate

I suppose when the private sector opens everything up to its stockholders so too should county negotiations. Come on people get a life and look at the big picture.

Leave it to a liberal to ignore the distinction between the private (i.e. non-compuslory)sector and the government (i.e. compulsory).

When are the unions going to hand out a new talking point to replace the reflexive "what about the corportations" non sequitur?

I'm Literate,

Not a liberal, but that's not the talking point here either. By the way, any employment, be it in the public or private sector is necessary. Unless of course you're a volunteer or Paris Hilton. It's the American way of life.

Leave it to a liberal.......well Im not a liberal and Im certainly not a Bush fan but I am a Republican (how that matters on this topic I dont know). Anyway, if you are saying the private sector is so different and the stock holders and public have such a say in the day to day operations of these companies tell me when the last time you were asked, as a stockholder, to vote on a million dollar bonus for a CEO at an oil company, or perhaps purchasing a jet for a CEO at a auto exec....The stockholders and public ultimately eat these costs.....and the last time I checked fuel and vehicles are a way of life especially here in OC.


I can't help but wonder if there would be this much controversy over Tom Mauk or Chris Norby having lunch or tipping a beer with Nick Berardino of OCEA. In fact, has anyone asked Mauk or Norby about the last time one of them socialized with a labor leader?

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