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July 22, 2007



And let's not forget the story that the papers won't report because their reporters aren't all that knowledgable or sophisticated.

The 34 cities in Orange County have a constant choice between providing their own police services or contracting with the sheriff's department, just as they have a choice between providing their own fire services or contracting with the Fire Authority.

Because the Sheriff's department has a huge infrastructure in place, the marginal cost of extending service into another area can be relatively low, and a local agency can get more bang for the buck. In an era when every city is being squeezed by higher costs, and with the likelihood that sales tax revenue will continue to be relatively flat, that property tax revenue growth will slow dramatically, and with elections required for any tax increase, every local agency will be scrambling to find new efforts to balance the budget without cutting into the police and fire services that eat up about two-thirds of an average budget.

Santa Ana could have substantially more cops on the street for the same budget if they switched to the sheriff's department, and they could have more flexibility in deployment so they could have much more effective gang suppression programs.

Since the retroactive pension increase, any city that might consider switching has had to look at the huge unfunded pension liability of the county system, and try to figure out how that might someday be funded. One obvious scenario would have the county balancing their shortfall by squeezing the contract cities. Even without figuring out how the county will eventually fund the retirement shortfall, it's fundamentally irrational to look at short term savings from contracting out police services, when there's a huge looming uncertainty about pension funding.

If Moorlach has any success, the dynamics of all of the police contracts in the county could change.

Another interesting dynamic will play out inside the police unions, where the negotiators are more senior, closer to retirement, and will have huge incentives to preserve the retroactive bump, rather than moving to a blended system, while the newest officers will not be affected by Moorlach's move, and might benefit from bigger raises if there were less money going to pensions and more available for salaries. Predictably, the union negotiators, like the OCTA negotiators, will seek to preserve the benefits of the most senior employees, while selling out their newest members.

cold as ice

moorloch has consistently said he wants to change the pension system so how are they off base?


clearly states he wants to "overhaul Orange County's pension system."

cindy fisher

First. Moorlach wants to take the retired safety member's medical grants and put it in a "split pool" thus forcing retiree's to pay much higher premiums for medical insurance. Now he springs this unconstitutional stuff in regards to their pension benefit. I'm sure he has been researching this for quite sometime and of course he never brings this to anyone's attention. He just let unsuspecting employees retire and make life altering decisions. Some have moved out of California. He should have consulted with all parties who are affected. Now you tell me if Moorlach doesn't loath safety employees? His motives are transparent. Anyone can see it. He knew what he was doing all along

Long-time politico

While attending the press conference I was struck by one point that has received NO coverage. There is no legal action being proposed against the pension improvements for County employees outside of law enforcement. Why? Because they funded the entire deficit (according to the discussion) created by a retroactive 'gift'. This begs the point, why don't these civic minded members of law enforcement offer to pick up the same tab themselves? The other employees did it. Problem solved. Just a bit of simple logic to consider.

recall Norby

Pretty sneaky if you ask me. Yeah, it is obvious he has an ax to grind for sure. But if in fact this is unconstitutional, each supervisor who approved this pension benefit needs to be held accountable for dereliction of duty . I hope the victims of this mess sue them personally. Starting with Chris Norby.


The victims of the "mess" seem to be the taxpayers. And Norby didn't support pension spiking or gift of public funds.

recall Norby

red, I don't know which supervisors voted for the pension plan back in 2001. What I do know is that this was decided 5 1/2 years ago!. And if NORBY knew at the time it was unconstitutional, he should have addressed it then. If he didn't know the facts about it, he SHOULD have!. My point is that he and the others were derelict in their duties for not knowing what the board as a whole can and cannot approve lawfully. And the real victims ARE those men and women who retired under the new plan. Many made life altering financial decisions accordingly. Like selling their home and leaving the state. Or began to withdrawal on their 457 plans. The list can go on and on. By the way, most of these retired folks had paid, for many years, already taxed dollars into their retirement fund via payroll deduction. I feel very bad for them. Now they are faced with much uncertainty. But heck, it's only a little over 500 hundred of them. Right? And of those retiree victims some are already dead and buried. They don't live long after that many years in the business.


So Norby is responsible for all dubious actions taken by previous BOS? That's just dumb, even for the most ardent Norby hater.

recall Norby

No, not just Norby but all of them. Go back and read my comment again. Norby just seems to be hanging on to Moorlach's coattails. I think he is a terrible leader.

Norby Lover

Norby did in fact vote for retractive 3 % @ 50 retirement benefits for safety members of the Fullerton Police Department in 2001 while he was a sitting councilmember. Hypocrisy at its finest!


"Norby did in fact vote for retractive 3 % @ 50 retirement benefits for safety members of the Fullerton Police Department in 2001 while he was a sitting councilmember"

If that's true then he made a big mistake; and he owes the good folks of Fullerton a titanic mea culpa. But, he can't do anything about that now - except perhaps, help establish the unconstitutionality of the County's retroactive gift. Maybe we can hear from Norby about this in the next riveting edition of his "Norby Notes."

Chris Norby


We do live & learn.


Holy Cow! I didn't know they taught Latin at Oxy.

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