Everybody Talks The Talk

Us rock-ribbed Republicans believe in lots of transparency and accountability.

It’s true. Ask anybody. Everybody says they want accountability and transparency in government, especially political candidates; but those in authority have a lot of incentive to keep their doings free from risk – the risk of being exposed as responsible for some screw-up or other; and the risk of fighting the inertia produced by institutional dead weight in a gravity-free environment. And of course the ability to pass along lucrative contracts to their pals.

And all this bring me to the point of this essay: it’s time for the Orange County Board of Supervisors to take charge of semi-autonomous agencies that have been operating under the public radar. Two of these “hidden governments” spring most immediately to mind: the Children and Families Commission – that seems to have been operating as a cash cow for the local repuglican machine, and the OC Cemetary District, ditto.

The Children and Families Commission is a poster child for liberal, under-scrutinized government. You may agree with its goals and method of revenue collection. But even if whole-village child rearing and confiscatory income redistribution are your cup of tea, you have to admit that paying a connected political operative like Matthew J. Cunningham $200 an hour to update Facebook and read blogs and hand out toothbrushes must diminish from the resources available to actually help kids. And what’s with all the lobbying?  Hundreds of thousands worth in any given year at the State level, with Anaheim’s mayor-for-hire Curt Pringle being the chief beneficiary.

And then there’s the Cemetery District that paid Pringle to find a new graveyard and paid him another $25,000 as bonus for finding a site in Brea. I’m not even sure if Brea is going to go along with this, but let’s hope Pringle’s fee included guaranteed entitlements from the city. But I digress. The real issue here is why the District hired Pringle at all to do the work of a real estate professional whose compensation would have been a partial commission from the seller, not the taxpayers.

Well, we’ve got some new blood on the 5th Floor of the Hall of Administration, and hopefully these guys will start to attend to these and other agencies that need to be examined, made accountable, taken over, and if appropriate, disbanded. Sure, the ‘pugs will squeal and squawk.

And that’s when you know you’re doing the right thing.

11 Replies to “Everybody Talks The Talk”

  1. Good post. A great strategy for Shawn Nelson would be to start asking questions about ALL county departments and agencies start applying the “yellow pages strategy” — if you can buy the service from the private sector (as in ANY paper shuffling exercise), why is a unionized government bureaucracy necessary to duplicate the work that could be outsourced via competitive bidding? Shawn could start with the Clerk-Recorder and Treasurer/Tax — both departments that only push paper, could easily be mostly automated and don’t need elected heads.

    1. True stuff, but one of the things that needs to be done is the elimination of unnecessary or irrelevant tasks that are “contracted out.” Or at the very least, competitive bidding and reasonable rates for non-professional stuff like coordinating toothbrush dispensation with the Diocese.

      Ironically, one of the op-ed themes that Cunningham ghost writes for the repugs is the fact that that the Children and Families Commission is well-run because it contracts out – to him!

  2. But as long as Sean Nelson is in your back pocket pocket Tony he can do whatever he wants. Some things sholdn’t be left to the lowest bidder; sometimes it means shitty service Sort of like the properties you rent out that are a blight on Fullerton.

  3. Can someone please do an audit for the Clerk Recorder. Tom Daly is abusing the taxpayers money. Take a look at all his contracts.

  4. Outsourcing isn’t a panacea, and it’s never better than the quality of the people who are responsible to oversee it. As stated above, some of the most obscene, nose-bleeding wastes of public money have been spent on outside consultants. There’s also the danger that some well connected slimeball, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular*, will just create some sham company and arrange to have their bid chosen.

    I have no problem putting the screws to government agencies and making staff earn their right to remain employed at a rate that isn’t going to bankrupt everyone. If that doesn’t work, fine, outsource everything you can. Hell, outsource to India (yeah I know, don’t tell Harry). That might sound like blasphemy, but at this rate it’s the future.

    * denotes sarcasm

    1. “some of the most obscene, nose-bleeding wastes of public money have been spent on outside consultants”

      Truer words never were spoken,

  5. Yes look into tommy boy daly’s contracts. If anyone really cares do a pir on a contract to larry siegel. Then go get his death certificate. You will see that payments are still being made despite larry being dead. Tom feels sorry for larry’s wife so he fraudulently continues to pay good old dead larry. Do it quick before slimeball daly cooks up the records.

  6. Private contracting is not always the solution. It has been correctly stated these contracts are channeled to political operatives which habitually contribute to the elected officials campaigns. It is the worst form public financing of campaigns.

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but what is a guy who is on RECORD defending pedophile priests, publicly naming the victims for all thier friends and family to to see doing anywhere near a commission having to do with kids?

    Seriously, aside from the obvious fraud here, what the hell is the comission thinking letting a guy with a reputation of TORMENTING (child)VICTIMS OF RAPE serve as floor sweeper.

    This should be the RALLYING CRY!

  8. The Board of Supervisors just doesn’t care. They act like they are untouchable. Bates and Moorlach just got reelected with no one running against them. I personally sent them all an e-mail last week showing how John Williams and his Public Administrator managers falsified public records in providing agency info (position details) for budget hearings. Agency states they have 27 deputy II positions and they will reduce that number to 23 to save the County $$$$$. The Board was notified that PAPG has only had 17 deputy II positions. How can they eliminate positions they don’t even have to save the County $$$$. Moorlach’s office met with CEO Mauk on Monday to discuss this issue. On Tuesday, Bates made the motion and seconded by Campbell to pass the PAPG budget without comment. Just amazing! They should all be recalled. http://bos.ocgov.com/finance/2011wb/breport.pdf

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