Lemmon Head

Wouldn’t it be nice if every City employee consistently set the bar for professionalism?

Michael Lemmon, of the Fullerton Fire Department, thought it was perfectly okay to purchase these inappropriate mugs using taxpayer money on his City-issued VISA card.

A couple months later, Michael Lemmon decided the Fire Department needed more coffee mugs, so he purchased these — again on the taxpayer’s dime:


There is good news resulting from these indiscretions, however.  The folks in Administrative Services put their foot down and said no.  Michael Lemmon had to reimburse the City for the “salty” mugs, and return the “okayest” mugs to Amazon.


A few months pass and Michael Lemmon still has a City procurement card.  He spent nearly $2,200 over the course of a few days buying stuff from Amazon.com and other places, including a $549 coffee maker.  Note the approving official is Kathy Schaefer, who, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, does not work for the City of Fullerton.  She’s a City of Brea employee.

Shouldn’t the propriety of expensive appliances be vetted by actual City of Fullerton employees?  It’s really hard to give Lemmon the benefit of the doubt given his previous poor judgment.

Everybody has lapses in judgment where we say and do things we later regret.  Michael Lemmon is no different than you and me in that sense.  But his choices here are an embarrassment not just to himself, but to the nearly 150,000 Fullerton residents he took an oath to protect.  His profession and the Fullerton Firefighter’s Association are losers in this as well.

It would be cool if Michael Lemmon offered an apology.  I would even edit this post to include his comments.

35 Replies to “Lemmon Head”

  1. This is the most Fullerton thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s just classic. Waste, hubris, irresponsibility, crudeness, lack of accountability; it has it all.

  2. No wonder they want a million bucks in new fees.

    Really tried of vapid cheerleaders telling us everything is awesome. It’s not and we’re broke because of their unmitigated stupidity.

    1. Last night’s fiscal review was a joke. Ms. James basically admitted she was just serving up bullshit. And it is now official: Nicole Bernard is absolutely useless.

      1. I have nothing but respect for Julia James. She hasn’t gotten a fair shake from prior leadership, and that includes city council.

        Must be really difficult to do your job managing the books when Flory and Fitzgerald run around proclaiming fiscal excellence when you told them, to their face, we’re in serious trouble.

        1. I disagree, I know someone else in her office and they speak otherwise. She doesn’t hold all the departments to the same level of budget cuts. She has her inner circle who she does not put any pressure on. She try to portray herself as someone who wants to help the city but that is far from the case.

          I hope the new City Manager can read through her bullshit and lead the city into the right place.

          1. Why should all departments be held to the same standard for budget cuts? That’s the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

            Cut the bloat and stupidity. There’s clearly plenty in public safety, specially how much money they have to spend on crap. Then parks. Then economic development.

            In that order. You cut waste. You don’t socialize it.

          2. She’s the only one I’ve seen there who has the ability to say “no” to the spendthrifts. It’s VERY interesting that when an Interim was chosen after Joe Felz’s Wild Ride they picked the HR director instead of the head finance person – a choice that would have shown some serioujsness on the part of the City to address it’s systemic problems – i.e., an structural unbalanced budget.

            But maybe they did want her and she said no. But I doubt it.

            1. Julia is probably the only one in city hall who truly understands how fucked up the city finances are. She’s had one foot out the door for over a year. There would have been nothing for her to gain from taking an interim city manager title right as the shit starts hitting the fan. Get the hell out while you can.

      2. I loved how Nicole pushed off the issue of re-openers on to Gretchen Beatty who then admitted is was all smoke and mirrors. And our council sat there like bumps on a log, pushing the disaster off until 2018. Profiles in courage.

  3. Are Fullerton employees approving the cavalier expenditures of the Brea fire people? Wouldn’t THAT be something?

  4. The plan they usually use to get even more is to feign injury or “mental trauma” get disability roll in the bucks and run as a false representative of the tax paying citizens to collect more perks.

    1. I worked for a large HR department in northern Cal; it was funny to see long-term FD/PD employees filing “industrial disability/repetitive stress/cumulative trauma” claims as they neared age 50. I knew the disability retirement application would ensue.

  5. A refund? That’s it?!

    This asshole exposed all of us to a sexual harassment suit.

    Shoulda been fired along with the guy who stole our money and gave it to his wife.

  6. Bulk ceramic coffee mugs are $2 each on Amazon with free shipping. Even if the purchase of coffee mugs is somehow necessary, what makes this jackass think it’s OK to spend 7x for this low-brow trash?

    1. If I knew they needed coffee mugs, I would have been happy to get them some at a thrift store for 50 cents each. Jeeessh.

  7. “salty bitch” ? Hey, public servant fools, its my tax dollars that pay for this degrading to women mug. Would the response be just as mild if it was a derogatory stereotype of a Hispanic, Asian or African-American male on one of Lemmon’s mugs? Its not okay to denigrate women, especially since half of the public monies used to buy these mugs came from women who pay taxes that pays these same firefighters salaries.

  8. David Curlee, I think you should keep digging up these examples of waste and take the info to the OC Register. They have a columnist (can’t remember her name) who will investigate and do a story about it. Unfortunately, not enough Fullerton residents read this blog to affect change. But a story in the Register could light a fire under the residents and, more importantly, under the new city manager. You can call it what you want, but it seems clear that the city is full of employees without good character and morals. It needs a good housecleaning. And with the strongest disinfectant possible.

  9. with what appears to be a pattern of waste within the FFD one needs to take a look the department head Knabe. Surely he knows about this attitude of entitlement and waste of taxpayer dollars. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.Surely he wouldn’t pull a “Lee Baca” on us when asked about whats going on in his department?

  10. Sounds like all of you are salty bitches. Would that $10 mug be worth it if he carried you or a loved one out of a burning building?

    1. So….if bitch doesn’t get his salty $10 mug he might decide not to carry me or a loved one out of a burning building?

      And when was the last time a local fireslug carried anything out of a burning building? I guess the guys took themselves and their ipads out of the BP fire station that burned down.

    2. “Salty Bitch” and rescuing someone from a burning building. Using your logic salty bitches carry loved ones out of burning buildings.

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